By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
The full-size body-on-frame SUV isn't as popular as it once was, but these big beasts still have their place, and the 2015 Ford Expedition gets numerous updates to stay in the game. Gone is the ancient, fuel-sucking 5.4-liter V8, replaced with Ford's more powerful and more fuel efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Exterior design updates give the nose and tail a more modern look, while retaining the boxy-but-useful 7/8-passenger proportions the Expedition is famous for. Interior updates include MyFord Touch, Ford's integrated infotainment system. While not an all-new SUV, Ford effectively uses existing technology to counterpunch the new GM SUV twins, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, plus bit players like the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada, without sacrificing the Expedition's capability.
If you want to tow, haul, or just carry everyone you know plus their friends, the 2015 Ford Expedition may just be the ticket. The new engine should improve fuel economy – relatively speaking – and this big rolling box has excellent cargo space.
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The 2015 Ford Expedition's interior now includes MyFord Touch, the exterior is refreshed front and rear, and the V8 from previous years is gone, replaced Ford's excellent EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6. The Expedition also gets selectable drive modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport – thanks to a new suspension.
The addition of the EcoBoost V6 in the 2015 Ford Expedition promises to do two things which were previously impossible to do simultaneously. First, it will definitely improve performance, thanks...
... to an additional 55 horsepower and 55 lb-ft of torque. That torque comes on even lower in the rev range, sure to make this heavy beast feel more responsive, even if outright liveliness isn't in the cards. It can still tow up to 9,200 pounds, despite the smaller engine. But while the engine may be getting the headlines, there's more under the skin of the 2015 Expedition. The suspension, for example, now includes electronically controlled shock absorbers that not only help smooth out the ride, but give the driver the flexibility of three different driving modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The steering is now electrically boosted, further enhancing fuel economy.
The days of the giant, fuel-thirsty V8 are numbered, at least, they are over at Ford. The 3.5-liter V6 puts out more power and torque than the 5.4-liter V8 it replaces, maintains the same towing capacity, and with history as a guide, will get better fuel economy.
While Ford's infotainment system isn't without its critics, there's no denying it's a big leap forward compared to the previous touch-screen interface. Its addition to the Expedition helps this big SUV seem a little less dinosaur-like.
The 2015 Expedition's interior revisions may not catch your eye at first, but they're definitely noteworthy. MyFord Touch is nestled in the dash for the first time, bringing the Expedition into the rest of the Ford fold with its enhanced integration of smartphones, navigation and other technology. Opt for the new Platinum trim and you get soft leather in your choice of Brunello (red) or Agate (gray). All Expeditions have three rows of seats, and the rear two fold flat without compromising cargo space – especially in the longer EL models – thanks to the Expedition's independent rear suspension.
Exterior updates to the 2015 Expedition do a lot with a little. The new nose incorporates revised headlights, an updated grille and relocated fog lights, while the rear gets new taillights. Otherwise, the basic boxy silhouette is unchanged. New for 2015 is a Platinum trim level for the first time, which incorporates chrome highlights and special wheels. As before, if the standard Expedition isn't enough, there's always the extra-long EL model, with 14 inches of additional length and more than 42 cubic feet of storage behind the third row.
The Expedition comes standard with room for eight, and the ability to tow up to 9,200 pounds in both the 2-wheel-drive (2WD) and 4-wheel-drive (4WD) versions – EL models can tow slightly less: 9,000 for 2WD and 9,100 for 4WD. Ford is the only domestic manufacturer to combine an overhead-cam powerplant with all-independent suspension for levels of performance and composure you can take to the bank – or the beach. And given its family mission, safety is front and center, using AdvanceTrac traction control working with Roll Stability Control to enhance your confidence while driving in unpredictable weather or circumstances.
New for the 2015 Ford Expedition is a host of advanced safety systems definitely worth getting on such a large vehicle. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerts warn when a vehicle is hiding alongside or approaching as you backup. There's an upgraded Sony entertainment system, and a rear-seat entertainment system for road trips. One of the cooler options is Truck Apps. In addition to a host of off-road tools, Truck Apps allows you to program in settings for different trailers – such as brake control settings – and name each one for easy retrieval for the next time you hook up.
This is the biggest news for the 2015 Ford Expedition. After suffering for years with an outdated and inefficient 5.4-liter V8, the new 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 is officially a Big Deal. With more power and torque than the V8 it replaces, this engine has already proven itself a workhorse in Ford's ubiquitous F-150 pickup, where it has become the engine of choice. The good news is that there's no loss of capability, with the new Expedition capable of towing just as much as its predecessor. The EcoBoost V6 in the Expedition comes connected to the same 6-speed automatic transmission, and 4-wheel drive with a low-speed transfer case is also available.
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD), 15/21 mpg (2WD, EL model), 15/20 mpg (4WD), 14/20 (4WD, EL model)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base XL model starts at a bit over $40,000, including destination, about $1,000 less than last year. The XLT starts at about $44,500, while leather-clad Limited models are right at the $54,000 mark. If you want the King Ranch, you're looking at more than $57,000, and the new Platinum starts north of $58,000. Four-wheel drive adds roughly $3,000 to the price, while EL models are about $3,000 more across the board. Things top out at more than $63,500 for a 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch EL. That's a lot of scratch, but still competitive with the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Be sure and check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers are paying in your area, and expect a residual value that's comparable to the GM SUVs and the Nissan Armada.