Let’s face it, America loves its trucks and SUVs, more so than any other part of the world. If you ever travel to the Midwest or venture into American suburbs, you’ll find a plethora of utility vehicles ranging from compact crossovers to mammoth-sized SUVs like the latest 2020 Ford Expedition that I had a chance to check out over the past week.
Ford’s latest Expedition, now in its fourth generation, touts a new aluminum body on its frame first introduced in 2018 for a complete redesign. For the 2020 model year, the Expedition remains the same but makes its Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of driver aids and safety features standard on all trim levels. Moreover, the trim levels, with their many levels, brings us a King Ranch model and a black accent package for XLT trims.
Powering the 2020 Ford Expedition is left to the brand’s 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine, a workhorse that’s found in numerous vehicles under the Ford umbrella but tuned to different levels. The Expedition makes use of a couple of different variations of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, starting with the base 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft version found in lower trim levels. Moving to something like my Expedition Platinum test vehicle, loaded with just about every available option on the table, it gets a 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft version of the EcoBoost engine. If you’re at all tuned into the Ford and Lincoln brands, you’ll take note of the 3.5-liter V6 being found in vehicles like the F150 Raptor touting 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, which is also found in the Expeditions more luxurious cousin, the Lincoln Navigator.
In the realm of engineering gone wild, Ford and Lincoln offer different flavors of the 3.5-liter turbo engine to literally carry the throne of truck and SUV power for their gasoline burners. Also, part of a proven formula, Ford utilizes a 10-speed automatic transmission in the new Expedition, a unit co-developed by Ford and GM. In driving the 2020 Expedition Platinum 4×4, the 10-speed automatic transmission behaves from what I’ve experienced in other vehicles utilizing a similar setup. The shifts come on relatively smooth and the computer cleverly sorts through the gears as to limit selecting the wrong gear or hardly ever hesitate to drop several cogs when power is demanded right away. Performance, overall, is respectable and feels substantial with barely any noticeable turbo lag.
From the way the Ford Expedition Platinum 4×4 accelerations, reaching 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds, there’s an assurance that it can tow a good amount. And by a good amount, I mean up to 9,200 pounds and 9,300 pounds if you opt for a lesser trim in a 4×2 configuration. Fundamentally, if you wish to pile in precious cargo in the plush seating and tow something big, there aren’t many options out there that won’t break the bank.
Adding in the versatility of a truck and many trim level configurations is a forte of the Expedition, where it attempts to appease many needs for families and workers. The cabin of the Expedition is spacious for both the standard wheelbase and the extended Expedition Max models. Taking versatility to a new level, the new Expedition also permits flat-folding of the third row of seats to open up the amble cargo space from the all-seats-in-place 19.3 cubic feet to a vast 104 cubic feet with all seats folded for the standard-wheelbase Expedition. Get the Expedition Max, and those figures increase from a seats-in-place 34.4 cubic feet to 121 cubic feet with the seats folded. Also, folding of the second and third-row is easy due to the power-folding system found on my loaded Expedition Platinum test vehicle. A power-folding third-row is a standard feature on all new Expedition trim levels.
Seating areas are spacious and comfy, suiting the needs for those who want to drive cross country or at least up to 600 miles, which is the average range of the Expedition thanks to a large 25-gallon tank or an even bigger 30-gallon tank in the Expedition Max. Speaking of gallons, the Expedition is surprisingly fuel-efficient for such a large body-on-frame SUV getting 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for my 4×4 Platinum test vehicle. Opt for a 4×2 Expedition, and you’ll get a better highway figure at 24 mpg.
While gas prices are relatively low at the moment, the Expedition makes good sense for buyers in need of one of the largest mainstream body-on-frame SUVs you can find. In all, the price point of the Expedition varies greatly and depends on the vehicle configuration that you select. And my configuration, there are plenty – as many as 20 when you factor in the trim levels, two or four-wheel-drive, standard wheelbase or longer Max, and the many equipment groups lumped into the core trim levels. At the base XLT 4×2 Expedition, you’re looking at a starting price of $52,810. From there all the way to my loaded-up Expedition Platinum 4×4, there’s about $24K left on the table to reach the as-tested price of $77,680, which includes a $1,395 destination and delivery charge.