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2020 Ford Expedition Chicagoland Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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MAXed Out

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

We had a first-gen Ford Expedition in our family fleet back in 1997, the year if first hit the market. We got it for its 3-row seating which we wanted for school car-pooling and also for the rear cargo space for our two Labrador retriever dogs. This was before Ford redid the Explorer with three row seating.

Now, 23 or so years later the Expedition has been revamped a few times and continues to be a leader in the “space race.”  If you really need to carry a lot of full-size people and/or lots of stuff or tow a good size trailer, the Expedition is the vehicle to have.

Large, full-size SUVs are quite popular out in the wide-open spaces around the U.S. In a crowded large city, however, they can be a bit of a challenge.

I had a firsthand experience driving a new 2020 Expedition. Ford offers it in two sizes, big and bigger. The Expedition Max is the bigger of the two, riding on a 131.6 inch wheelbase compared to the 122.5 inches of the standard version. This makes for 221.9 inches of overall length, which can be sometimes challenging to maneuver in a crowded city like Chicago where I make my home.  

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Cargo room on the Max is 36 cu.ft. behind the third row with the seats up. That’s around 15 cu.ft. more than the littler one. This fact made me give pause and think. Both Expeditions seat the same number of people, seven or eight depending on model. And both can tow 9,000 lbs. when outfitted with the optional heavy-duty trailer tow package.

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If I were buying why not go for the max the Expedition can provide and get the Max. If you really load up all the seats with warm bodies that extra cargo space might just come in handy. 

Fold the rear seat and you get 79.6 cu.ft. behind the second row and 121.5 cu.ft. with both seat rows folded. By the way, to make life easier both rear seat rows have a power fold feature operable from the rear hatch area. Also, the second row can slide forward or rearward to vary legroom.

Climbing up and into the Expedition was made easier with power-deployable running boards. My wife especially liked them. Once inside you have a command view of the road. Adjusting the driving position is all done by power—the driver’s seat, the steering column, the pedal position and the outside mirrors. How easy!

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A notable feature offered on the Expedition is Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist that uses a rotary knob mounted on the instrument panel together with the rearview camera to let you easily steer a trailer. It takes all of the mind-twisting out of backing a trailer even for the novice. I’ve used the system on an F-150 and it works like a charm.

Expeditions come in XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum trims. Both 4X2 or 4X4 drivetrains are offered in each. Power is from a 3.5-L turbo V6 rated at 375-horspower except on the Platinum trim which is boosted to 400-horsepower. A 10-speed automatic gets the power to the drive wheels.

There’s also an XL trim offered for fleet sale commercial use by municipalities or livery companies.

The King Ranch model is new for 2020. New tech features for 2020 such as FordPass Connect, which includes a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 mobile devices, SYNC 3, which features compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology are standard across the lineup. There’s also new choices of exterior paint colors.  

Around my Chicago home I found that driving the somewhat large Expedition Max takes some planning. Running errands and finding a suitable size curb-side parallel parking space can be a challenge. I quickly came to learn that parking garages have height limits that usually are set around 77 inches, which leaves a bit of a cushion. Then I started to pay attention to some of the garage door openings on various condo and apartment buildings. A big fullsize SUV is really more easily housed outside of a congested and dense city.

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Ford reengineered the Expedition for 2018. Its truck-like construction features an aluminum-alloy body riding on a frame of high-strength steel. Weight was reduced by 300 pounds but it’s very rugged for off-road use or trailer towing. 

Prices start at $52,810 for the XLT 4X2. The Platinum trim Max I drove had a base price of $80,110 plus the $1,395 destination charge. It topped out at $84,065 with optional Burgundy Metallic clear coat, second row captain’s chairs and the heavy-duty trailer tow package.

Additional specific information on all of the 2020 Ford Expedition's can be found HERE

The B&O 12 speaker sound system nicely filed the cavernous Expedition with great tunes. The 360-degree camera took the edge off a lot of maneuvers allowing for close-up views of the surroundings. All seating positions are very comfortable. There’s a ton of legroom in the second row and the third row can actually fit adult size people, although not overly tall folk. The engine delivers plenty of go power and the ten-speed tranny does a fine job of finding the right gear at the right time. Fuel consumption is nothing to write home about with EPA ratings at 16 city mpg and 21 highway mpg. Around town, stop and go driving drinks up the fuel.

So go for it! If you are shopping for a big SUV, take it to the max.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy 

2020 Ford Expedition Platinum MAX Specifications


Fuel Economy and Engine Highlights
Engine Type
3.5L EcoBoost® V6
EPA-Estimated Ratings (Actual mileage will vary) Expedition 4x2: 17 city / 23 hwy / 19 combined mpg
Expedition 4x4: 17 city / 22 hwy / 19 combined mpg
Expedition MAX 4x2: 17 city / 23 hwy / 19 combined mpg
Expedition MAX 4x4: 16 city / 21 hwy / 18 combined mpg
Vehicle Highlights
Maximum Seating Capacity 8
Rear Wheel Drive (standard)
Control Trac® Four Wheel Drive (optional)
10-speed automatic with SelectShift®
4x2/4x4 Expedition - 119 (in.)
4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX - 131 (in.)
Maximum Towing Capacity
Expedition 4x2 - 9,300 lbs.
Expedition 4x4 - 9,200 lbs.
Expedition MAX 4x2 - 9,000 lbs.
Expedition MAX 4x4 - 9,000 lbs.
Wheels Available
18" Machined-Face Aluminum with Magnetic-Painted Pockets
18" Magnetic Metallic-Painted Cast-Aluminum
20" Luster Nickel-Painted Aluminum
20" Premium Dark Tarnish-Painted
22" Polished Aluminum
22" Premium Black-Painted Aluminum
Bumper to Bumper: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Powertrain: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Safety Restraint System: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Corrosion (Perforation Only): 5 years / Unlimited miles
Roadside Assistance Program: 5 years / 60,000 miles


