Perfect journey machine: the 2019 Ford Expedition Max
By Christopher A. Randazzo
As the current Ford Expedition enters its second year of production, it still remains a sight to see and drive, especially when it’s in the form of the Expedition Max, which is the subject of this week’s auto-review.
The Expedition, all-new last year, is huge. Unlike most SUVs these days that use a unibody construction (like most cars), the Expedition remains an old-school body-on-frame SUV. But the new sheetmetal, which is now made from aluminum, makes the enormous Expedition lighter than the previous, smaller model.
Coming in at a few inches longer than the last model, this fourth-generation Expedition continues to be available in two sizes – its regular form or as the Expedition MAX. As the MAX, the Expedition is nearly a foot longer than the regular version, allowing it to compete with Chevrolet and it’s Suburban.
With the MAX, those extra 12 inches go a very long way. Passengers benefit most as nine of those inches are in the wheelbase, which translates into more cabin room, slightly larger rear doors and easier access to the third-row seats.
Since 2015, a V8 could no longer be had in the Expedition. Instead, the Expedition and Expedition MAX get by with Ford’s 3.5 EcoBoost V6. I still find it hard to image a vehicle this size being powered by only six cylinders, but the numbers are quite impressive: 375 horsepower and 470 lb. ft of torque. It gets better if you move up to the top of the line Platinum trim level where the same motor is tuned to 400 hp and 480 lb ft of torque.
Every Expedition uses a 10-speed automatic transmission and is available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
As a people mover, the Expedition seats eight – 2 up front, 3 in the second row, and 3 in the third-row seat. If you opt for the captain’s chairs in the middle row, the total count falls by one. As a cargo hauler, the regular Expedition can transport up to 108 cubic feet of cargo. But go with the MAX and that jumps to 131 cubic feet. On top of that, the Expedition is capable of towing up to 9,200 pounds. No doubt, the Expedition is a worker, whether to haul people, cargo or a trailer.
I found the third-row seats in the Expeditions very comfortable – probably the best in the business (both versions offer the same amount of room for third row passengers). These are vehicles that are made to have people sitting in the third-row, and you can tell that Ford went to great lengths to accommodate them. In fact, one Ford engineer told me that they made it so passengers over six feet tall could sit back there in comfort.
My family had the privilege of taking the Expedition MAX on a 1300-mile road trip across the state of Texas and into New Mexico. With just three of us, the MAX easily swallowed up all out luggage, coolers and even a bicycle – and left us with plenty of room to spare. The back-seat climate control was a life saver in the Texas heat and the three of us were always comfortable. Add to that a second-row seat that can recline, and traveling down the interstate hardly gets better.
On the road, the turbocharged V6 really makes the Expedition move – far better than any V8 ever did. Just a little tip into the gas pedal causes the big SUV to smoothly lunge forward. While we didn’t see the 21 mpg EPA rating that the Expedition is given, we did manage to get an average of 19.6 mpg.
Like all Expeditions before it, the current Expedition feels as big as it looks. Parking it takes careful planning and changing lanes needs to be done well in advance. It’s a little much to use everyday to go back and forth from the office, especially if you’re driving solo, but for a trip vehicle, the Expedition continues to be the one for that journey.
By The Numbers:
2019 Ford Expedition MAX Limited 4X4
Base Price: $68,825.00
Price as Tested: $75,680.00
Layout: front-egine / rear-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5liter twin turbo V6 EcoBoost
Transmission: 10 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 375 hp
Torque: 470 ft-lbs
EPA Fuel Economy: 16 city / 21 highway
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