We told you about Ford upgrading the 2015 Expedition SUV last year and we gave you first drive impressions on it’s Lincoln counterpart. Recently we spent time with the long wheelbase version of Ford’s largest land yacht and put the EcoBoosted Expedition EL Limited through its paces and we can tell you wholeheartedly it is grandbaby tested and grandbaby approved.
OK, so maybe the kids are easily impressed by the bells and whistles loaded into this Expedition by Ford (power third row seats, power liftgate, power running boards) but “Pop Pop” is a bit more cynical. The refreshes made to the 2015 Expedition line are admirable and the swap of the tired 5.4-liter V-8 for the spirited twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 is a wise move. Alas, Ford still has the old Microsoft-sourced SYNC system in the vehicle and while Ford folks still sing its praises despite being replaced for 2016 we continue to find faults with the system and are glad to see it go.
Fullsize SUVs dominated auto sales 10-20 years ago but have gone the way of the minivan in very few frame-on models still on showroom floors. The big vehicles feature three decent-sized rows of seating for large families and can still tow a boat or camper or whatever and ride in full comfort. They offer rear and four-wheel drive and are quiet and stable on and off road. That being said, even with the addition of a turbocharged smaller displacement engine they still achieve some of the worst fuel economy on the road today and arrive with a fairly hefty price tag.
The Expedition EL Limited we recently tested arrived at just north of 65 grand. The EcoBoost engine generates 365hp and 420 lb. ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with this test model rolling on the 4×4 running gear. The EPA rating is 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. The EL (you guessed it – Extended Length) rolls on a 131-inch wheelbase and is 220.8 inches in overall length. Minimum running ground clearance is eight inches on 4×4 vehicles. Inside the vehicle is cavernous with some 130.8 cubic feet of space behind the first row of seats and still has 42.6 cu. ft. behind row three. The EL can tow up to 9,100 lbs. and has a 33.5-gallon fuel tank.
Ford gives the 2015 Expedition all of the latest safety and creature comfort amenities with our Limited featuring ventilated front seats which was very welcome with the black leather interior they sent to the southern regional press fleet. I mentioned some of the power options included on this rig earlier that the grandkids got a kick out of and thanks to the independent rear suspension employed in the Expedition passengers relegated to the third row have decent footroom. We also enjoyed the 2nd row bucket seats. The new Expedition also employs Ford’s new trailer sway control in conjunction with the factory brake controller and heavy duty tow package.
The Expedition is built on a truck frame in a truck plant in Kentucky but still utilizes traditional steel in the body construction despite Ford opting for aluminum in the new F-150 pickup, but rumor has it all large vehicles from Big Blue Oval will see more of the lightweight metal in future products. For now it is good old steel so your magnetic door signs will still work in this vehicle.
On the road, the EcoBoost powertrain does an admirable job of moving this big beast and does it smoothly and quietly. Despite the large interior the air conditioning system does a good job of cooling things quickly and the remote start feature on our tester allows us to get that operation started in advance. The independent suspension (and Continuous Control Suspension feature on this Limited model) carry the big vehicle very well on city streets and highways with good corner control and quick, smooth recovery from the minimal body lean.
The 2015 Ford Expedition is big, beefy, and brawny and the automaker makes no apologies for that. Large families need large vehicles, that is a fact, and to quote my wife and her daughter as we discuss our expanding family size, “Heck no I ain’t drivin’ no minivan.”