Exterior Dimensions
4x2/4x4 Expedition (in.) 4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX (in.)
122.5 131.6
210.0 221.9
Width - Excluding Mirrors
79.9 79.9
Width - Including Mirrors
93.4 93.4
Width - with Mirrors Folded 83.6 83.6
Front Track
67.6 67.6
Rear Track
67.2 67.2
Front Overhang
38.2 38.2
Rear Overhang
49.3 52.0
Approach Angle (degrees)
Departure Angle (degrees)
Ramp Breakover Angle (degrees)
Minimum Running Ground Clearance
9.8 9.8/9.7


Interior Dimensions
4x2/4x4 Expedition (in.)
4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX (in.)
Head Room - 1st Row
42.0 42.0
Head Room - 2nd Row
40.0 40.0
Head Room - 3rd Row
37.3 37.4
Max Leg Room - 1st Row
43.9 43.9
Leg Room - 2nd Row
41.5 41.5
Leg Room - Second Row (Seat Full Rearward) [in]
42.6 42.6
Leg Room - 3rd Row
36.1 36.1
Leg Room - Third Row (Second Row Seat Full Forward) [in]
40.9 40.9
Hip Room - 1st Row
62.2 62.2
Hip Room - 2nd Row
62.6 62.6
Hip Room - 3rd Row
51.4 51.4
Shoulder Room - 1st Row
64.9 64.9
Shoulder Room - 2nd Row
64.8 64.8
Shoulder Room - 3rd Row
64.2 64.3


Capacities: Interior Volume
4x2/4x4 Expedition (cu. ft.) 4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX (cu. ft.)
Passenger Volume
171.9 172.0
Cargo Volume Behind First Row
104.6 121.5
Cargo Volume Behind Second Row
57.5 73.3
Cargo Volume Behind Second Row - Second Row Seat Full Forward [cu.ft.]
63.6 79.6
Cargo Volume Behind Third Row
19.3 34.3
Cargo Volume Behind Third Row - Third Row Seat Full Upright [cu.ft.]
20.9 36.0
Capacities: Fuel
4x2/4x4 Expedition (gallons)
4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX (gallons)
Fuel Capacity
25 30
Capacities: Weight
4x2/4x4 Expedition (lbs.)
4x2/4x4 Expedition MAX (lbs.)
Base Curb Weight
5368/5623 5534/5794
Maximum Seating Capacity
8 8


Engine Specifications
Drive type
Rear-wheel drive (std.); Control Trac® Four-wheel drive (opt.)
Engine type
3.5L EcoBoost® V6
10-speed automatic with SelectShift®
Final drive ratio
3.15 (std. 4x2 Expedition)
3.31 (std. 4x4 Expedition & 4x2 Expedition MAX)
3.73 (std. 4x4 Expedition MAX, opt. 4x2 Expedition MAX & 4X2/4X4 Expedition)
Recommended fuel
Regular Unleaded
EPA-Estimated Rating
(Actual mileage will vary)
Expedition 4x2: 17 city / 24 hwy / 20 combined mpg
Expedition 4x4: 17 city / 23 hwy / 19 combined mpg
Expedition MAX 4x2: 17 city / 22 hwy / 19 combined mpg
Expedition MAX 4x4: 16 city / 21 hwy / 18 combined mpg
Horsepower (SAE net@rpm)
375 @ 5,000
Torque (lb.-ft@rpm)
470 @ 2,250
Compression ratio
Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing
Fuel delivery
Gasoline Direct Injection
Single, stainless steel
Engine block type
Die-cast aluminum
Cylinder head material
Aluminum alloy


Chassis Specifications
Front suspension
Independent Short- and Long-Arm (SLA) coil-over-shocks with stabilizer bar
Front shocks
Gas charged (Opt. Continuously Controlled Damping)
Rear suspension
Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar (Opt. rear mechanical load-leveling)
Rear shocks
Gas charged (Opt. Continuously Controlled Damping)
Power 4-wheel Disc Anti-Lock Brake System with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering


Maximum Towing Capabilities - Conventional Towing
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight (Lbs.)
Axle Ratio
GCWR (4x2/4x4) (Lbs.)
4x2 4x4
12,300 / 12,500
6,600 6,500
Expedition MAX
3.73 12,500 / 12,800 6,600 6,600
Maximum Towing Capabilities - Optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight (Lbs.)
Axle Ratio
GCWR (4x2/4x4) (Lbs.)
4x2 4x4
14,900 / 15,200
9,300 9,200
Expedition MAX 3.73
15,100 / 15,300
9,000 9,000