BAKERSRFIELD, California — Whenever I visit family back home it pains me to drive a test vehicle with limited passenger capacity as that forces me to make decisions I don’t want to make. I have 15 siblings and more nieces and nephews than possibly anyone on earth and a select group of them hangs out with me when I am in town. Could you imagine having to leave a few kids behind for a Taco Bell run or an exciting family outing due to limited seating? This scenario is one I am all too familiar with.
In life there are going to be difficult decisions and they will have to be made regardless of your feelings. For that matter, the kids usually battle for a passenger seat over a game of paper-rock-scissors. Though this method makes me feel less guilty, the somber facial expressions on the kids that don’t get to join in on the fun always shatter my heart.
On a recent visit home, I planned accordingly by bringing a massive SUV to accommodate six kids plus their awesome chauffeur for a trip to the zoo. When the option to drive a minivan fell into my lap I immediately declined. No offense to all the superhero moms out there who are rocking minivans. That said, every mother deserves to drive in style and for this special occasion no other large passenger vehicle would suffice like the 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum Max.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that is rated at 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, the Expedition Platinum Max came gorgeously equipped for an eyebrow-raising price of $83,585. The kids enjoyed almost every dollar of it which in my humble opinion justified the price.
On the exterior, standard equipment includes 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, a hands-free tailgate, panoramic vista roof, power deployable running boards, LED headlamps and taillamps, roof rack side rails, and power folding side mirrors. Standard interior goodies consist of wireless charging, ambient lighting, a universal garage door opener, 360-degree camera, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with voice-activated navigation, SYNC 3, front seats with active motion, second and third-row power folding seats, and SYNC Connect.
Notable driver assisting features are auto high-beam headlamps, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, SOS post-crash alert system, enhanced park assist system, cross-traffic alert with trailer tow monitoring, and lane-keeping system.
My tester in Stone Gray (one of eight available exterior flavors) had the Medium Soft Ceramic leather interior. Optional equipment installed were second-row power folding tip-and-slide bucket seats, heavy-duty trailer tow package, and dual-headrest rear entertainment system. Take a tour inside the Platinum Max and there is enough space to host a sleepover party.
On the night before the zoo trip I opened the Expedition’s panoramic vista roof, pumped up the B&O audio system’s volume, and invited my toddler nephew to make it his playhouse. He ran wild, rolled around on the seats, and showed me some of his dance moves. When bedtime came knocking on the door his mom struggled to convince him to go back inside the house. Sadly, I had no other choice but to shut down the party.
In the morning I picked up six of my nieces and nephews for our special trip to the California Living Museum (CALM) Zoo. When I promised there would be a pizza party afterward they all more than agreed to spend their day off from school with me. Interestingly, every time I offered a kid the chance to be my co-pilot they would refuse and take a rear seat. The more time I spent at the wheel of the Platinum Max I discovered it had that effect on passengers.
By virtue of not wanting to disappoint the kids with my music choices I let them decide what music to play. In a unanimous decision they requested Drake and his “In My Feelings” track was on replay. When I looked in the rearview mirror I saw a bunch of tiny hands waving in the air like they didn’t care.
On our way to CALM we took a detour to Dollar Tree for snacks and refreshments. Thanks to the fifteen cupholders in the Platinum Max there were no fights. Considering we were at full capacity the optional second-row bucket seats proved to be very helpful. The space in between them served as a walkway to the third-row seat and made my job as chauffeur easier. Unfortunately, the kids never sampled the dual-headrest rear entertainment system because they were too busy enjoying Drake’s tunes and cruising to the zoo.
When we arrived at CALM Zoo we wasted no time and quickly made our way to the different animal exhibits. After seeing a wide range of animals in their peaceful habitats we concluded our visit to CALM at the onsite playground and picked up some souvenirs from their fabulous gift shop. Our final stop was to Pizzaville USA for lunch and the kids danced their way into the pizza parlor.
I thought that mommy duty with an ensemble of six kids would be dreadful, but it turned out to be one of the most fun experiences I have ever had. The joy in the kid’s eyes reciprocated the same feeling. The 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum Max delivered by making a trip to the zoo and pizza party possible for six kids.