New for 2015

The refreshed 2015 Ford Expedition gets a new grille, bumpers, and optional LED fog lights. The Platinum and King Ranch trims increase interior quality to better compete with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. Under the hood, the V-8 is gone and Ford’s familiar twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is here, boosting improved EPA-rated fuel economy and promising performance similar to the departed V-8.

Vehicle Overview

The Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV that is offered in regular and extended versions, fitting above the Explorer and Flex as the automaker’s largest vehicle. The Expedition can seat up to eight passengers, and offers expansive cargo space in the extended version called the Expedition EL.

Summary

For 2015, the Expedition finally gets a major refresh to compete against the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: the Ford’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 makes 365 hp and 420 lb-ft in the big SUV and can optionally pair the six-speed automatic with rear- or four-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the new V-6 ranges from 14-16/20-22 mpg city/highway with RWD and 4WD, with a two-mpg advantage over the previous generation’s V-8 for similarly equipped models. Compared to similar applications of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 the Expedition makes more torque (420 lb-ft vs. the 350 lb-ft in the Flex and Explorer), which helps to contribute to the new truck meeting or exceeding the towing capability of the outgoing V-8: 9,000-9,200 pounds, versus the 8,700-9,200-pound capacity of the 2014 Expedition.

The 2015 Expedition offers an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, 10-speaker 700-watt Sony audio system, interior ambient LED lighting, LED fog lights, a blind spot monitoring system with cross traffic alert, and a continuously controlled damping suspension with three drive modes (comfort, normal, and sport).

The 2015 Ford Expedition received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), but has not been evaluated by the IIHS yet.

What We Think

The 2015 Ford Expedition hasn’t been completely redesigned, but it has been improved incrementally. Towing capacity has increased, while fuel efficiency has as well. In a Driven review of a 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch, we noted that “the mild visual refresh does little to hide the Expedition’s basic, boxy shape but keeps it from looking too dated compared to its newest rivals.” The Tahoe/Yukon duo from General Motors “not only exhibit less cowl shake than the Expedition, they also have lighter, more car-like reflexes that make the driver feel like he or she is piloting a far smaller vehicle. In the Ford, you never forget the Expedition’s size.”

Still, the Expedition remains unmatched in interior packaging, with a roomy and comfortable third row, unlike the more cramped competitors. We pointed out “the fact that the Expedition uses a compact independent rear suspension arrangement keeps the cargo floor low, both easing loading and unloading and providing more usable space.” In the center stack controls, we applauded Ford for continuing to offer physical buttons for the heated seats, climate control, and radio tuning, in addition to the touchscreen. Touch points for modern infotainment systems can sometimes be tiny and require a precision that is difficult to master in a moving vehicle.

The Expedition Platinum and King Ranch models seem to step on the toes of the upmarket Lincoln Navigator, but offering a range of slightly different styles for the top trims seems to be what buyers want. Ford says the “King Ranch and Platinum trims each account for 13 percent (for a total of 26 percent) of all 2015 Ford Expedition sales.” It’s a similar story across the segment, as Yukon Denali models account for more than 50 percent of that GMC SUV’s sales, which seems to indicate that some prefer a nicely equipped mainstream-brand model over a glitzy premium-brand model like the Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade. While the Ford Expedition remains a capable people-mover, the revisions to the 2015-model-year Tahoe/Yukon show that full-size SUVs don’t have to sacrifice ride and driving dynamics to move eight people and tow. If you need a few hundred extra pounds of towing capacity and plan to use the third row regularly, the Expedition might be the better choice.

You’ll Like

  • Better fuel economy than before
  • No loss of towing capacity with V-8-replacing twin-turbo V-6
  • Decent ride quality

You Won’t Like

  • Doesn’t look much different from pre-refresh Expedition
  • Doesn’t ride as well as competition

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
  • GMC Yukon/Yukon XL
  • Nissan Armada
  • Toyota Sequoia

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