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Ford's Best SUV? | 2020 Expedition King Ranch Review | Winter Road Trip

Discussion in 'Front Page Articles' started by SID297, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Ford's Best SUV? | 2020 Expedition King Ranch Review | Winter Road Trip

    2020_Expedition_001.jpg

    This one was a surprise, so I’m just going to lead with the major take-away from the story and fill in the details as I go along. The 4th Generation (2018+) Expedition is one of the best new vehicles I have driven in years. If I were in the market for a new SUV, the Expedition is what I would buy. To put it simply, I am impressed.



    Full features inspection in a unique location.

    Our time with our 2020 King Ranch Expedition test vehicle was a bit more extensive than usual. We had the opportunity to take it on a 1,000+ mile road trip, which included a decent amount of winter weather driving. To make things more interesting, this particular truck was a 2WD model. This was a bit unusual for us, being that Ford tends to send out test vehicles that are fully loaded. The missing transfer case was unexpected, but it may have opened our eyes to a few benefits the RWD Expeditions enjoy over the more expensive 4WD models. More on that later.


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    I must say, the Expedition is a sharp looking ride.

    First, the build quality of the 4th Gen Expedition is excellent. Panel gaps were tight, the paint was smooth, no extraneous rattles were present, and the interior materials were above average. You’re getting a lot of vehicle for your money in this aluminum bodied behemoth. The Expedition’s dash is shared with the Super Duty and previous generation F-150. It is logically laid-out and thoughtfully functional. The only quibble I found with the interior was that the introduction of the 2021 F-150 leave’s the current Duty and Expedition interiors looking a bit dated. That’s just the unending march of progress, and something that’s easily addressed with a mid-model refresh. A larger touch screen and Sync 4 have already been announced for the 2022 Super Duty, so I expect the same for Expedition.


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    Anyone familiar with newer Ford trucks would feel right at home in this interior.


    One aspect of the interior that certainly isn’t lacking is cargo capacity. This particular truck was the standard length model, and with the 3rd row power folding seats in their stowed position you get an impressive amount of space to work with. With them up, you’ll have about enough space for the spoils of a grocery run for two. If you plan on leaving the 3rd row in the up position while still having room to haul a Coyote long-block you should plan on shopping for the extended wheel-base Expedition. For my purposes, I’d leave the 3rd row folded down. In fact, for the 2021 model year Ford is offering some Expedition models with a 3rd row delete option. If that opens up more storage space under the flat load floor I’d definitely go for that.


    2020_Expedition_009.jpg

    The Expedition has a healthy amount of cargo space with the rear seats folded flat. For my purposes, I'd order one without the 3rd row seating.


    The King Ranch package adds all the cowboy chic styling cues that we’ve come to expect over the years. Gone are the days of the KR trucks being shod with genuine saddle leather interiors that far too few owners understood how to property maintain (even though Ford used to include a VHS tape with King Ranch F-150s detailing the process). This Expedition’s King Ranch interior gives a vibe more similar to a Jackson Hole, WY ski lodge than the more traditional South Texas working man’s going to town rig. That probably makes the current King Ranch model more approachable to a large group of buyers, and the Del Rio Leather seats are certainly comfortable and inviting.


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    Sunroof fans rejoice, there's no lack of glass here.

    However, to me the true highlight of the 4th Gen Expedition is its driving dynamics. If expertly straddles the fence between car like comfort and a truck like feel. The ride is smooth and comfortable; without being squishy, numb, and prone to excessive body roll. If does all that while still feeling solid and confident, just like a full-frame truck/SUV should. In my opinion, the Expedition’s ride and handling is damn near perfect. Check out this vid for my full on-road review:



    A full-size SUV simply has no business being as good on the road as this thing is.

    The most surprising aspect of this Expedition was hands-down its handling. This thing was extraordinarily nimble for a vehicle this size. The turning radius is ridiculous, and feels like it’s tighter than an S550 Mustang. I didn’t measure it out, but needless to say this Expedition can easily navigate a close-quarters parking lot. I’m not sure if this particular truck being a 2WD is the reason it has such impressive turning, but I suspect that to be the case. On the open road, the steering is very responsive and the brakes are highly effective. The only fullsize Ford I’ve driven that was more comfortable on a road trip was a Gen 2 Raptor; not really an apples-to-apples comparison.



    It's tight quarters down here, but let's get a look at the Expedition's underpinnings.

    Speaking of road trip, we took our King Ranch on one of the thousand mile variety. Over the course of the trip we averaged ~20 MPG, which is insane for a truck this size. The 3.5L V6 EcoBoost (rated at 375HP and 470 lb-ft) and 10R80 10-spd automatic combo were sufficiently powerful, even in a roughly 5,400 pound SUV. I imagine with a tune from one of the many EcoBoost tuning experts (such as @Livernois Motorsports) here on SVTP would really liven things up. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of a 5.4L 2V Expedition with a 4R70 trans knocking down 14MPG while being completely gutless.


    2020_Expedition_019.jpg

    The 3.5L EcoBoost may not be every SVTP Member's favorite Blue Oval Powerplant, but it sure works well in this application.

    After experiencing the handling characteristics and MPG performance of this 2WD Expedition, I would not hesitate to choose it over a 4WD model. In the area we, and realistically most Expedition owners, drive these vehicles 4WD is mostly a waste. We had absolutely no problem traversing snow covered winter roads in the mountains of WV with this King Ranch model. If you only have to deal with conditions like this once or twice per year, a little driving skill in a 2WD will typically get you through it. In the end, the only real complaint I can think of with our King Ranch Expedition tester is its nearly $75,000 sticker price. That’s an eye watering number, but you’re getting a lot of truck for your money. This thing is supremely safe, comfortable, and efficient. It’s a pleasure to drive and handles like a much smaller vehicle. Simply put, the current generation Expedition is one of the best new Fords I’ve driven in years. But don’t take my word for it (even though you should), head out to a dealer and try one for yourself.


