by Tony West and Daryl Payne
Ford’s Expedition is still one of the most popular full size SUV’s amongst some tight competition. For 2015, the Expedition is offered in XLT, Limited, Platinum, and King Ranch models. I’m impressed with the new King Ranch Expedition we reviewed because it’s uniquely styled for a ranch lifestyle but still boasts an efficient Ecoboost V6 and new safety and infotainment technology.
Western Sophisticated Style
Everywhere I went, people asked where they could buy the King Ranch Expedition. The Bronze Fire Metallic paint job with the Ebony Mesa leather interior is a head turner. And the King Ranch Edition has a chrome three bar grille and chrome assist step that pops out when I open the doors. LED fog lamps are available. Twenty-two inch aluminum wheels and chrome tip exhausts are standard.
The 2016 Expedition is big and brawny with a long wheel base and tons of interior space. There are 2 wheelbases offered, the longer 131 inch wheelbase with up to 130 cubic feet of total cargo space, and the 119 inch wheelbase with 103 cubic feet. The new King Ranch Edition combines big body strength and capability with a sophisticated western flair. This harmonious blend of rugged style and class attracts the labor boss, the farmer, the rancher, to the soccer mom and the young artist.
Efficient Ecoboost V6
The new Expedition is bigger than the Explorer, but has the efficiency of all of Ford’s new whips. The 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6 engine makes pushin the big body Expedition that much more rewarding. The twin-turbocharged V6 has direct injection and is matched to a 6 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Compared with the previous V8, the 3.5 liter Ecoboost give drivers better EPA’s and more power and torque on demand. An efficient new V6 helps the Expedition achieve a 20 mph highway EPA.
I felt no bumps in the steel bodied King Ranch. Front and rear suspension is awesome. That’s thanks to continuously controlled damping that uses 46 unique body, steering, and braking inputs to adjust the damping in milliseconds. And continuously controlled damping reacts to the bumps and craters, so I can swerve with controlled body motion.
Acceleration was not as aggressive. I had to mash the pedal to get up to 60 mph. Then after a few seconds, the rpms would plateau, and then I could rev with just a tap of the accelerator. But then the power delivery is too much, so lagging on the gas could be dangerous in a sudden stop situation. And once I’m up to 70 mph, stopping the Expedition takes a strong press of the brakes. Standard four wheel disc brakes need bigger rotors. And Active Fuel Management or some kind of torque management system would help driver confidence at high speeds.
Ford says their electric power steering is improved with increased maneuverability and efficiency. Steering was tight for me. Cornering was impossible and wide turning made the Expedition feel bulky. But thanks to continuously controlled damping and insulation, the ride is always smooth and comfortable. Three selectable ride modes adjust suspension: Comfort, Normal, and Sport.
The 2015 Expedition also offers four modes for four-wheel drive. 2H mode, the most efficient 4×2, 4A or 4×4 Auto that delivers increased traction on all road conditions, 4H electronically locked four-wheel drive for off road, ice, snow or sand, and 4L mode for climbing steep hills or pulling a boat out of water.
The King Ranch Edition is great for the rancher to pull his carts, even trailering his horses offering up to a 9,200 lbs max trailering capability and a 6,200 lb max towing capacity. Farmers can use it to transport tools with tons of space in the rear and great traction in the outback and dirt roads.
Safety Technology Raises Confidence
The 2015 King Ranch Edition has brawn and brains with safety features and 360 degree sensors. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. Roll Stability Control prevents sliding and rollovers by reducing engine power or applying brakes. Also standard is ABS, Hill Start Assist, and Trailer Sway Control.
The Integrated Trailer Brake Controller powers a trailer’s electric or hydraulic brakes evenly. Sensors are used for the Front and Rear Park Assist, Backup Camera and Blind Spot Information System. But the 2015 Ford Expedition beeps for most of the safety features, some at the same time- which is annoying. And it turns down my radio for Park Assist warnings!
Ranch Styled Leather Trimmed Cockpit
The interior of the 2016 King Ranch Expedition features dope Ebony Mesa leather seats with King Ranch insignia on the headrests. The deep almond color has a sophisticated premium look. And wood accents on the dash and doors add to the rugged lux feeling. Brunello leather is standard with the Premium Expedition.
The interior of the Expedition King Ranch is huge with abundant legroom and storage. Front passengers have 10-way heated and ventilated seats and the second row is heated. There’s a huge center console, huge cup holders in the center and side doors, and additional storage behind the seats. The center console can fit a laptop or tools and the glove box is also huge.
Standard is dual zone automatic climate control with a power folding third row and heated power folding side mirrors. Remote Start, aluminum shift knob, and an adjustable pedal with memory is standard. But where’s my sunroof?
Drivers use an instrument panel with the speedometer and two 4.2 inch driver information centers on each side- both customizable. Between the two displays, vital information like tow settings, coolant temperature, navigation, range, oil life, average rpm, tire pressure monitoring system, and rpm is displayed.
An 8 inch touch screen is standard with available navigation. A standard 700 watt Sony audio system needs more bump to match the King Ranch’s brawny character. Sync with MyFord Touch adds phone, Bluetooth, Navigation, access to climate controls, and optional Applink and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
The 2015 Expedition also has a 12 volt outlet and two USB ports.
The King Ranch interior, stylish as it is, is missing sunroof. I can’t get over how this was left out-why? The King Ranch’s tuff hide leather seats heat up in warm weather. And a third row passenger, with only a small window would be sweltering if the 2nd row windows aren’t completely down or the a/c cranked up. Plus, the cabin could benefit from some extra light from a skylight. With the darker colored leather and trim, the 2nd and 3rd row can be dark during the day. Ambient lighting is adjustable though.
Seating comfort was another problem. While Motorsports Correspondent Daryl, who is 6”2’ was comfortable in the driver’s seat, even he couldn’t reach the center stack buttons or the touch screen. The steering wheel controls, and adjustable pedal helps, but the driver’s seat is still intimidating for a person under 5”2’.
The 2015 $59,000 Expedition is already a big-body truck, fun and functional. The King Ranch adds style and strength.
Fully loaded, the King Ranch Edition retails for $64,280, which puts it against the Infiniti QX80, the GMC Acadia, and the Land Rover Discovery. Aside from interior swag, the Expedition can’t compete with cars at that price. It’s a great truck, but the price is only justified with a tricked out interior and better dynamic performance technology.