2019 Ford Expedition Platinum
– Most modern tech in its class
– Cabin trim and space
– Strong turbo engine
– Pushes the boundaries of size
– Some hard-plastic trim
– Expensive with options
The Ford Expedition was always the forgotten one when it came to full-size SUVs in our region, against the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol and even the Chevy Tahoe. But that’s changed ever since the 2018 model debuted, as the first complete from-the-ground-up redesign of the Expedition in more than a decade.
The conservatively-handsome new Expedition, still sitting on a steel body-on-frame chassis with aluminium bodywork just like the F-150 truck, has grown to become quite possibly the largest SUV in its class. While you can get an even longer version with the Expedition EL, the regular-wheelbase model is plenty big.
The top-spec Platinum version looks good with 22-inch alloys, power-folding side steps, LEDs on the front bumper, a unique grille and dollops of chrome. Otherwise even the lower-spec models look very similar, except for much smaller-looking wheels and less chrome on the grille.
Climbing inside using the Platinum’s fancy power-folding side steps, you’re greeted by a rather technical-looking dashboard with a lot going on. There is padded stitched-leatherette on the dash, window sills, door inserts and other surfaces that match the leather seat upholstery, yet the steering-wheel airbag cover is cheaper plastic — a remnant from more base XL and XLT models that still comes with a lot of hard-plastic panels.
There is the responsive “SYNC 3” 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with an intuitive simplified interface, but there is also a multitude of buttons underneath to act as physical shortcuts for many features. The XL/XLT models gets a simpler 4.2-inch screen.
The Platinum is loaded to the gills, with a specs sheet too long to list, but some prominent features include a 12-speaker B&O stereo, blind-spot monitoring, 360-degree cameras, auto-parallel parking, in-car wifi, power-adjustable pedals, hands-free power tailgate, door unlocking using a keypad, cooled front seats, panoramic glass roof, wireless phone charging, smart key, dual rear screens, adaptive cruise control, automatic pedestrian braking, lane-keeping assist, a full set of standard airbags, some towing thingies we’re not familiar with, and much much more. The dual-zone auto a/c (with rear vents and controls) takes a long time to blow cool air if the car has been sitting in the summer sun all morning, but is strong when it finally gets going.
Cabin space is immense, better than all its rivals, with sliding/reclining second-row seating, reclining third-row seating, power fold-down second and third rows, and even a power fold-open third row. Access to said third row is a bit tight, on account of the second row that only partially folds forward as it is designed to keep latched-on baby seats in place. There is a built-in cargo barrier in the apartment-sized boot that can be used as a second deck for more cargo when the third row is in use.
The sole engine offered across the range is the potent 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, which makes a robust 400 hp at 5000 rpm and 650 Nm of torque at 3250 rpm in the range-topping Platinum model (lower-grade models get 375 hp and 637 Nm), all mated to a 10-speed automatic. This makes it quicker than V8-powered rivals such as the 5.3-litre Chevrolet Tahoe, 5.7-litre Toyota Land Cruiser and the 5.6-litre Nissan Patrol, and probably the 6.2-litre GMC Yukon as well.
We eked out a 0-100 kph time of 6.6 seconds during our early-summer afternoon run, although we didn’t see the promised fuel economy gains promised by the switch to turbo power — 19.9 litres/100 km (5 km/litre). We suspect you have to slow down to see substantial gains.
The loaded Platinum comes with adaptive suspension, so while it ride a bit floaty, there is noticeably less body roll in sport mode, although by no means can it start chasing Range Rovers now. The steering is light with minimal feedback, while the brakes offer decent stopping power for such a big car, although the pedal response is a bit uneven in terms of linearity.
It offers a smooth ride on well-kept roads, but the low-profile tyres introduce a jitter on rougher surfaces, yet flattening bigger bumps with ease. There is minimal road noise and wind noise at 120 kph, thanks to smaller aerodynamic mirrors than rivals. And thanks to its myriad of driver-assistance nannies, it’s not tough to manoeuvre and park as long as it fits.
A “Terrain Management” system has 7 drive modes to choose from which include Normal, Eco, Sport, Tow/Haul, Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. The four-wheel drive system has 2H, 4A, and 4L. There is no 4H mode as the electronic centre-diff lock for 50:50 front:rear torque split is computer-controlled under the 4A setting, when the Mud/Ruts or Sand modes are selected. There is also a button for the electronic rear-diff lock.
The Expedition can do a fair bit of dune-bashing, but it cannot be hammered as hard as a Land Cruiser or a Patrol due to its lower ground clearance, more limited approach angles and overall larger size. Still, with a deft hand, it can easily be a go-anywhere camping vehicle for the family.
Ford seems to be increasingly edging into the premium segment with the level of technical advancements they offer in their mainstream models now, more so than any other brand. The side-effect of this is that their new models cost a whole lot more than the old models. But the value is definitely there if you can stretch your budget, especially against the similarly-priced decade-old Japanese competition.
Current Model Introduced in:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
Observed Test Fuel Economy: