By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
Ford's biggest SUV, the 2016 Expedition, is a rugged 3-row utility vehicle that seats up to eight and can tow up to 9,200 pounds. Those stats and its truck-like body-on-frame design set it apart from crossover SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander and the Expedition's own little brother, the Ford Explorer. For families needing even more room, the Expedition EL offers it with extended length. Like its main rivals the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Expedition excels at hauling families and towing heavy loads but compromises overall driving manners for those capabilities. The Expedition's sheer size also makes it cumbersome in confined places. But with more traditional SUVs going soft, the Expedition is steadfast in its mission to provide grunt in a contemporary package.
If you want a big sport-utility vehicle that can tow heavy loads, easily haul large families and their gear, and offers traditional 4-wheel-drive (4WD) capability, the Ford Expedition is among the remaining body-on-frame SUVs that can do it all.
KBB Expert Ratings
After a revamp last year that gave the Expedition a modern twin-turbocharged V6 engine and interior/exterior freshening, the most notable change for the 2016 model is the addition of SYNC 3. This latest edition of Ford's touch-screen infotainment system is easier to see and use.
The 2016 Expedition's new heart helps both its performance and efficiency. The modern twin-turbo V6 ("EcoBoost," in Ford speak) is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the V8 it...
... replaced. As big as the Expedition is, this relatively small (3.5-liter) engine easily gets Ford's full-size SUV up to speed. Handling isn't exactly nimble – remember that this is a big, truck-based utility vehicle – but the available electronically controlled shock absorbers do help smooth the ride and give the driver the flexibility of three different driving modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Given the largesse of the Expedition – and especially the even longer Expedition EL – we recommend the available blind-spot monitoring system.
The days of the giant, fuel-thirsty V8 are numbered; at least, they are over at Ford. The Expedition's 3.5-liter V6 puts out more power and torque than the previous 5.4-liter V8, yet maintains the same towing capacity, and with history as a guide, will get better fuel economy.
The latest edition of Ford's touch-based information/entertainment system has rectified past wrongs that included too-small type and lagging response time. Our experience with SYNC 3 so far has shown it to be more intuitive and easy to use, whether it's streaming audio from Spotify or running the optional navigation system.
All 2016 Ford Expeditions have three rows of seats and can accommodate up to eight passengers. A pair of bucket seats can be had in the second row in lieu of the standard 3-person bench. Both the standard Expedition and the extended-length Expedition EL have the same amount of legroom for passengers, including an adult-friendly 37.7 inches for those in the third row. The primary difference is cargo capacity behind the third row. In standard models there's 18.6 cubic feet. EL models boast 42.6. Fold the second and third rows, and those numbers grow to 108.3 and 130.8, respectively.
Where others have gone softer and rounder, the 2016 Ford Expedition retains its classic, boxy shape that puts an emphasis on cargo capacity and utility. Last year's freshening that included revised headlights, an updated grille, relocated fog lights and new taillights help keep the Expedition about as fresh as can be expected. Four-wheel-drive models can be distinguished by their tow hooks up front. Standard-length Expedition models are a long 206 inches in length. The even-longer EL versions are 220.8 inches. If you plan to park one in your garage, measure first.
The 2016 Ford Expedition is available in four trims: base XLT, Limited, King Ranch and the range-topping Platinum. Standard on the base model are 6-way-power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rearview camera and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and USB port. For those wondering, the all-important cup-holder count comes to nine. We find a solid value in the Limited model, which adds leather interior, heated/cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels and power liftgate and the SYNC 3 system. The King Ranch adds yet more leather, blind-spot monitoring, navigation system, power-deployable running boards and exterior chrome accents.
The range-topping Expedition Platinum includes power moonroof, leather-and-wood console, stainless running boards and micro-perforated leather seats. All models can be had with 4-wheel drive instead of the standard rear 2-wheel-drive (2WD) layout. Optional on base XLT models and standard on the rest is a tow package that increases towing capacity from 6,600 pounds to 9,200. Other options vary by trim and include navigation, moonroof, 2nd-row bucket seats and Sony premium audio system. If you like to truly roll big, wheels up to 22 inches are available.
Last year the Ford Expedition replaced its long-serving 5.4-liter V8 with a smaller, more efficient – and more powerful – twin-turbo V6. This is the only engine available in the Expedition, so if you're the type who must have a V8 under the hood, say hello to the competition. But if cylinder count is just a number – and these days it's just that – know that this 3.5-liter 6-cylinder is really good. Another positive is that this engine runs just fine on regular unleaded, something not all turbos are known for. The engine remains connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and 4WD with a low-speed transfer case is also available on all trims of the 2016 Expedition.
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD), 15/21 mpg (2WD, EL model), 15/20 mpg (4WD), 14/20 mpg (4WD, EL model)
The 2016 Ford Expedition has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $46,000 for a 2WD XLT model. A long-wheelbase Expedition starts at $49,000. Adding 4WD costs about $3,000. At nearly $62,000, the top-line 2016 Ford Expedition Platinum ends where its luxury-badged sibling, the Lincoln Navigator, begins. A top-line, 4WD Expedition EL can breach $70,000. At these prices, the Ford's full-size SUV is in line with its nearest competitor, the Chevrolet Tahoe and its extended-length variant, the Suburban. It's also near the starting price of the Toyota Sequoia but several thousand beyond the Nissan Armada. Many 3-row crossover SUVs such as the Ford Explorer and Flex provide ample room for families at thousands less. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Expedition. The Expedition's resale value is expected to be fair, trailing its Chevy competition and the Toyota Sequoia.