5.17.2015

Newer Than It Looks: The 2015 Ford Expedition

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum
The 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum.
Cars, trucks and SUVs---maybe especially trucks and SUVs---are in large part a fashion purchase.  So when a large SUV shows up with an 8-year-old body, a new grille and some trim changes, there's a potential problem.  The Ford Expedition's job is to keep Chevrolet's Tahoe from walking away with every single non-luxury large American SUV sale.




2015 Ford Expedition side view
The 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum.
In calendar year 2014, with a substantial re-design, Chevy sold more than twice as many Tahoes as Ford did Expeditions. At first glance, the Expedition seems like a weak response...same body, new grille and tail.  But Ford, not unlike Chevrolet with the 2016 Camaro, chose to put its development dollars under the skin.

The biggest change might be considered a step backward by some 'Murrican SUV owners---the V8 under the hood has been replaced by a six-cylinder engine.  But the six in question is Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost.  It has 55 more horsepower than the V8 it replaces, and improves fuel economy to an EPA-estimated 16 city/22 highway. Zero to 60 takes 6.4 seconds, which was sports car territory not long ago.

Expedition retains its independent rear suspension, which pays off in many ways---smoother ride, better handling in corners and more efficient interior packaging. Third-row passengers have more room and are subjected to fewer unpleasant motions.

2015 Ford Expedition Platinum interior.
Inside, there's a new instrument panel that will be familiar to F-150 drivers, with a new and improved Sync/MyFordTouch infotainment system.

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-line, even above King Ranch, Platinum two-wheel drive.  If it's been a while since you looked at the sticker of a large, well-equipped American SUV, brace yourself.  The base price is a sobering $59,370. Four-wheel drive costs more.

The good news is that very nearly everything is standard equipment, but our test vehicle did have a few options.  The Ruby Red Metallic paint was an additional $395.  The 22-inch wheels were $2,610 extra. With $1,195 destination charges, the as-tested price would have been $63,570, were it not for $3,500 in incentives that took it back down to $60,070.It's a much-improved vehicle and, even at that price, competitive with a top-of-the-line Tahoe. Those actually start at $62,000 plus.

Ironically, the real threat to the Expedition comes from within Ford. Lincoln's long-running inferiority complex has kept it from pricing the Navigator, which is simply an upscale version of the Expedition, against the Cadillac Escalade, an upscale version of the Tahoe, which starts at $72,000 plus.

That means, if you can resist the extra-cost paint and 22-inch wheels, you can actually buy a 2015 Navigator with the same virtues---EcoBoost, independent rear suspension, re-done interior, grille and tail---for less than the Expedition Platinum we tested---$59,315 after incentives.

Given the choice, which would you pick?

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