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Ride & Drive: 2015 Ford Expedition

By Neal White

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Receiving a number of upgrades and enhancements for the 2015 model year, the Ford Expedition is at the top of any list for those in the market for a full-size utility vehicle that can do it all.

With seating available for up to eight passengers and up to 130.8 cubic feet of available cargo room — as well as the ability to tow up to 9,200 pounds, the Expedition is up for just about any challenge.

Since its introduction in 1996, the Expedition has gone head-to-head with the Chevy Suburban, which invented the full-size utility segment.

Available in rear- or four-wheel drive configurations, as well as regular or extended wheelbase body styles, the new Expedition makes a solid case for why it should retain King of the Hill status in a growing segment.

In addition to refreshed exterior stylings and new interior appointments, one of the new features is the addition of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 — which now powers the lineup. Producing 365 horsepower and 420 lbs.-ft. torque, is the same engine setting sales records in the F-150 pickup. Mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and requiring regular unleaded gasoline, the EcoBoost engine delivers V-8 performance and power, yet with the improved fuel economy of a V-6.

The new Expedition is also the first Ford nameplate to offer a continuously controlled damping suspension that allows the driver to select from three drive modes — comfort, normal and sport.

The system works through a suite of sensors that detects 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs. By monitoring body motion, the system can automatically adjust damping in milliseconds.

The 2015 Expedition also features Ford’s electric power-assisted steering, which provides drivers improved maneuverability at low speeds, improved feel at high speeds while also helping save fuel over traditional pump-driven systems.

And yes, it is also highly connected, featuring Ford Sync and MyFordTouch keeping drivers connected with the touch of a button through the Sony audio system and 4.2-inch screens on the console.

With a base price starting at $43,390, consumers have their choice of four very distinct trim levels — XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum (all available in regular or extended wheelbase and rear- or four-wheel drive).

This week I evaluated the Expedition Platinum extended wheelbase model.

While it truly is a capable full-size vehicle that sets benchmarks for passenger comfort for all eight seating positions, cargo capacity and towing, I have to admit I felt like I was driving a stretch limo because it was so nicely equipped. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a reason it’s at the top of the test drive list.

The nuts and bolts

MODEL:

2015 Ford Expedition

8-seat SUV

Rear-, or four-wheel drive

Regular or extended wheelbase

Trim packages:

XLT, Limited, King Ranch, Platinum

PRICE RANGE:

$44,000-$70,000

ENGINE:

3.5L EcoBoost V-6

(365 hp/420 torque)

TRANSMISSION:

6-speed auto w/SelectShift

EPA: TBD

FUEL: Regular unleaded

STABILITY CONTROL:

AdvanceTrac stability control with roll stability control

BRAKES: ABS

LENGTH: 206/220.8* in.

WHEELBASE: 119/131• inches

WIDTH: 78.8 inches

HEIGHT: 77.2 inches

WEIGHT: 5559-6091 lbs.

TRACK: 67/67.2

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 28/33.5* gallons

TIRES: 17-, or 20-inch

CARGO: 18.6/42.6 - 55/85.5 - 108.3/130.8* (behind 3rd/2nd/1st row).

TOWING: Up to 9,200 lbs.

* Denotes regular/extended wheelbase

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association. Contact Neal at neal.white@wninews.com or 469-517-1470.

The new 2015 Ford Expedition is the most powerful, fuel-efficient Expedition yet, with seating for eight and segment leading towing capacity. With an available radar-based Blind Spot Information System, an available computer controlled suspension and EcoBoost power, the 2015 Expedition will be for sale in North America in the fall of 2014. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.
With tailored, lush leather thatþÄôs soft and smooth to the touch, the Platinum series offers customers a choice: Brunello leather-appointed seats in a new red wine color with tuxedo-stripe accents and French-seamed stitching, or Ebony leather-appointed seats with Agate Gray accents. (Shown in Brunello)