2015 Ford Expedition: More of What Matters

By Sue Mead, September 13th, 2014

Here's a classic example of the adage "the whole being greater than the sum of its parts": The refreshed-for-2015 Ford Expedition may not seem profoundly distinct, however, abounding upgrades add up to great, noticeable difference.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed new look, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a quieter cabin with more technology than previous-generation vehicles
Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed new look, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a quieter cabin with more technology than previous-generation vehicles

The 2015 Expedition gets a refreshed exterior; a more luxurious and quieter interior; a collection of new, advanced technologies; plus a new engine with more power and better fuel economy.

The full-size SUV has seating for eight and comes in two wheelbases, 2WD and 4WD versions, and four trims -- XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and an all-new, top-of-the-line Platinum edition -- with unique, up-level interior appointments.

Ford's 2015 Expedition largely resembles the previous version, although changes front and rear modernize the utility vehicle and freshen its appearance. Available front halogen projector headlights and LED fog/running lamps brighten the front. Changes to the back include a revised rear hatch and subtle-but-stately chrome exhaust tips.

The Expedition two wheelbases are the 119-inch version that competes directly with the Chevy Tahoe, and a larger 131-inch EL model that parallels the Chevy Suburban. The longer wheelbase adds a third row of seating.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed new look, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a quieter cabin with more technology than previous-generation vehicles

Inside is an updated cabin with greatly improved quietness, as a result of acoustic front glass and the inclusion of more sound-deadening materials throughout the vehicle and in the wheel wells for all trims. New carpeting absorbs sounds and a new, special sealant reduces air leaks by 20 percent, which lessens unwanted road and engine noise.

New are the passive entry with push-button start and a center stack that houses new technologies, such as the available Sync with MyFord Touch with 8-inch screen that manages climate control, satellite navigation, HD radio, SiriusXM, and mobile phone support. Driver information is also displayed on two full-color 4.2-inch screens in the instrument cluster.

Designers incorporated different themes for each trim to reflect distinct customer lifestyles. The Limited is designed as confident and elegant with refined and traditional accents and finishes, while the rugged King Ranch is still swathed in signature leather and tasteful King Ranch detailing. Platinum trims are treated with sophisticated styling cues and can be ordered with Brunello leather seats in a Red Wine color with tuxedo stripe accents and French stitching or tailored, plush Ebony leather with Agate Gray accents.

Under the hood of the 2015 Expedition is a single engine: the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, with direct injection and twin turbochargers. It generates 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque and provides more power, performance, and fuel efficiency than the 5.4-liter V-8 used in the outgoing model.

The engine is matched to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, with a manual mode that allows the driver to use a shift-mounted rocker switch to select a desired gear; this can be an aid with towing heavy loads both up and down steep hills. Expedition has towing of up to 9,200 pounds when properly equipped.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed new look, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a quieter cabin with more technology than previous-generation vehicles

We drove the 2015 Expedition in West Virginia over a course of some 150 miles that comprised winding two lanes and a small portion of highway driving. The first thing we noticed was its quietness and well-appointed, tasteful interior, with great entry, exit, and driving ergonomics, plus good visibility.

Impressive are the new powertrain that delivers instant power-on-tap and the well-matched six-speed automatic transmission that allow the driver to hold gears when needed. Most notable is the fully independent suspension that gives improved ride and handling -- especially on the tight and twisty roadways we traveled; it also permits a more convenient fold-flat third-row bench seat, a low load-floor height, and up to 108.3 cubic feet of cargo space, or 130.8 cubic feet on the long-wheelbase model.

Top of my list of likes is the continuously controlled damping suspension that allows the driver to select from three drive modes -- comfort, normal and sport. This is engineered with a suite of 46 unique body sensors that detect body, steering, and braking inputs and can automatically adjust damping in milliseconds.

The Expedition also uses Ford's electric power-assisted steering, which reduces steering effort, provides better maneuverability at slow speeds, and improved feel at higher speeds; it also aids fuel economy as it operates more efficiently than traditional pump-driven systems.

Pricing starts at $43,390 for the standard wheelbase and $46,100 for the EL, putting the 2015 Expedition about 3 percent higher than the outgoing model, which started at $41,975 and $44,685 (not including destination and delivery).

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed new look, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a quieter cabin with more technology than previous-generation vehicles

Specifications

Base price $43,390 (as tested: $44,585)
Curb weight 5,600 lbs.
Displacement 3.5-liter
Epa mileage rating mpg city, mpg highway
Fuel capacity 28 gal.
Horsepower (net) 365 at 5000 rpm
Motor type twin-turbocharged V-6 w/DI
Overall length 206.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 420 at 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 8-passenger SWB 2WD full-size SUV
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