2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch Review
It's a real-life Canyonero.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: March 27th, 2015
Being that this particular Expedition has the King Ranch designation, you'd expect it to resemble a very finely crafted boot. And it does, more or less. Brown is the overall theme on the interior. The seats are a very nice chocolate color with burnt-orange piping. There's some matte faux-wood on the center stack and door panels. The rest of the interior is made primarily of dark, harder plastic - a hint to not only the car's rugged purposefulness, but also its age. For 65 large, you'd expect some softer materials.
On the whole, though, it's a large, comfortable cabin, with more than enough space for everybody. The second and third rows are not short on legroom or headroom. The third row stows conveniently with the help of electric motors, which are a little pokey, but far better than having to do it yourself. The second row seats can fold flat (Ford calls it Cargo Mode), and with both rows flat, you have a hint over seven feet of front-to-back storage capacity.
The center of the dashboard is an exercise in side-to-side symmetry; the sides of the infotainment screen are mirrors of each other. This is pleasing to the eye, but it results in some awkward things, too. For example, the pocket on the right side, an analogue to trailer controls on the left, can't fit a standard cell phone - or anything else for that matter. The 12-volt plug hides behind a cap that's the same size and shape as the 4WD controls; a friend of your author, who is also in the industry, likened it to a submarine hatch in its functionality.
If you are a short person, and you did not opt for the power running boards, we wish you the best of luck. Perhaps it's best if you set up a base camp and head for the summit in the morning; conditions seem more favorable in the earlier parts of the day.
This is a big, mean vehicle. It has a massive, imposing grille out front, bedecked in enough chrome to qualify as an alternative-energy battlefield weapon. Save for the wheel arches, nearly every feature of this land-tank is awfully square. It makes no pretenses about what it is; it doesn't attempt to hide behind some overly-creased and contoured countenance. Of course, part of this could be due to the Expedition's age; even though it received a facelift for this year, it still strongly resembles older Expeditions. In an age where barges like this are disappearing, it's nice to see something that is a bit of a throwback.
On the Road
Have you ever driven a boat? It's kind of like that. You know where you want to go, and you start turning the wheel a little early. Eventually, the boat - or Expedition, they're pretty interchangeable here - moves in the direction you want. The Expedition's steering is truck levels of light and numb, with just enough play to have you turn in way too early the next time you drive a small sedan (ask us how we know!). With the optional three-mode air suspension in our tester, bumps and undulations were eaten whole and expelled as soft body movements. We kept it in Comfort most of the time, and we suggest you do, too; Normal is fine, too, but Sport should really be named Uncomfortable.
The only remotely sporty thing about the Expedition is the engine. A 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the same that powers the top-trim 2015 F-150s, sits under the hood. Stomping on the gas pedal elicits a surprising amount of forward thrust; if you listen closely, you can hear the turbos spool up as 420 lb-ft of torque becomes available. If you want that hustle from anywhere but a stop, be prepared to wait a bit; there's nearly no turbo lag, but the six-speed transmission feels old and lazy. Between input and output, dropping more than one gear is an effort measured in whole seconds.
For all intents and purposes, the Expedition is the perfect aircraft carrier for the road. It's sizable, but it's not impossible to navigate in the city, nor is it difficult to park. Its capaciousness is remarkable, and its engine works harder than the only janitor in an adult-themed nickelodeon. It's great, and for what it is, it's damn near perfect.
However, its underlying age comes back to bite in varying strengths. Gas mileage is crummy at best; we had a very hard time achieving numbers that in any way resembled the EPA estimates. Perhaps a move to aluminum in the future might keep this dinosaur rolling for a bit longer. There were some fit and finish issues on our Expedition, as well; shellacking new parts onto old bodies can occasionally result in a lack of perfect fits.
If you can live with plunking down a pretty penny (or a few thousand of 'em) for the ol' dino juice, then the Expedition might be the best SUV for you. Twelve yards long, two lanes wide, it's sixty-five tons of American pride.
Specs & Price
Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, part-time four-wheel drive
Power Output: 365 horsepower / 420 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 15 city / 20 highway
Base Price: $59,910
As Tested: $64,280 (incl. $1,195 destination)
Monotone Appearance Package: Monotone exterior paint scheme, monotone power deployable running boards
Individual Options: Power moonroof, power deployable running boards, rear load-leveling suspension, 3.73 rear axle, dual-screen rear seat DVD entertainment, leather-trimmed second row bucket seats (replaces standard second-row bench)
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Ford Expedition, click here: 2015 Ford Expedition.