By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
Full-size SUVs may no longer be all the rage in cash-strapped America, but like it or not, the need for such vehicles has not gone away. For families with more than four kids, or the need to tow a boat or trailer, a 6-cylinder CUV isn't going to cut it. Thankfully, the 2012 Ford Expedition has plenty of muscle and room to spare, and although the Expedition's fuel economy is not great, it is tolerable considering big Ford's herculean capabilities. Roughly the same size as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Nissan Armada, the Expedition distinguishes itself with its available 2-tone exterior packages, upscale interior options and cleaver interior features such as a power flush-folding third-row seat and the SYNC hands-free communication and entertainment system. For those who need more interior room, the Expedition EL offers an extended rear area that puts the 2012 Expedition in direct competition with the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban, Toyota Sequoia, and GMC Yukon.
If you and your family have needs as big as the 2012 Expedition itself (such as the need to fit eight people or tow up to 9,300 pounds), Ford's full-size family hauler makes a great addition to any garage. With so many well-thought-out features, the 2012 Ford Expedition is easily the best Expedition to date.
If your only requirement is room for six or seven passengers, then a CUV such as the 2012 Ford Flex or GMC Acadia is probably a better choice. A CUV offers more carlike handling, better fuel economy and improved safety.
Spotter mirrors are made standard on all trims, while second-row heated seats can now be ordered on the XLT Premium. Ford's Front Park Assist is standard on Limited and King Ranch trims.
Driving Impressions Because Ford gave the 2012 Expedition an independent rear suspension (the two rear wheels can move independently of each other due to each being attached to a separate axle), its...ride and handling are far from truck-like. Whereas a solid-axle vehicle tends to hop around on rough pavement and perform poorly in tight turns, the Expedition's suspension seems unfazed by bumps, ruts and other road obstacles. Not that the Expedition is going to win any slalom events, mind you, but it is remarkably capable for its size, weight and high center of gravity. The steering setup is firm with good feedback to the driver and the tall seating position gives an excellent 360-degree view, although it can be difficult to see objects near the lower rear-quarter panel; we suggest using those big spot mirrors before changing lanes. While we weren't overwhelmed by the 5.4-liter V8's acceleration while towing, the Expedition seemed fully up to the task.
The EL's 12-inch-longer wheelbase and nearly 15 inches of additional length provide a huge improvement in capacity with little increase in cost or reduction in fuel efficiency. Sure, your garage may not accommodate the extra length, but that's a small price to pay if you're actually intending to use your full-size SUV.
Keyless Entry Keypad
No more worrying about where to hide your key fob; with the keyless keypad entry system you can simply lock your keys and other items safely inside the vehicle. A preset combination entered via the door-mounted keypad unlocks the doors.
We'll save the explanation about the 2012 Ford Expedition's interior volume except to say it is impressive. The seats are soft and comfortable, with enough seat travel up front to accommodate passengers from 4'11" to 6'4" tall. The Expedition's third-row seat can handily accommodate two adults. Better yet, when not in use the Expedition's third row folds flush into the floor, a function that requires only a push of a button on XLT, XLT Premium, Limited and King Ranch models. While the base trims are nicely equipped, you'll find the most desirable colors and materials inside the Limited and King Ranch versions. Heated second-row seats, soft leather seating and a host of electronic aids make the top-level Expedition models feel nearly Lincoln-like. Opting for the EL version nets you 42.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat, a serious improvement over the 18.6 cubic feet available on the standard Expedition.
Who would have thought that boxy could be beautiful? Someone at Ford clearly did and in the case of the 2012 Expedition they've pulled off quite the styling job. Rich paint colors are highlighted by a bright chrome grille and tasteful side trim, and on King Ranch models, contrasting lower body cladding. Wheel sizes vary by trim, but can be ordered as large as 20 inches, negating the need for expensive aftermarket rims to trick out your ride. One very cool feature unique to Ford is the external keypad locking system that allows you to leave the key fob in the car and operate the locks via a combination lock keypad. For anyone who has ever lost a fob hiking or dropped it in the river while rafting, the keypad option is an indispensable feature worth its weight in gold. The Expedition's high ground clearance requires side running boards to make entry and exit a bit easier, not to mention less clumsy. Unfortunately, the Expedition's height makes it a bit difficult to secure items to the roof rack. Items not roof-bound can be safely tucked inside the Expedition, easily accessed via the available power liftgate.
The 2012 Ford Expedition includes the AdvanceTrac stability-control system with Roll Stability Control that modulates braking and engine power to help maintain driver control in marginal conditions, particularly those involving slippery surfaces. Trailer Sway Control and the MyKey programmable key system – which allows parents to limit vehicle speed and audio volume, among other things – are also standard. Occupant protection is enhanced with seat-mounted front-side airbags and a three-row "safety canopy." Other standard features include keyless keypad entry, 6-way power front seats, sliding center-section second-row seat, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers and a 310-horsepower V8 engine.
2012 Ford Expedition buyers can choose an optional PowerFold third-row seat that folds flat with the touch of a button. An optional power liftgate is also available. Stand-alone options include a rearview camera, DVD navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, heated second-row seats, the voice-activated SYNC communications and entertainment system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, auto-leveling rear air suspension and a 340-watt audio system.
While the 5.4-liter V8 is certainly adequate, Ford's one offering is overwhelmed by the multitude of choices available from Chevrolet and GMC. The V8's 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque are well-matched to the chassis, and that power is enhanced by a 6-speed automatic, but the package falls short of GM's 5.3-liter V8 (at least in horsepower) or GM's 6.0-liter V8.
