Review of: 2017 Ford Expedition 4WD 4dr Platinum
2017 Ford Expedition Platinum: For family expeditions, not far-off adventures
By G. R. Whale
Apr. 3, 2017
Expedition’s an honest SUV: Frame construction, low-range 4WD, plenty of seats or cargo, generous towing and abundant low-rpm torque. If you need some combination that includes the towing or 4WD it deserves consideration; if you don’t tow or use 4WD you’re looking at the wrong vehicle class.
Pros & Cons
- + Smooth, strong engine
- + Practicality
- + Understated styling
- - Folding seats difficult to adjust
- - Advanced safety features
- - Fuel economy
Utility roots show in crisp, rectangular lines absent any teardrop taper in profile or plan view and the low windowsill from mirror to tail allows excellent visibility for driver and shorter passengers—human or otherwise—behind. Boxes work, jelly beans roll.
I’m a sucker for the “bronze fire” paint with moderated bling. Examine details like auto-retract painted running boards that virtually disappear when not in use, standard tow loops, wrap-over rear bumper scuff protection and easily cleaned 22-inch wheels I wouldn’t get (see Driving).
Were this a genuine expedition vehicle it’d have a larger, skid-plated fuel tank, higher tailpipe and ride, industrial roof rack and probably a diesel.
Expedition’s strong point versus its primary competitor is independent rear suspension, which allows adults in the third row, more cargo area and flush folded-seat load deck. Rearmost cargo volume is 22 per cent greater than a Tahoe, all-rear seats folded is 14 per cent greater and third-row legroom is 327 mm more, so even six-footers can sit back there.
Third-row seats power flat after dropping the headrest but second-row is manual, a two- or three-tug job if you want access or cargo-mode; in cargo mode there’s a two-plus metre long flat floor. A middle row bench adds body count, but aged or arthritic types may appreciate sliding into the flat, arm-rested, heated captain’s chairs.
Materials are utility appropriate, not as top-to-bottom luxurious as those used for mall-cruising and status symbols. Dual visors duly handle the big greenhouse, there’s plenty of storage and big omni-directional vents feed loads of fresh air. Most controls are simple to use and find, though the stalk is busy and the dimmer rocker stumped me a couple of times trying to extinguish cabin lighting.
If this isn’t big enough, Expedition Max adds 21 litres of fuel capacity and 638-863 litres of cargo room.
Expedition offers blind-spot warning but not active cruise control, reverse-tilt mirrors, nor forward collision warning or mitigation braking. The integrated trailer brake controller makes for easiest towing.
The SYNC3 infotainment system is reasonably good, perhaps not the most intuitive but it did everything I wished, and much is controlled by right-thumb wheel quadrant reflected in the instrument display. Siri Eyes Free works whether or not you have CarPlay connected.
Expedition drives like a more-maneuverable, softer-riding, quieter half-ton pickup…and carries more weight than some. Loading it with half a dozen each people and suitcases hardly affected anything.
The V6’s output splits GM’s 5.3 and 6.2-litre V8s, with better low-end grunt and no issues with smoothness or noise—it’s quiet from idle up, needn’t be revved much and at 1,800 metres elevation no competitor betters available thrust. It gets the 2,700-kg box rolling adroitly and the six-speed automatic keeps it that way.
Against 15.9/12.0 l/100km ratings I did 16.7/10.1 averaging 14.5; full load cost 0.1 l/100km but towing will drop it since power requires gasoline regardless what size engine makes it. (Get the 3.73:1 axle and auto-leveling if you plan on towing in mountains or more than 1,500 kg regularly.) Top tow rating of 4,173 kg eclipses competitors by up to 1,000 kg.
Body-on-frame construction felt tight and solid with minor pogo-sticking noticed only on a few expansion-joint sections. Roll stiffness favors the pavement for relatively flat cornering so it was easy to park on two opposing wheels where all doors and the hatch opened and closed easily. That also means 4WD will be needed sooner rather than later, or just leave it in 4-auto year-round and it sorts things out well.
It cruises effortlessly and bumps of all sizes were soaked up well, again empty or loaded, firm brake pedal feel gave good results and two turns of the wheel yields a 13-metre turning circle, smaller than it feels.
For ride, replacement and consumption I’d stick to 20-inch wheels (or 18s), and if you shift manually note from D you’ll have to toggle down from 6th even if it’s already in a lower gear.
At $73,000, a seven-seat Expedition on 22s isn’t cheap, big money if you’re not using it. However, Nissan’s Armada Platinum is $70,000; a Sequoia Limited with similar room but lower towing capacity, greater consumption and no auto-4WD is $71,500; a similarly equipped Tahoe Premier is $77,000 and if you need 400-hp a 6.2-litre Yukon Denali is $79,000-plus.
Some observers called it dated, to which I replied so are you, is that a bad thing? It might’nt have the latest whiz-bang stuff but when you need utility work that’s the last thing you should be looking at.