    2020_Expedition_029.jpg

    Even though our Expedition was a 2WD model, I wasn't going to shy away from testing it in some winter conditions. ​


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    This is where the fun begins, slick road conditions and a dropping off a serious grade. The Expedition handled it like a champ.


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    The wireless charging pad is one of my favorite features being added to new Fords. No more dealing with tangled wires.


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    Ford has gotten a bit more conservative over the years with its use of the King Ranch logo. It can still be found in several places on the Expedition KR, and the stitching work on this particular one on the center console it excellent.

    -SID297
     
  2. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Expedition_015.jpg 2020_Expedition_002.jpg 2020_Expedition_003.jpg 2020_Expedition_005.jpg 2020_Expedition_007.jpg 2020_Expedition_008.jpg 2020_Expedition_011.jpg 2020_Expedition_012.jpg 2020_Expedition_013.jpg 2020_Expedition_014.jpg
     
  3. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Expedition_027.jpg 2020_Expedition_016.jpg 2020_Expedition_018.jpg 2020_Expedition_020.jpg 2020_Expedition_021.jpg 2020_Expedition_022.jpg 2020_Expedition_023.jpg 2020_Expedition_024.jpg 2020_Expedition_025.jpg 2020_Expedition_026.jpg
     
  4. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Expedition_031.jpg 2020_Expedition_032.jpg 2020_Expedition_034.jpg 2020_Expedition_036.jpg 2020_Expedition_037.jpg 2020_Expedition_028.jpg 2020_Expedition_030.jpg
     
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  5. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member Established Member Single Barrel Sirs

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    Awesome and detailed review, Travis. If I was looking for an SUV, not only would I seriously consider the Expedition, but your review would help me a LOT. Better than most of the magazine reviews I've read.

    I find it interesting that even in snow conditions, the RWD platforms handles the slippery stuff like a champ. I also like that Ford is likely going to introduce a 3rd row seat delete option for '22. Smart move, and one that I think many new owners will like a lot. You still have roomy seating for 5 plus a ton of storage space with the 3rd row seating deleted.

    I read your comment about loving the cell phone wireless charging pad. I love the one in my G-70. The only complaint is that the charging is much slower than with a wired pad, which is to be expected. I'd still prefer the wireless charging pad, though, over the traditional USB cable wired charging port.

    Thanks for the extensive, thorough and well written review, Travis.
     
  6. gimmie11s

    gimmie11s Don’t be an idiot Established Member

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    Nice truck!! The 3.5 EB is the perfect powerplant for this platform IMO.
     
  7. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Bob.
     
  8. HuntFishCobra

    HuntFishCobra Formerly MarkOPKS Premium Member Established Member

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    Did that have the Limited slip diff?
     
  9. SLOWBRA

    SLOWBRA Well-Known Member Established Member

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    I've had a 18 Expedition Limited Max and have absolutely loved it. It's coming off lease in a few months after which I'll be getting another one. The interior space, handling, power, and aesthetics are awesome.
     
  10. svtfocus2cobra

    svtfocus2cobra Opprimere, Velocitas, Violentia Operandi Established Member

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    I got to spend some time in the new Expeditions as well as the new Navigator and I agree with your assessment on the handling entirely. Both feel solid, but the Navigator has that air ride feeling while the Expedition has a solid planted feel in the corners while still feeling plush, just not to the extent of the Nav of course. I really liked both.
     
  11. biminiLX

    biminiLX never stock Premium Member Established Member

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    768A3F84-B0FE-44B7-95CB-99023C443D42.jpeg Nice review and also agreed on your assessment. We had what I’m pretty sure was a 2wd 2021 model on a recent family vacation. The kids really liked ‘big daddy lava’ but the wife still said she thought it was too big for her daily. We also got over 20mpg and put over 300mi on it. The 3.5/10R combo was awesome and I’d definitely like to experience a tuned version.
    -J
     
  12. biminiLX

    biminiLX never stock Premium Member Established Member

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    Navigator more ‘comfortable’?
    I’m probably going Aviator but would choose the air suspension if possible.
    -J
     
  13. SLOWBRA

    SLOWBRA Well-Known Member Established Member

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    There are many aspects of the Navigator that my wife likes over her Expedition Max, however, they simply are not worth the price difference for me to get her an Navigator instead :)
     
  14. svtfocus2cobra

    svtfocus2cobra Opprimere, Velocitas, Violentia Operandi Established Member

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    I mean, the Navigator should be more comfortable if that is what you are getting at? The Expedition is really really nice all around, but the Navigator offers luxury at levels that exceed the Escalade imo and is up there with Range Rover and Porsche's Cayenne.
     
  15. RedVenom48

    RedVenom48 Ghost Editor-in-Chief Premium Member Established Member Beer Money Bros.

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    Thread title is false. The greatest SUV ever made by Ford is the 2002 Excursion Limited 4x4 powered by the 7.3 Powerstroke.
     
    biminiLX likes this.
  16. RedVenom48

    RedVenom48 Ghost Editor-in-Chief Premium Member Established Member Beer Money Bros.

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    Thread title is false. The greatest SUV ever made by Ford is the 2002 Excursion Limited 4x4 powered by the 7.3 Powerstroke.

    So true it was necessary to mention it twice.....
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021

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