310 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
365 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2-wheel-drive 2012 Ford Expedition XL begins just over $38,000 and can climb to nearly $60,000 for a fully loaded 4-wheel-drive King Ranch model. The EL extended-length version adds about $3,000 to the bottom line of each of the four (XL, XLT, Limited and King Ranch) trims. The very high-end Limited and King Ranch trims include interior appointments and exterior enhancements fully competitive with the Lincoln Navigator and GMC Yukon Denali. Before you set out to purchase your new Expedition, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for their new vehicles. As for resale, Expedition owners can expect to see values similar to the Chevy Suburban and Nissan Armada, but well below the Toyota Sequoia.
By AutoJoe (FL) on Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 129,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Luxuious, hauling large families/trailers"
Cons: "Thirsty, too big for some"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Ford Expedition EL is big. Seriously big. Almost comically so. At 18'8" it is too long for my garage. And too tall. And the gas mileage isn't going to earn you a spot on the Sierra Club's Christmas card list. But if you need a large SUV to tow heavy things (8700 lbs if 2WD, 8500 if 4x4) then it's excellent. It hauls 8 people in comfort with room to spare. It's not fast of course, but it has enough power that you can forget you're towing a trailer on the highway. My Limited is very nicely appointed and has been as reliable as you can reasonably hope. (At 130,000 miles, it's had a few minor issues, but they have all been reasonably inexpensive to repair.) And given it's immense size and weight (not to mention the 20-inch wheels) I'm satisfied with the driving dynamics, road noise, and yes, even the gas mileage. When I keep it around 70 mph I can get upward of 18 mpg on the highway, but don't expect more than 13 in the city. Invest in some good tires, though. The factory Pirellis are good, but I prefer the Michelin LTX. People periodically ask me how I feel about my truck, whether I like it or not. I always answer the same way: "No, I don't like it. I love it.""
By vic (AL) on Friday, May 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "What can you say it has everything you could want"
Cons: "pricey, parking it can be picky."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 3rd Ford Exppy & I love it. It has all the room I need to carry the family on vacation in comfort. I plan to keep this one along, long time. Ford quality"
By Pro (TN) on Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 750overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Runs Great, Good Towing Capacity, Smooth 6-Sp"
Cons: "Poor, full-frame type suv handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"The 5.4L 3V runs super. Smooth 6-speed transmission. Very pleased with the optional 3.73 ratio based on early performance on hills and steep freeway ramps. Strong brakes. Standard Goodyear 18" tires apparently have tremendous amount of "radial drift". Had to try numerous rotations to get a combo that was marginally satisfactory--factory wheel alignment was spot on except the steering wheel was slightly off center and had to be adjusted. Vehicle seems to have poor bouncey handling, not fun to drive. Wonder about the basic design that dates back to 2007MY? Not good is the deleted left storage bin at the back of the vehicle. Same for smallish front row console versus the much larger one 2006 and back. Passenger seat lumbar for cloth seat XLT that was standard in earlier years now not provided."
By Helleyn 3 (AR) on Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Like the way you can see all others and negoiateit"
Cons: "gets good gas milage for it's size"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love the quiet ride and handleing of this and the roomy interior-it's great for traveling and plenty of space for people and luaggage-I feel safe in this as I am on the road a lot and the traction control is great for wet roads would consider buying another if anything happens to this one-but plan on keepingit a while longer!!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By HeafNav (LA) on Monday, February 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable ride, good gas mileage."
Cons: "Not built for the long term."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Warranty covers bumper to bumper to 36,000/3 years and 6/60 for drive train only. At 4.5 years an 48,000 had to replace compressor, condenser and flush the a/c system. At stops it idles low and stalls. None of this is covered by warranty. Best bet is to pass it off before this point. I also have a 2004 Explorer with 136,000 miles on it. No major issues. Which makes me very disappointed with this vehicle."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Steve (NV) on Monday, January 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very nice solid ride. Would buy another one."
Cons: "Does have its problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this 2007 EB Expedition new with six miles on it in 2007 from a Ford dealer. I was impressed with the ride and how quiet it was. Very nice on the highway with a lot of power. Drives like a small car. Really nice. However, there was a problem right away. The transmission did not shift correctly. The dealer could not repair it correctly no matter how many times I took it in. This was a big let down that continued until the warranty finally ran out and I took it in on Ford extended warranty. Four years later they finally repaired the transmission and now it works correctly. The problem or why they never could fix it in four years of going back to the dealer was never explained to me by anyone from Ford. Here is a list of the problems I had and had repaired since 2007 until today. Transmission problems (for four years), rack and pinion steering failed @14000 miles, inside door handles all broke, rotors warped, replaced, master cylinder failed, tie rods worn and loose, replaced, today, two door motors for the rear heat went out @26000 Miles. No other major problems. I know things do break and wear out, but the transmission problems were there from day one. There is now a slight ringing noise outside the car when driving at low speeds, It has been doing this for a year, I don't know what it is, when something falls off, I guess I will find out. BTW the SUV has never been off road and the FWD was only used once just to see if it works. I would buy a new one. I will say it does ride nice and quiet right down the road. Over all it is ok as I have never owned a car or truck yet that did not have some kind of problem, so from that stand point, this 2007 Expedition is a just a normal SUV."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful