Ford Expedition Platinum EL 4X4
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Aug 12, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
This car’s entire name flies the face of political correctness. First of all, it’s an Expedition—the Platinum Edition, no less. Those two letters that follow—EL—stands for Extended Length. And this is a 4X4, a real SUV—not one of those sissy crossover vehicles. And this is no ordinary SUV. It’s the biggest one Ford makes. In the words of Donald Trump, this vehicle is HUGE! Senior Contributing Editor Harvey Schwartz reports.
Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
When it was first introduced, it immediately became a serious contender in the large sport utility market. But it has been eight long years since the last makeover for Ford’s full-size sport utility vehicle, and the tastes and priorities of its customer base have changed. The all-new 2015 Ford Expedition ads sleeker styling, a more fuel efficient engine, better handling capabilities and a quieter cabin with more technology and connectivity. I tested the new, extended length, Expedition EL 4X4, top-of-the-line Platinum edition. This is a new offer from Ford engineers and designers to full-size SUV customers – a still growing market for large, well-to-do active families, as well as limo companies and corporations. I did come away with mixed, but mostly positive, feelings.
The all-new styling is sleek and elegant with a front fascia wrapped in satin aluminum with bright chrome accents, lower air-intakes with two chrome bars, dual chrome tow hooks, and LED fog lamps. The tested model was painted in the Bronze Fire Metallic to add to the overall image. The halogen projector headlamps do a great job of lighting up the road. The power dome hood is a signature Ford element. When viewed from the side the sleeker styling is evident in a steeply raked A-pillars containing SoundShield acoustic glass, a flat roof with aluminum roof rails, a thick chrome strip at the beltline that runs all the way to the power-opening/closing rear side-view glass, chrome pull-out door handles covered in chrome, running boards in polished stainless steel, and chrome covered side view mirrors. As it befits an SUV in this class, the mirrors are power-remote, heated, power-folding with a built in turn-signal repeater. Flared fenders are filled with 22X9 inch polished aluminum wheels wrapped in 285/45R22 Pirelli Scorpion Verde high-performance all-season radial tires.
The new styling is not limited to the front. After all, this Expedition has utility in its name, so the flat rear end features a power lift gate, flipper glass for easy cargo access, a step-up bumper, and bright chrome with satin aluminum accent bar bearing EXPEDITION inscription, lest the drivers forget what they are driving. Further down on the right there is a large, round single chrome exhaust finisher. The overall result of these improvements is that the new Expedition Platinum EL 4X4 looks great from any angle. I received lot of positive feedback from other motorists and passersby in parking lots.
The beauty of the new Expedition is not only skin deep; when underway this SUV performs and handles better given its new engine, steering and suspension systems. Power arrives in form of a new 3.5 liter EcoBoost Twin Turbocharged DOHC V6 engine with Direct Injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing. This is the only engine available for the Expedition. Fortunately it develops a healthy 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, but more importantly, 420 pound-feet of torque at just 2,500 rpm. To maximize performance and control, the powerplant is mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission featuring a manual mode that allows me to use a shift-mounted rocker switch to select my desired gear.
In my opinion Ford should have equipped its top-of-the-line Expedition Platinum EL 4X4 with a new, more fuel efficient, eight-speed automatic given that many other luxury SUVs have already done this. Well, there is always next year.
When so equipped, the Expedition boasts best-in-class towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. Any utility vehicle worthy of its designation should be ready to tow campers, all-terrain vehicles, or - if one prefers water based fun - boats, and jet skis. The tested Expedition came equipped with 4X4 electronically controlled transfer case. Twist the dash-mounted dial, and this SUV switches from 2W High, to 4W Automatic, to Full-Time 4X4 and 4W low. It is great for added traction on wet or slippery surfaces, or when heading off-road to a favorite campground.
The Expedition is the first Ford vehicle to offer a Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) which allows the driver to select among three drive modes: comfort, normal and sport from the Setting menu in the onboard computer. Built-in sensors monitor 46 unique body, steering, and braking inputs and the system can automatically adjust damping in milliseconds. The weight of the vehicle, steering feedback and road undulations are all part of this process, and the computers react accordingly to help control wheel and body motion so that the occupants can enjoy comfortable ride. A ride without this type of system feels as if the Expedition is bouncing on the suspension springs.
Speaking of suspension, the new SUV has a fully independent one with a double wishbone setup up front with coil-over CCD shocks and a 36mm stabilizer bar. The posterior rides on a multi-link setup with coil-over CCD shocks and a 21 mm stabilizer bar. This suspension reacts very quickly to my steering inputs thanks to a new electric power-assisted steering (as opposed to a pump-driven system) which provides improved maneuverability at low speeds, while retaining better feel at high speeds. I yearned for three buttons on the center console - or dashboard – just to make the changes on the fly, if I felt relaxed or sporty.
Anything weighing three tons needs some stopping power. Up front that job is entrusted to 13.6-inch vented discs with dual-piston calipers. Two 12.6-inch solid discs with single-piston calipers work the rear, all power assisted, of course. Keeping the shiny side up on wet and slick pavement is handled by Standard ABS, and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control.
The interior of the tested model resembles long, comfortable, and ergonomic cave with the latest in connectivity and safety features. The front bucket seats wrapped in Brunello leather are powered/heated/cooled and adjustable every which way. The red wine colored seats with tuxedo-stripe accents and seamed stitching, although very soft, hold the occupants in place during spirited driving times. The second-row seats are heated but feature only manual seatback controls. Utter absence of leather anywhere on the dashboard or dash top, a standard feature on other luxury SUVs, remains a mystery. A search for soft leather finds it on the padded armrest for console box and doors. High-quality faux wood in-laids accentuate the center stack, center console and door switch plates. All buttons, dials and switches are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving. The instrument cluster features a speedometer flanked by dual 4.2 inch full color screens for driver information on the left and navigation/entertainment readouts on the right.
Once underway, roll up the windows and you can hear a pin drop thanks to SoundScreen glass, and triple-sealed windows. Seals on the body reduce air leaks by twenty percent, and sound dampening materials are added in the cabin pillars, and packed into the center console to further reduce unwanted road and engine noise. More sound deadening material is applied to the headliner and door trim panels, while the cabin features new sound-absorbing carpeting. There is even improved sound insulation in the wheel wells. When looking for noise I can deploy 12-speaker/8-inch subwoofer, 390-watt Sony Audio Surround Sound system. I have a choice of AM-FM-CD-Sirius satellite radio with iPod and USB connections. The tested Platinum Expedition came equipped with a voice-activated 8-inch color touch screen with navigation as well as SYNC with MyFord Touch which consumers demand nowadays.
The list of additional standard features in the Platinum model is so complete: Grab handles on the A-and-B pillars, power windows with only driver-side express up/down (why not throw passenger seats in there for a true luxury touch), self-dimming rearview mirror, manual folding second-row 40/20/40 bench seat, power-folding third-row 60/40 seats, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, second-row reading lamps, storage slots in each door, above and below the center stack, under-floor storage in the rear, power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers/washer, rear wiper/washer, dual-zone climate control with second-row climate controls, Blind Spot Alert, rearview camera/front/rear parking assists, HD trailer tow package, universal garage door openers, memory seats/mirrors, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescopic steering wheel for two drivers, Platinum signature door kick plates up front, map pockets behind the front bucket seatbacks, foot activated parking brake, trailer brake control, power door locks, cruise control, dual cupholders up front and behind the center console, front air-vents with chrome bezels/second-row dual cupholders with chrome bezels at the rear of the center console, front/rear floor mats and seven color choices for ambient lighting – that the only priced option on the tested model included 22X9 inch polished aluminum wheels for $2,180.00.
Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac with RSC, front/side airbags with side impact airbags and safety canopy, 8-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, front/rear crumple zones, and steel beams in each door.
After eight years Ford has brought to market an updated, more modern full-size SUV. The tested Platinum edition is heading in the right direction, but with a base price of $63,460.00 ($67,015.00 as tested) it needs more innovative exterior lighting, and softer interior trim with more luxury features inside. In the rarified air of sixty grand plus, competitive life can be brutal. And not for the lack of oxygen.
For more information about Ford products, go to ford.com. Link opened into new tab: formulad.com/schedule/results SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum EL 4X4 Price: $63,460.00 (base) $67,015.00 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 14 city/20 highway (miles per gallon) Engine: 3.5 liter EcoBoost Twin Turbocharged DOHC V6 engine with Direct Injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing Horsepower: 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm Torque: 420 pound-feet of torque at just 2,500 rpm Transmission: Six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission featuring a manual mode and shift-mounted rocker switches to select desired gear Drive configuration: 4X4 with electronically controlled transfer case Suspension Fully independent with a double wishbone setup up front with coil-over CCD shocks and a 36mm stabilizer bar; rear multi-link setup with coil-over CCD shocks and a 21 mm stabilizer bar; Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) Brakes: Power assisted 13.6-inch vented discs with dual-piston calipers up front and 12.6-inch solid discs with single-piston calipers at the rear, ABS, and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control Wheels and tires: 22X9 inch polished aluminum wheels and 285/45R22 Pirelli Scorpion Verde high-performance all-season radial tires Dimensions Total length: 220.8 inches Total width: 91.8 inches Total height: 77.7 inches Curb weight: 6,091 pounds