Walking up the vastness that is the 2022 Ford Expedition Platinum Max- Platinum meaning it is decked out in the most luxurious trim available, Max because the cargo area is extended an additional 305 millimeters (12 inches) over the already large standard version- we couldn’t help but be reminded of the previous behemoth Ford had in its stables from 2000 to 2005 which most will remember as the Excursion. It was based on the heavy-duty F-250 platform and it was positively HUGE. It was one of the biggest passenger vehicles you could buy at the time, and it offered tons of room, gasoline or diesel power and could nearly tow a house. Perhaps it arrived a little early to the party because it didn’t sell in the droves that Ford had hoped.
If you have dipped a toe into the used car market at Carpages.ca, you know that prices for previously loved automobiles are bonkers these days. In the Excursion’s case, a very small but very interested niche of buyers have expressed renewed interest in this living room on wheels that is comfortable off the beaten path and able to tow anything from a race car to an RV. You could say that the Excursion is having a bit of a moment right now, especially those powered by Ford’s indestructible 7.3 litre V8 diesel engine.
For all the Excursion’s charms, it was still a pickup with pickup capability. Unsurprisingly, it was not what you’d call nimble, and that luxurious appointments and refinement were not really on the menu. That’s where our Expedition tester picks up from its distant cousin; it is still based on pickup truck bones, only this time it is the F-150 that donates its chassis and running gear in lieu of a lumbering heavy-duty work truck. It packs an independent rear suspension which goes a long way in terms of handling and ride comfort. Take a look at our tester; decked out in a fetching light blue paintjob with an attractive cream-colored interior swathed in leather, it gave off a decadent summery beach house vibe (probably because it is nearly as large as the ones for rent at high prices on Airbnb) and made the statement that while this rig may have its platform steeped in blue collar roots, it is clearly gunning for those who want to be pampered while hauling family members and their boat along for the ride.
You won’t find a massive diesel lump providing motivational duties this time around, and a V8 is not available. Pop the hood and you’ll be met with the sight of Ford’s ubiquitous 3.5 litre twin turbo V6. It looks a little strange, this relatively small engine poking out from the vast space in the engine bay to the point where you wonder if this drivetrain is up to the task of motivating such a large beast. With 380 horsepower and 470-foot pounds of torque, the blown six banger is easily up to the task of shuttling this baby around. During our time in the Expedition the engine never felt stressed, and the 10-speed automatic it’s lashed to helped keep the Ecoboost mill in the sweet spot of its power delivery. Everything settles down nicely on the highway, and with most of our driving done in that context we saw surprising efficiency with the Expedition returning a stingy consumption figure of 11.9L/100km, commendable for something so large and heavy.
Despite the powerful yet efficient powertrain and each wheel being independently sprung, that does not mean that the Expedition is blessed with anything approaching nimbleness or agility. Those coming from say, a Ford Edge will want to take a lengthy test drive around familiar roads to determine if the Expedition’s massive footprint is manageable for their families. It might not be an ideal fit for everyone and their respective circumstances, but ride sharing and airport livery companies will no doubt take a shine to this SUV, especially spec’d out in Max size.
Step up to the power running boards and climb aboard and the Expedition feels like a Bentley compared to the workaday Excursion. The aforementioned cream coloured leather looks decidedly posh and because this is a Platinum trimmed example, every single bell and whistle is present and accounted for. A couple of highlights stood out to us, starting with the massive portrait-oriented screen for the infotainment system. Ford’s SYNC has gotten better and better over the years, and this is the best iteration yet. Punchy graphics, intuitive menus and snappy response times make it a pleasure to operate and after a short while you will be able to use it without so much as a glance away from the road required to do so. Ford also sees fit to equip the Expedition (in Platinum guise) with the latest version of their Blue Cruise hands-free driving technology. Usually, we give these systems a try- because science- and then turn them off because they never seem to function as advertised and require the driver to do just as much as if they were driving the vehicle without any digital assistants. That was not the case with Blue Cruise- we made the long drive home from cottage country with Blue Cruise doing its thing for the majority of the time we were on the road. It isn’t quite up to the level of sophistication as General Motor’s Super Cruise, but it is close.
Usually at this point in our thorough examination we like to discuss the driving experience. As we have alluded to earlier, the Expedition is not small and feels like it in any situation you might find yourself in while plying your local roads. We can sum it up thusly: the Expedition goes down the road very much the same as a Ford F-150 which makes sense since it is basically one of those with more room for passengers and their stuff in lieu of a pickup bed. Sure, its independent rear suspension does lend it ride quality that is better than its truck counterpart and perhaps it’s a stretch to say so that it lends the SUV a little more concise behaviour in the corners. Despite that, this is never going to goad you into taking the longer way home. The Expedition much prefers slow, deliberate inputs and will slap you on the wrist if you try and achieve a cadence with which it isn’t comfortable. That’s just as well, since pushing this leviathan past its limits would see you trying to struggle shepherding the prodigious weight of the thing into a trajectory that it simply can’t manage. Just for fun we took the Expedition to a bit of lightly traveled and very sinuous bit of tarmac that sports cars thrive on. After a few corners and the white knuckles that developed trying to hustle it at even five tenths we gave up and headed back to the much straighter and more benign path of the highway. Would-be Expedition owners will be keen to keep their pace at a sedate threshold, lest they find themselves trying to gather up an unhappy mass tipping the scales at a not-exactly-svelte 2,645 kilograms.
Making short work of a sinuous backroad is not what the Expedition is all about. Instead, used in the manner it was designed for- carrying a full load of passengers, their stuff while towing a toy or two is a much more satisfying pursuit. Some might unfairly label the Expedition as ridiculously large and excessive. But those who have a lot of passengers, gear and towing needs will find the Expedition’s charms to be exactly what they need. Like it or not, there is a market for this type of vehicle. Given the massive footprint that comes with something as large as this, the question of ‘will it fit?’ will likely be never asked again. This SUV is massively big, and proud of it.
2022 Ford Expedition Platinum Max - Specifications
- Price as tested: $95,564
- Body Type: 4-door, 7 passenger SUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
- Transmission: 10-speed automatic
- Engine: 3.5 litre twin turbocharged V6, 24 valves, DOHC
- Horsepower: 380 @ 5,000 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 470 @ 2,250 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,645 kg (5,832 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 11.9L/100km (19 mpg)