First Drive – 2020 Ford Expedition Platinum Max is in a Lane of its Own

by Tony West, Daryl Payne and Sommer Thornton

Though we’ve only spotted a few in Chicago, the Ford Expedition Max should not be slept on. Perhaps they’re more popular in rural and industrial areas, or but perhaps people don’t realize its 2020-2021 design is new and stuntastic with 5 variants that easily topple the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. For the 2020 model Ford packed its Expedition full of luxury materials and the outside with first-class perks.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

The 2020 Ford Expedition is offered in a base XL, XLT, Limited Platinum and special edition Kang Ranch that has rugged capability. Now the extended cab Max 8-passenger configuration is available on each grade.

At a base $79k, the Ford Expedition, with its 8-passenger capability chromed-out character outside and superior functionality and luxury inside is a in a class by itself. Only higher-end SUVs like the Escalade can begin to compete. We reviewed the top-of-the-line 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum wide, stout and slick adorned with chromed inside and out. Not only did the 2020 Expedition turn heads it made Motorsports Correspondent Daryl want to trade in his H2.

Check out the First Drive Highlight Video!

What makes the Expedition Platinum so great? It’s a mobile compound with abundant room inside for all eight passengers and it’s fully capable of exploring off the beaten path. With a mud/ruts, sand/grass, and gravel and snow mode in its Driver Mode selector the Expedition is ideal for the Midwest, west coast, rural and urban areas. The exterior along with being chromed-out and sophisticatedly rugged, has every instance of style and functionality. On top of that, the whip rides so light and precise it’s on a pickup truck level.

Most Tricked Out Extended Cab SUV

From far away, the 2020 Expedition Max is the stylish big-body that’s instantly recognizable as one-of-a-kind. The big shiny multi-bar mesh grille looks like a glistening waterfall. Chrome on the front lower fascia, chrome fog light bezel and chrome surrounding LED front lighting helps the Expedition Platinum sparkle down the street. Chrome tipped exhaust, chrome side mirror and a chrome step further blings out the Expedition’s exterior.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum headlights

Ford said it’s not enough chrome, so they tricked out the rear with a chrome strip across the tailgate and stunted with 22 inch polished aluminum wheels on the top-of-the-line Expedition Max Platinum.

The 2020 Expedition Platinum Max looks brawny like it’s overcompensating, but it’s really a gentle giant. A power deploying chrome step extends with perfect timing.

The panoramic vista roof allows for serene cruising in open air for 2nd and 3rd row passengers. And a familiar 3.5 liter Ecoboost engine with 10-speed automatic transmission working harmoniously with abundant safety technology helps the Expedition be light on its feet. Whipping the 2020 Expedition isn’t hefty or taxing at all, as it holds and maneuvers its weight well gliding with precision.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

A power tailgate and remote start are welcome in this big-body SUV.

Suite-like Interior Fit for a Boss

The cabin of the base model 2020 Ford Expedition is stunted out. But the Platinum Max Extended Cab with its abundant legroom in all three rows, huge storage spaces, and chrome and leather adornment is a boss mobile. The $80k Ford Expedition boasts heated and ventilated leather front seats and 2nd row heated power folding tip-and-slide seats along with standard multicontour active motion seats with a dope massager for the front seats. The power folding third row has controls in the rear tailgate. The 2nd row seats are too heavy not to be able to power-fold back up so passengers can climb back in.

Ford Expedition
The all-new Ford Expedition offers more than 40 new features and driver-assist technologies, including a Wi-Fi hotspot that supports as many as 10 devices at once, SYNC® 3, and power for passengers in every row, with four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers and a 110-volt power outlet.

Drivers of any high can sit comfy in the Ford Expedition with a power adjustable pedal with memory. Tri-zone climate control is great, but the temperature in the SUV changing every time it stops at a light is no bueno. Also, though rolling in the Expedition is quiet and tranquil the open panoramic vista roof creates loud turbulence.

Daryl thinks the interior is more like a pickup truck with its recessed back leather-wrapped dash and vertical layout. Everything in the cabin is for optimal comfort first for the driver and front passenger then for everyone else. Daryl also loved layout with that allows for optimal headroom, hip room and legroom thanks to a wider door design and deep arching dash.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

Storage in the 2020 Expedition Max makes the SUV more versatile with a huge center console that can fit a tablet or a big purse, big center stack storage trays with doors, and two storage trays at the leg area for each front passenger.

