2014 Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition is an old-school full-size SUV with rugged body-on-frame construction. Although this setup means the Expedition is heavier, thirstier and less wieldy on the pavement than most crossovers, it also possess towing and off-road abilities that those wagons-on-stilts can only dream of.

The Expedition is the second-largest SUV in Ford's model range, with the massive Expedition EL being the biggest.

Recent Changes
First introduced back in 2007, the current Expedition 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.

It may be an anachronism, a throwback to a bygone era when gas was cheap and consumers were in deeply in love with truck-based SUVs, but the aging Ford Expedition still has plenty to offer buyers in need of an eight-passenger 'ute that can handle serious trailering duties.

Thanks to its sturdy foundation and a 5.4-liter V8 that produces 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 375 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm, the Expedition can tow an eye-popping 9,200 lbs. when properly equipped.

Predictably, the downside comes in the form of considerable pain at the pump: the EPA rates the rear-wheel-drive Expedition at 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, and four-wheel-drive model returns just 13/18 mpg.

Shifting duties are handled by a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite its archaic body-on-frame construction, the Expedition boasts a modern independent rear suspension in place of the live axle utilized by many rivals. In exchange for slightly decreased off-roading capabilities, this feature allows for a flatter rear seat/cargo area and more interior space. It also enhances on-road handling, which is safe and predictable but not exactly agile.

Inside, the Expedition boasts a sizable and comfortable cabin, although some of the materials feel a bit low-rent. Cargo space is 18.6 cubic feet, increasing to 55.0 cubic feet with the 3rd row seats folded and 108.3 cubes with only the first row seats 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, though manually.

Trim-level Breakdown
The Expedition 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 appliques, 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.

Occupant Safety
All Expedition 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.

Key Competitors
The Expedition squares off against other full-size, traditional SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon twins, the Nissan Armada and the Toyota Sequoia.