Touted as a giant leap forward for the iconic American manufacturer’s behemoth full-size family SUV offering the new Ford Expedition is the most luxurious and advanced generation yet. Featuring a more contemporary aesthetic treatment, the hugely spacious eight-seat third generation Expedition also adopts lighter aluminium-intensive body construction and a 10-speed automatic gearbox for improved performance, flexibility and efficiency, much like its F150 truck relation. It also gains improved interior design and refinement, and driver assistance, safety, infotainment and convenience features.
Undoubtedly a considerably improved vehicle all-round, it is worth remembering that the new Expedition’s decidedly modern and downsized 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and smooth, refined and space-efficient independent rear suspension had already been used in its long-serving predecessor, which in that way was more sophisticated than General Motors rivals. Distinctly old-school in design with a brutally blocky shape and vast glasshouse and tall roofline for space and visibility, the outgoing Expedition’s design would on first impression have seemed to have been simple.
Effectively creating the impression of mass towards the rear and minimizing it above the front wheelarches to create a sense of urgency and tension, the old Expedition’s design has however been superseded with a more modern and hunkered down aesthetic with a lower descending roofline and higher waistline, but with a larger footprint and good packaging, the new Expedition is in fact more spacious inside in every which way but for third row headroom. Meanwhile in front, the new Expedition is more overtly assertive with a high rise fascia and bonnet.
Behind its broad and dominant chrome mesh grille and under its dual ridged bonnet, the Expedition is powered by a high output version of Ford’s now familiar twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 Ecoboost engine producing an additional 25BHP and 9lb/ft torque for service in the range-topping Platinum edition tested. A worthy alternative to traditional naturally-aspirated big displacement American V8 engines, the Expedition Platinum’s Ecoboost develops a full 400BHP at just 5,000rpm and 479lb/ft at 3,500rpm, of which a generous helping is available across the rev range.
Quick spooling and responsive from low-end and with scant turbo lag, the Ecoboost is well up to the job of briskly hustling along 2,550kg of Expedition Platinum. Eager off the line and estimated to cover 0-100km/h in 6-seconds or less, the Expedition platinum feels effortlessly muscular and confident on the move. Meanwhile, its 0-speed automatic gearbox’s closely spaced ratios allow for quick acceleration that flows like a torrent, and a generous spread of ratios allows for efficiency, low-end response, mid-range versatility and refined low-rev cruising.
Driving all four wheels, the Expedition provides reassuring traction and road-holding, and while not designed as a hardcore off-roader, it does have improved off-road abilities over its predecessor. In addition to generous 249mm ground clearance and better off-road angles, the new expedition also receives an optional electronic limited-slip rear differential useful for low traction surfaces, towing and on-road handling. Capable of towing 4,218kg when fitted with a Heavy Duty Trailer Towing Package, the Expedition meanwhile generously accommodates between 591- to 2961-litre of cargo, depending on seat configuration.
Riding on double wishbone front suspension and a more sophisticated multi-link rear compared to some competitors live-axle set-up. Available with optional adaptive dampers for improved ride quality, the Expedition proved smooth and comfortable on Dubai roads, even as fitted with the Platinum edition’s huge alloys and low profile 285/45R22 tyres. Well absorbing bumps and imperfections during a short test drive, the Expedition felt stable, settled and refined at speed, but without being particularly disconnected. Meanwhile, steering was well-weighted and braking reassuringly confident.
By no means a sporty SUV, but rather a large, comfortable and extensively well-equipped family one, the Expedition nevertheless proved a better handling machine than its live-axle rivals. Turning in with good grip and accuracy, the Expedition is balanced and body roll well contained through corners. Able to maneuver with more confidence and control than expected, the Expedition is comparatively easy to drive, and comes with a host of driver assistance systems to help helm such a big beast, including blind spot monitoring, lane keeping and parking assists, and adaptive stop and go cruise control.
Considerably better appointed inside than its predecessor, the new Expedition Platinum is kitted with more convenience and infotainment systems, and mostly uses better quality cabin materials. Ergonomics and layouts are similarly good and include a rotary gear selector and clear instrumentation. Hugely spacious, it is more generously spaced in every direction bar third row headroom, which was better before. That said, the Expedition’s lower floor, compact rear suspension and tip and slide middle seats, provide noticeably considerably better third row seating even for tall adults compared to live-axle competitors.
- Engine: 3.5-litre, all-aluminium, twin-turbocharged, in-line V6-cylinders
- Bore x stroke: 92.5 x 86.7mm
- Compression ratio: 10:1
- Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing, direct injection
- Gearbox: 10-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
- Ratios: 1st 4.696; 2nd 2.985; 3rd 2.146; 4th 1.769; 5th 1.52; 6th 1.275; 7th 1.0; 8th 0.854; 9th 0.689; 10th 0.636
- Reverse / final drive: 4.866 / 3.31
- Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 400 (405)  @5,000rpm
- Specific power: 114.4BHP/litre
- Power-to-weight: 156.8BHP/ton
- Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 479 (650) @3,500rpm
- Specific torque: 185.9Nm/litre
- Torque-to-weight: 254.9Nm/ton
- 0-100km/h: under 6-seconds (estimate)
- Minimum fuel requirement: 91RON
- Length: 5,334mm
- Width: 2,029mm
- Height: 1,940mm
- Wheelbase: 3,111.5mm
- Track, F/R: 1,717 / 1,706mm
- Overhang, F/R; 970 / 1,252mm
- Ground clearance: 249mm
- Approach / break-over / departure angles: 23.3° / 21.4° / 21.9°
- Seating: 8
- Headroom, F/M/R: 1,066 / 1,016 / 947mm
- Legroom, F/M/R: 1,115 / 1,082 / 1,038mm
- Shoulder room, F/M/R: 1,648 / 1,646 / 1,630mm
- Hip room, F/M/R: 1,579 / 1,590 / 1,305mm
- Luggage volume, behind 1st / 2nd / 3rd row: 2961- / 1800- / 591-litres
- Fuel capacity: 89-litres
- Kerb weight: 2,550kg
- Towing maximum, standard / optional: 2993kg / 4218kg
- Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
- Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones / multi-link, anti-roll bars, optional adaptive dampers
- Brakes: Discs, ABS, EBD
- Tyres: 285/45R22