Following a full makeover in 2018, Ford’s three-row Expedition SUV is back for 2020 with a batch of upgrades meant to broaden its appeal.
The Expedition ($52,810) is a large, truck-based sport-utility vehicle that accommodates up to eight in three rows of adult-friendly seating. Unlike big SUVs of the past, the Expedition offers a good ride, a quiet cabin and abundant creature comforts and tech features.
But Expedition’s true calling is that of a workhorse. It’s built on the same body-on-frame chassis as the F-150 pickup and is available in rear- and four-wheel-drive configurations.
Expedition’s twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V-6 makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque in all but the top-most Platinum trim, where it puts out 400 hp and 480 lb-ft.
Power is delivered smoothly and the turbo-six quickly builds a head of steam from a dead stop. The transmission makes swift, clean shifts.
Expedition runs the 0-60 sprint in 7.3 seconds.
Properly equipped, it’s rated to haul a class-leading leading 9,300 pounds. Sans tow package, it’s good for 6000 lb.
2020 brings a handful of key updates. The high-end King Ranch trim returns this year after a short hiatus; an off-road package becomes available for the first time; and the roster of standard safety and driver-assist features grows. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite — automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring — is standard for the first time on Expedition.
FordPass Connect, which includes a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 mobile devices, is newly standard, as is the Sync 3 infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Expedition is offered in four trims: XLT ($54,205); Limited ($64,740); King Ranch ($74,290); and Platinum ($75,330).
Max means more
Each trim is available in standard and long-wheelbase models, the latter known as Expedition Max. Max adds $3,025 to the bottom line and boosts overall length by 9 inches, which translates into additional cargo space behind the power-folding third-row seats.
The XLT is lightly equipped. Standard gear includes seating for eight, 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and 18-inch wheels.
XLT qualifies for a raft of options that boost desirability. Package 202A ($5,110) adds a foot-activated liftgate, remote start, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
An FX4 off-road package ($1,620), now available on XLT and Limited trims, adds all-terrain tires, off-road shocks, skid plates and more.
The resurrected King Ranch ($74,290) comes with such standard gear as power-retractable running boards, 22-inch wheels, premium Del Rio leather upholstery and wood trim.
Living is easy within the Expedition’s spacious cabin. Seats are comfortable and supportive throughout — including even the adult-appropriate third row — and there are nearly twice as many cupholders (15) than there are potential passengers.
Truck roots evident
Expedition’s truck roots are evident in its blocky dashboard, which houses a set of large, five-sided air vents. The hard plastics that cover much of the lower dash and door panels are offset in upper trims by enhanced materials.
Materials quality improves with each trim level, culminating with the leather- and wood-trimmed King Ranch and Platinum models.
Expedition is a rig you can stretch out in and its cabin is riddled with casual storage options. There are two glove boxes, a large covered bin in the center console and another under the padded armrest between the seats.
Expedition is large and heavy and responds sluggishly to driver input. It’s a handful in town, where its size and sleepy responses work against it; it’s a rig better on the open road than on city streets.
It has 9.8 inches of ground clearance and carries its 5,500-pound bulk up high. Predictably, it’s prone to body lean in the corners. Still, Expedition remains settled and composed when pushed.
Its lightly weighted steering lacks feel and precision but a solid on-center groove contributes to consistent in-lane tracking at highway speeds.
Expedition is inordinately thirsty, of course, (18 mpg combined) but if you need to tow a large load, with a cabin full of people and their gear, there may be no better option.
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2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum
Vehicle base price: $52,810
Trim level base price: $80,110 (includes destination and handling)
Options: metallic paint; 22-inch machined aluminum wheels; heavy-duty trailer tow package; electronic limited slip differential; second-row captains chairs
Tow rating: 9300 lbs
EPA rating: 18 combined/16 city/21 highway
Regular gasoline specified