Drivers sit up high in the new Ford Expedition with 42 inches of headroom and 43 inches of legroom. Second row passengers have an amazing 42 inches of legroom and the 3rd row has up to 40 inches of legroom. That along with a rear with max 36 cu-ft of cargo space behind the 3rd row makes the 2020 Expedition seem like one of the most spacious extended cab on the road.

Motorsports Correspondent Daryl boasted about how comfy the driver’s seat was with a robust lumbar support and massage function that keeps the kinks out on long rides. But he wishes there was a front seat extender.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

Visibility is also poor in the rear window, with the seats and 3rd row passengers obstructing most of the rear view. Drivers will only be able to see the license plate and lights of cars one-car-length behind. Cars that ride too close behind are hard to see in the rear mirror.

The 2020 Expedition Max Platinum has a ton of cool upgrades like the adjustable ambient lighting that can change to nearly a dozen colors and the huge instrument cluster with digital stats and gauges that stretch over a foot long across the dash.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum digital instrument cluster

The driver’s digital instrument cluster features are controlled by the cool heated leather wrapped steering wheel that has cruise, phone and audio controls. Along with big gauges the digital LCD display in the driver’s dash shows vital info like navigation, drive mode, outside temperature and driving range.

Ford Pass Connect offers 4G Wi-Fi that can connect up to 10 devices. And the 8-inch LCD in the center stack features pristine navigation and controls for FordPass, SYNC Infotainment, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Applink and the 12 Speakers B&O Sound System.

Brawny Athletic Performance Smooth like a Sedan

The 2020 Expedition Platinum Extended Cab, to be such a big brawny 3-row SUV with a 131 inch wheelbase moves smooth, swift and dampened.

The 2020 Expedition offers the 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6 engine with 375 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque at 2,250 rpm and a 10 speed automatic transmission.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

The standard 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift allows for great versatility whether cruising through the neighborhood with high efficiency or hitting the throttle for max power on the highway. Power four-wheel disc brakes with Brake Assist stop the Expedition in its tracks with minimal effort. Maneuverability with the awesome transmission is on a pickup truck level, making Daryl feel powerful and in-control doing anything behind the wheel. The Expedition hauls-ass on the highway with swift poignant aggression without having to punch the gas. If the accelerator is hit hard, the Expedition Max doesn’t jerk back, but lets out a tough low growl as it eats the pavement.

The precision of the Expedition’s steering and braking is unparalleled for a SUV of its size. With little effort, at any speed, drivers can point the nose of the SUV and it will go on-point with no oversteer or understeer. The turn ratio is amazing as drivers can maneuver the soft supple steering wheel with ease. Wide turns are expected.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum with Correspondent Daryl

The Expedition has great acceleration, and in every drive mode floats down the road with heavy precision. Daryl said he would at times forget he was driving a SUV.

The Drive Mode Selector makes the Expedition a truly versatile SUV that lets nothing hold it back. Drivers can select between Eco Mode, Sport Mode, Normal Mode, Tow/Haul, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Grass Gravel and Snow Modes.

Ford Expedition Platinum
The all-new Ford Expedition is equipped with an e-shifter, as well as a Terrain Management System that lets drivers select a drive mode that optimizes handling for different conditions, including loose terrain from grass, gravel and snow, or uneven surfaces such as mud and ruts.

The Expedition is efficient in every drive mode with an impressive 18 mpg combined fuel economy (16 mpg city / 21 mpg highway.)

Safety Features in the Ford Expedition are beefed up with Ford CoPilot360, standard on all models that includes the Blind Spot Info System with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System, Lake Keeping Assist, Driver Alert, and Pre Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support.

Available Ford CoPilot360 Assist adds an upgraded Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and super tech-advanced navigation that allows for searching faster routes vs. eco-friendly routes, automatically finds parking, avoids freeways, avoids tollways and can show incident notifications.

A standard 360-degree camera makes parking very easy with parking lines guiding as drivers reverse and the aerial shot shows proximity to curbs and other cars.

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum
2020 Ford Expedition Platinum

To truly individualize the big-body SUV, Ford offers an array of packages and add-on features, like the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package that features Pro-Trailer Backup Assist, Integrated Trailer Brake Controller and a 3.73 Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (eLSD).The FX4 Off-Road Package with 360-Degree Camera, a new Texas Edition Package, Cargo Package, Convenience Package and Special Edition Package are all available with a ton of add-ons that make the Expedition fully-capable for work, fleet use, and for far-off adventures.

The $80k Expedition isn’t just a mini-compound on wheels, it’s an investment that gives back way more.

Check out more pics from our First Drive with the 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum 4X4 on our Facebook Page!