Full-Size SUV Best Buy of 2019
- Best-in-class fuel economy, plus as much as 400 horsepower
- Towing capacity of 9,300 pounds
- Roomy interior seats eight, with plenty of connectivity options
- Pricing starts at $53,425 (including $1,295 destination charge) | Price yours
- On sale now | See Expedition models for sale near you
When it comes to their mix of cargo-carrying ability, towing capacity and off-road prowess, full-size SUVs are the truck-based kings of the road. Even though this segment of 3-row, body-on-frame SUVs has been around since long before the modern-day crossover, new technology has kept full-size SUVs relevant, comfortable and modern without sacrificing capability. The Expedition is an excellent example of that. Ford used much of what makes the current F-150 so successful -- namely, a high-strength steel frame and high-strength aluminum-alloy body, efficient yet powerful powertrain, and towing and connectivity tech, but one-ups its pickup kin by offering room for eight passengers in a versatile, easily reconfigurable SUV body.
Big Footprint Ensures Big Space
The Expedition looks substantial because it is. Over 17 feet long in standard wheelbase form and weighing a minimum of 5,300 pounds, this full-size SUV has a dominating presence on the road. That presence is further highlighted by a bold, chrome face with a big Ford blue oval in the center. A crisp body line runs just above the door handles. Everything about the new Expedition looks chiseled and sharp. Chrome accents and roof rails add more glitz to the Platinum Edition we tested, as do the 22-inch wheels. The Platinum Edition comes with full-length power-deploying side steps, a feature that makes it easier to get into and out of the Expedition. That same level of modern luxury continues inside, where the all-black interior was set off by cool-brown wood accents.
One of the perks of getting a full-size SUV is the amount of interior space it offers, and in the case of the Ford Expedition, that translates into plenty of room in every row. The front row is especially spacious, which makes driving this SUV a relaxing experience. There is also a large storage area between the driver and front passenger, and despite the roominess up front, the knobs and controls for infotainment and climate control are within easy reach. The Expedition comes with Apple CarPlay connectivity, as well as wireless charging; at the center of the dash is a touch screen that can be used with ease to control CarPlay, as well as the Sync infotainment system. The second row easily accommodated our taller testers, and the spacious third row is easy to access, thanks to the sliding second row. Passengers can use the power-adjustable seat backs to get even more comfortable for long drives.
Modernizing the Body-on Frame SUV
The 2019 Ford Expedition has moved away from the ideas of the traditional full-size SUV, advancing the segment in the process. Like the Ford F-150, the Expedition uses a generous amount of high-strength aluminum in the body and high-strength steel in the frame, moves that caused the underpinnings and sheet metal to weigh less, allowing Ford to use that banked weight in other places, such as in more technology and convenience features. The Expedition uses independent rear suspension, which helps create a spacious third row and increases cargo room. It also makes the Expedition drive like a smaller vehicle than you’d expect.
There’s no V8, either: The Ford Expedition is the first full-size SUV that doesn’t offer eight cylinders under the hood. Instead, it comes standard with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, which puts out up to 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. And that engine is controlled by a 10-speed automatic transmission, operated through a dial. The powertrain never feels lacking, as there is plentiful power at low rpm, and the transmission’s quick shifts give the Expedition snappy response off the line. The 10-speed is tuned to be more fuel-efficient at highway speeds, and an excellent (defeatable) stop/start system is also in place to save fuel. The result: you get V8 levels of power plus the best fuel economy in the Expedition’s class, better than that of the Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada.
Capability is King
Aside from interior passenger space, the biggest reason to get a full-size SUV is for its capability, and the 2019 Ford Expedition has that covered. There’s plenty of cargo space with the third row up; use the available power-fold seats to open up space for nearly 58 cubic feet of space, or up to 105 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. With the Ford Expedition, you can tow up to 9,300 pounds; if you need more cargo area instead, the long-wheelbase Expedition MAX is roomier inside with a 9,000-pound towing capacity. The available Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature makes it easier to back a trailer into place. Part-time four-wheel drive is available, meaning you can use four-wheel drive when off-road and rear-wheel drive the rest of the time, which improves fuel economy.
Even though our Expedition was the top-of-the line Platinum model equipped with over $4,000 in options, you can get into a 2019 Expedition for much less, just above $53,000. Looking at Ford’s track record, we anticipate the Expedition’s 5-Year Cost of Own and depreciation to be better than average. With its combination of versatility, capability, power and tech, the 2019 Ford Expedition earned its title as our Full-Size SUV Best Buy for 2019.
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