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2015 Ford Expedition Windy City Review By Larry Nutson

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2015 Ford Expedition

2015 Ford Expedition
A Texas-sized SUV

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

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1997 Ford Expedition
I distinctly recall the first Ford Expedition that made its debut in late 1996 with the 1997 Ford Expedition (Compare Specs 1997-2015). We had one. Ford’s pricing was very attractive at its launch and the Expedition had a third row bench seat. We were in the car-pooling stage and had been driving an Explorer, which at that time only seated five. We wanted more seats to carry our two school-age children and their friends to various activities.

The Expedition has received an exterior update for 2015 with a freshened front-end design that features halogen projector headlamps and LED fog lamps. There’s an all-new wheel lineup topped by optional, factory-installed 22-inch polished aluminum wheels for Limited, King Ranch and Platinum. The rear hatch has been changed a bit and a chrome-tip added to the exhaust.

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The 2015 Expedition will seat from one to eight and is be offered in XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum series. The Platinum is new, following along the lines of the F-series truck. Prices start at $44,585 and top out $62,020 including $1,195 destination and delivery.

The big change for 2015 is under the hood. The 5.4-L V8 is gone. A 365 HP twin turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will be the only engine offered in the Expedition. It will be mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission featuring a manual mode that allows the driver to use a shift-mounted rocker switch to select the desired gear.

Ford says that compared with the previous 5.4-liter V8, this engine gives drivers more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds, while adding to its efficiency. EPA test fuel economy ratings for the standard AWD Expedition is 17 mpg combined, with 20 highway mpg and 15 city mpg. The rear drive Expedition has slightly better EPA test ratings at 16 city mpg and 22 highway mpg.

Along with the 365 horsepower there’s 420 lb.-ft. of torque available for lots of load-pulling (and that’s way more torque than last year’s 5.4-L V8). The Expedition is rated to tow up to 9,200 pounds. The standard 2015 Expedition, one of two versions available, has three rows of seats and up to 108.3 cubic feet of cargo space. It sits on a 119-inch wheelbase, making it a little more than 6 inches longer than Ford Explorer. A longer-wheelbase version – 131 inches – has three rows of seats and maximum cargo space of 130.8 cubic feet.

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The standard 28-gallon fuel tank provides a decent all-day cruising range and a 33.5-gallon tank is equipped on the EL long-wheelbase model.

The new Expedition features electric power-assisted steering, which gives drivers improved maneuverability at low speeds and better feel at high speeds, and helps save fuel by operating more efficiently than traditional pump-driven systems.

Expedition features an independent rear suspension that helps deliver a more confident ride and very good handling characteristics. The suspension also allows a more convenient fold-flat third-row bench seat and low load-floor height.

The 2015 Expedition is the first Ford nameplate to offer a continuously controlled damping suspension that allows drivers to select from three drive modes – comfort, normal and sport. A suite of sensors detects 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs. By monitoring Expedition body motion, the system can automatically adjust damping in milliseconds.

Continuously controlled damping technology analyzes the weight of the vehicle, steering feedback and road undulations and reacts accordingly to help control wheel and body motions so passengers experience an orderly, comfortable ride. A vehicle with poor damping feels as if it’s bouncing on the suspension springs.

Ford made the cabin quieter with a host of changes that help to minimize noise. These include improved seals on the body that reduce air leaks by 20 percent.

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New sound dampening material in the cabin pillars improves quietness. The material is also packed into the center console to further reduce unwanted road and engine noise.

More sound deadening material has been added to the headliner and door trim panels, while the cabin features new carpeting that is able to better absorb sounds. New sound insulation used in the wheel wells also helps create a quieter experience. Acoustic glass is used for the windshield across all trim levels to reduce undesirable interior noise. Limited, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels include acoustic glass for driver and passenger side windows. The new Expedition features the latest technologies, including available SYNC with MyFord Touch, passive entry with push-button start and Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.

The updated interior of Expedition incorporates a fresh center stack to accommodate new technologies, including an available 8-inch touch screen for SYNC with MyFord Touch that features driver information in the gauge cluster shown on two full-color 4.2-inch screens.

Other available new technologies on the 2015 Expedition include a Sony Audio System; passive entry with push-button start; rear view camera (I couldn’t do without this in the city); front and rear parking sensors (these helped a lot too); seven-color, ambient interior LED lighting; and Ford truck apps to help make trailer towing and off-road driving easier.

Ford thought of a lot with the Expedition. I was impressed by the inclusion of an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller. It’s integrated with the anti-lock brakes and trailer sway control and synchronizes vehicle and trailer brakes for seamless braking when towing a large braked trailer. It’s factory-installed and integrated into the instrument panel eliminating installation troubles or aftermarket worries.

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My driving experience was in a King Ranch 4X4 with a base price of $59,910. The power deployable running boards priced at $995 were a nice option that pleased my wife for easy ingress and egress. For another $2,180 the King Ranch had beautiful 22-inch polished aluminum wheels.

We found the King Ranch interior quite attractive with its Ebony Mesa Leather seating embossed with the famous Running W and Kingsville stitching. Of course there is plenty of room and all kinds of folding choices for the rear seats. Front seats are both heated and cooled and second row rear seats are heated too.

This was the second opportunity I had to drive Ford’s full size SUV with the new 3.5-Liter EcoBoost V6. The previous having been in the Expedition’s cousin, the Lincoln Navigator. There should be no concern about not having a V8. Ford has done a great engineering job with the EcoBoost V6 and there is never a wanting for more power or performance.

I think Ford’s Expedition customer won’t feel any compromise in space, performance, comfort and capability with the new 2015 Expedition. More detailed information and specs on the complete 2015 Ford Expedition model line is only a mouse click away at If you want to compare the Ford Expedition to other full size SUVs you can do that right here on

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Admittedly the Expedition is quite large for the streets of Chicago. My suburban-living days with my 1997 Expedition were a little more appropriate. However, if I were roaming around the wide-open spaces of the historic 825,000-acre King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas hauling a horse trailer I think I would feel quite at-home-on-the-range.

Down the road a bit Ford will eventually get around to designing an all-new Expedition. I won’t be surprised if, like the F-series truck, it has an aluminum body. We’ll see.

2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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