Conventional wisdom says enormous, truck-based SUVs like the Ford Expedition fell out of vogue after the introduction of more refined, fuel-efficient crossovers, the sales figures say otherwise. The Expedition is still a reasonably successful model for Ford, outselling both the C-Max Hybrid/Energi twins and the Ford Flex in 2013. For the 2015 model year, the SUV receives a long-overdue refresh that mirrors the changes applied to its luxury sibling, the 2015 Lincoln Navigator.
Visually, the 2015 Ford Expedition doesn't make a huge leap forward from the outgoing model. A restyled chrome grille, a new fascia with an upside-down trapezoid lower grille opening, and optional LED fog lights define the SUV's nose. On the liftgate, a new thick chrome trim strip extends the entire width between the taillights. The Expedition's exhaust tip is now finished in chrome. Both the standard Expedition and the Expedition EL, which has a 12-inch-longer wheelbase, will continue to be offered.
Bigger changes are present under the hood, where a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 engine replaces the Expedition's 5.4-liter V-8. Although horsepower and fuel-economy ratings haven't been confirmed, the automaker tells us the 2015 Ford Expedition will be more powerful and more fuel efficient. Currently, a 2014 Expedition achieves 14/20 mpg (city/highway) with rear-wheel drive, and extracts just 310 hp from its V-8 engine. The new model also adopts electric power steering, which will also reduce fuel consumption. Ford says the new engine will have a tow rating as high as 9200 pounds -- matching the current rear-wheel-drive Expedition.
In terms of luxury touches, the 2015 Ford Expedition gains the Continuously Controlled Damping system that has, until now, generally been reserved for Lincoln models. The system, which uses 46 sensors to measure the vehicle's performance, has comfort, normal, and sport ride settings.
To further the luxury image, the 2015 Ford Expedition adds a Platinum trim level above the normal XLT and Limited trims. Inspired by the success of the F-150 Platinum, it boasts features like pushbutton starting, the MyFord Touch infotainment system, a blind-spot warning system, leather seating offered in both red wine and black colors, and 22-inch wheels. Later, an even more luxurious Expedition King Ranch will be offered. Other interior changes include a new instrument cluster with twin color LCD screens, LED ambient lighting, and a 10-speaker Sony sound system.
These upgrades will help keep the 2015 Ford Expedition relevant, especially in the wake of the new Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe, and will help boost the SUV's dismal fuel-economy ratings. It remains to be seen, however, whether the addition of high-zoot Platinum and King Ranch trims will have any impact on sales of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator.