2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4X4 Review by Bruce Hotchkiss +VIDEO
Is "Big" Relative Or Is It Fixed? Just Right For You Maybe Too Big For Me. And Where Does The 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch Fit?
By Bruce Hotchkiss*
Special Correspondent West Coast Bureau THE AUTO CHANNEL
How big is too big? From my point of view this is it; the Ford King Ranch Expedition Max 4X4. It is humongous. To put it in perspective look back at the Excursion, that SUV was nicknamed the 'Excursion Valdez.' The Expedition Max is almost that big (it is only 4.8” shorter). On the plus side it is almost 1,500 pounds lighter (5,794 lbs. versus 7,230 lbs.). You may feel differently than I do.
One of the things I had to wrap my head around is that the King Ranch version is not really very “ranchy”. When I think of a ranch truck I see a rough and tumble, throw whatever you have in the back, and climb in with your mud and cow pie encrusted boots. Back in 1956 my dad bought a ’56 Ford Ranch Wagon and let me tell you it wasn’t fancy; the inside was made to hose out. The King Ranch is more ranch chic than ranch truck.
But enough of the griping.
If you want a luxury SUV look no further than the Max King Ranch. There may be other luxury SUVs but in my book there are none with the cachet of the King Ranch. Ford knew what they were doing when they hooked up with King Ranch, the largest ranch in Texas. A new brand was born.
Back to the size... By the numbers the Expedition Max (Max is the long wheel-base version) is 221.9” long on a wheelbase of 131.6”, 79.9” wide (not counting the mirrors), and 76.2” tall for the 4X4. On the inside you could fit an 8’ long anything with the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold down (throw an air mattress and some sleeping bags back there and you have an RV). There is up to 121.5 cubic feet of storage behind the front seats. The Max can seat up to eight people and whatever luggage you can’t fit inside can travel up top.
With a Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package you can tow up to 9,000 lbs. That’s more than enough to tow your cutting horses around the ranch.
The only engine available is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Don’t sneer. From the inside you will never know how many cylinders are under the hood. According to those who test such things the 0-60 mph times are around 6.5 seconds. That’s darn quick for such a heavyweight. How can this be with only a V6? Horsepower and torque baby. How’s 375 hp and 470 lb-ft? That torque figure is at 2,250 rpm.
Did I hear you ask why did Ford opt for a V6 when they could have had a V8? Fuel economy. The Expedition Max 4X4 is rated at 21-mpg highway and 16-mpg city. Yeah I know those are not astounding numbers but think about the size of this vehicle, think about the weight. Unfortunately when you compare this to the competition there isn’t that much difference. But I can’t fault Ford for the EcoBoost, any EcoBoost. I’ve driven a few and loved them all.
I am not your typical big SUV guy. The size does nothing for me. Well except on our big rig clogged highways. It’s nice to have something that feels substantial. On the down side is it feels like it fills the lane with little room to spare (in truth there is about 3’ to spare on each side).
Climbing in or out of the Expedition would be a chore if it wasn’t for the power fold-down running boards. I often wonder how all the women who I see driving either a big SUV or pickup, sometimes jacked-up, like them. I know my wife hates them. Once up there in the driver’s seat you have a pretty commanding view of all around you. It’s good to be king. Or at least a temporary resident of the throne. The throne room (no not that one) is a pleasant place to spend some time. The King Ranch is a full-on luxury vehicle. It’s got all the touches you should ever want.
Now comes the part where I have to swallow hard – the price. I know I’m out of touch with the cost of so much but this is a lot of money. The base price for a 2020 Expedition Max King Ranch 4X4 is $79,805 according to Ford’s public website. Add in $1,570 for the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package and $1,395 destination charge and you’re up to almost $83-grand. By the time you tack on tax and license you’re creeping up on $90-grand.
But if you’ve got the money there are worst things to spend it on.
*Author's Note: I have been writing car reviews since 1984. I am a Certified Automotive Technician although I no longer ply that trade. I worked for twenty years for the California Department of Consumer Affairs & Bureau of Automotive Repair. I sat on three legislative advisory committees. I wrote an automotive column for the Tracy Press, and before that the Pacifica Tribune. I was a member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada and am a member of the Western Automotive Journalists.