By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/24/2011
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.
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.