By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
The 2017 Expedition is Ford's largest SUV, a 3-row sport-utility vehicle that excels at carrying large families and towing heavy loads. The Expedition can seat eight and tow up to 9,200 pounds thanks to its powerful twin-turbo V6 engine. The Ford's towing figure bests its main rival the Chevrolet Tahoe, not to mention other full-size SUVs like the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada. The Expedition's capability is granted thanks to a sturdy, body-on-frame chassis. The flip side of such a setup is a stiffer, truck-like ride, and the Expedition's large size makes it a handful to park and maneuver in general. For those requiring even more cargo space behind the third row, a longer version is offered in the Expedition EL.
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 2017 Ford Expedition is among the few remaining body-on-frame SUVs that can do it all.
The Expedition may be far more vehicle than you actually need. If you don't plan to tow heavy loads or use low-range gearing, you're better off in a sedan-based crossover SUV like the Ford Explorer, Flex, Chevrolet Traverse or Toyota Highlander. Those are less expensive, more efficient and easier to drive.
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Most significant changes for the 2017 Ford Expedition are in the tech department. The biggest news is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration in the Sync 3 infotainment system. Base XLT models gain HD Radio (free, digital radio) as standard.
A couple of years ago the Ford Expedition bucked its large and thirsty V8 engine, and became a better vehicle for it. Though it has two less...
... cylinders than the Chevy Tahoe, the Ford's engine is more powerful thanks to its twin turbocharging. As big as the Expedition is, this relatively small (3.5-liter) powerplant easily gets Ford's full-size SUV up to speed. Handling is far from nimble -- remember 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. Unlike the Tahoe, the Expedition lacks active safety and driving aids like lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking and active cruise control.
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 delivers 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. For 2017 it further improves with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
All 2017 Ford Expeditions have three rows of seats and can accommodate up to eight passengers. Optional bucket seats in the second row in lieu of the standard 3-person bench reduce capacity to seven. Both the standard Expedition and the extended-length EL have the same amount of legroom for passengers, including an adult-friendly 37.7 inches for those in the third row. The big difference -- literally -- is cargo capacity behind the third row. In standard models there's 18.6 cubic feet. EL models boast a whopping 42.6. Fold the second and third rows, and those numbers grow to 108.3 and 130.8, respectively.
For 2017 the Ford Expedition retains its classic, boxy shape that puts an emphasis on cargo capacity and utility. You won't find much to swoon over here in the style department, but that's not the point. What you'll find is a big, brawny, slab-sided SUV with a stately but not over-the-top grille and large windows. The extended-length Ford Expedition EL supersizes matters. Where the standard Expedition models are already long at 206 inches in length, the EL variants come in at 220.8 inches. If you plan to park either in your garage, measure first.
The 2017 Ford Expedition comes in four trims: base XLT, Limited, King Ranch and the range-topping Platinum. Spend the least on a 2017 Expedition XLT and you'll get 6-way-power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rearview camera and rear parking sensor, and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and USB port. We find a solid value in the Limited model, which adds leather interior, dual-zone climate control, heated/cooled front seats, power liftgate, the Sync 3 system, driver's seat memory and power-folding 3rd-row seats. The King Ranch adds more leather, blind-spot monitoring, navigation system, power-deployable running boards and exterior chrome accents.
The range-topping Expedition Platinum is a luxury liner loaded with amenities like micro-perforated leather seats, power moonroof, leather-and-wood console, stainless-steel running boards, and 22-inch wheels. 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.
A twin-turbo V6 is the only engine available in the 2017 Expedition, so if you're the type who must have a big 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 impressive. 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 available on all trims of the 2017 Expedition in lieu of the standard rear-drive setup.
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (2WD), 15/20 mpg (2WD, EL model), 15/20 mpg (4WD), 15/19 mpg (4WD, EL model)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Ford Expedition has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $47,420 for a 2WD XLT model. A long-wheelbase Expedition starts just over $50,000. Adding 4WD costs roughly $3,000. At over $64,000, the top-line 2017 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 step with GM competitors, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, and their extended-length variants, the Suburban and Yukon XL. The Toyota Sequoia begins a few thousand less than the Expedition, as does the Nissan Armada. Many 3-row crossover SUVs such as the Ford Explorer and Flex provide ample room at thousands less. Do 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.