Picture in your mind an image from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” when a regular-sized hero first lays his eyes on an extra-large beast for the first time.
In a much less dramatic way, that’s probably what the drivers on the roads with me felt as I tooled around in a 2015 Ford Expedition for a week. A couple times, for full effect, I was next to a smart car (a tiny fraction in size and weight) and it looked small enough for me to literally bend over and pick up like the Giant in that story.
Getting into a vehicle as large as the Ford Expedition (one of the few remaining large SUVs based off a truck platform) is almost a surreal experience. It’s not something most people are used to. Even folks used to driving SUVs will say the same thing -- a variation of “Wow, this is big!”
Not every car has slimmed down in this modern age, and while many folks might have thought the Expedition would die off, the vehicle has stuck around for 2015 and continues to unashamedly show off its sizable figure.
The Expedition is essentially a non-luxury version of the equally large Lincoln Navigator (from Ford’s luxury line). Materials inside the Expedition are quality, but still pedestrian when compared to the upscale feel of the Navigator, but the price reflects that also, costing you less than a Navigator would.
You’ll be riding very high in the Expedition; and everything else on the road looks small in this vehicle with the exception of semis. The interior is roomy, with tons of head space; and the third row has plenty of leg room even for adults.
The second and third row of seats are both very adjustable, so you can transport up to 8 people, or put the seats down and haul lots of cargo.
More than 130 cubic feet of cargo space becomes available with the seats folded down in the extended model (you can choose a regular Expedition or a slightly extended Expedition EL model). If you add captain’s chairs to the center row, you’ll limit your seating to 7.
There’s two ways to look at the size and setup of this vehicle. Some will call it perfect because they have to haul around a huge posse and tons of equipment/cargo on a regular basis.
But “too big” is probably the word most people will use to describe the Expedition. It’s quite the behemoth, and parking can be a bit tricky at times as a result.
There are some minor styling changes in effect on the exterior, but nothing too extreme.
There is only one engine option on the 2015 Expedition, a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine that produces 365 horsepower.
A ride in the Expedition is remarkably quiet and peaceful for something this large. The front and rear independent suspension delivers a smooth ride for a vehicle that’s well over 5,000 pounds, though you won’t be darting through traffic -- nimble is not a word to describe the Expedition.
It’s responsive to the gas pedal, but won’t zoom up to speed like you might want due to sheer size of the vehicle. That’s something that comes with the territory on these type of rides.
Towing is another big draw on this vehicle -- as it can tow up to 9,200 pounds if properly equipped (and at least 6,000 pounds). Those of you who want to go to the lake safely with a large boat and the whole family have limited options -- but the Expedition is one of them.
The Expedition I tested came with a helpful rearview camera, and the most updated MyFord Touch infotainment interface. There was Bluetooth connectivity that was simple to set up, and voice commands worked well, making it easy to control the vehicle.
My test vehicle had heated/cooled seats up front, and heated seats in the second row.
Safety features included a reverse sensing system, SOS Post Crash alert system, tire pressure monitoring system, keyless entry via keypad and push-to-start. Blind spot warning is an option.
I averaged about 15 to 16 mpg during my time in the Expedition. That’s not a great number but it’s a slight improvement over the previous versions of the vehicle, This vehicle weighs nearly three tons, so these numbers aren't a shocker. If you buy a vehicle like the Expedition, just know that gas mileage will not be kind to you and plan for that.
The 2015 Ford Expedition Limited 4x4 that I tested started out at $55,800, added on some features such as Blind Spot Info System and Continuous Control Suspension and 22” polished aluminum wheels, coming to a grand total of $61,815.
The Expedition comes in four trim levels (XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum).
The base XLT model without four-wheel drive starts just over $43,000.
Compared to other family vehicles from Ford and its competitors that are getting more slim in recent years, the Expedition is still representing the big dogs and proud of it. Call it a gas guzzler or worse, as many people do, but it’s got its purpose and as long as it exists there will be a number of people (averaging about 4,000 sales per month) who find it meets their needs for hauling around family, friends and cargo.
Chevy’s Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC’s Yukon (or Toyota’s Sequoia if you’re leaning foreign) are other vehicles worth testing in this quickly vanishing sector of the auto market, but the Expedition hits on most points if you’re in the group being targeted -- people who need a whole lot of room in their ride and are willing to accept the effects at the pump that come from that.
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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.