The Expedition EL (Extended Length) is the largest SUV in Ford's lineup. It boasts traditional body-on-frame construction that makes it less economical than newer (and less massive) "crossover" vehicles - but also much more capable in the towing and off-roading departments.
First introduced back in 2007, the Expedition EL has seen only minor revisions in recent years.
For the latest model year, the sole change is a new mechanical load-leveling suspension that's quieter than the air system it replaces.
The Expedition EL is largely mechanically identical to the smaller Expedition, with the main difference being a 14.8-inch stretch coupled with 12 added inches in the wheelbase. The rear passenger doors are consequently elongated, allowing for easier ingress and egress.
The big SUV boasts a sizable and comfortable cabin for up to eight occupants, although some of the materials feel a bit low-rent. Cargo room is a staggering 42.6 cubic feet, increasing to a gargantuan 85.5 cubic feet with the 3rd row seats folded and 130.8 cubes with only the first row upright.
The interior's party trick is an available first-in-class PowerFold third-row seat and class-exclusive second-row CenterSlide that combine to allow interior space to be configured as needed quickly and painlessly. Without the option, the seat also folds into the floor, albeit manually.
All Expeditions sport an independent rear suspension, a refinement-increasing feature not common in the full-size SUV market. Power comes from a 5.4-liter V8 that delivers 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm on regular 87-Octane gas. The motor is coupled to a six-speed automatic, with the pair returning 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel-drive and 13/18 mpg with four-wheel-drive. Towing capacity is an impressive 9,000lbs, when properly equipped and in the rwd configuration, down 200lbs from the standard-length Expedition.
The Expedition EL is available in XL, XLT, Limited and King Ranch trim levels.
The entry-level XL includes front and rear A/C, power windows and locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with an audio input jack and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Also included is trailer sway control, which uses selective braking and engine management to tame unwanted trailer movement.
Stepping up to the XLT brings Ford's SYNC connectivity system, a reverse sensing system, body-color lower exterior moldings and 18-inch aluminum wheels. The next rung up the latter is the Limited, which adds leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, woodgrain appliquÃ©s, a power liftgate and a PowerFold third-row seat,
The King Ranch adds Chaparral leather upholstery, pale adobe metallic bumpers and front lower fascia, a premium sound system, power adjustable pedals, MyKey, body-color heated power exterior mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors and front assist parking sensors.
Limited and King Ranch models offer optional 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and a DVD entertainment system with two screens.
All Expeditions are built at Ford's Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, MI.
All Expedition EL models come with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
The Expedition EL's most direct competition comes from the similarly massive Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL twins, although it can also be cross-shopped against smaller 'utes like the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.