Ford's Expedition FX4 full-size SUV caters to those who prefer venturing off the beaten path
Ford’s Expedition FX4 is a full-size SUV for those who want to venture off the beaten path to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s aimed at those needing a spacious interior and cargo space with off-road prowess and trailer towing ability.
Ford developed this off-road version as their research shows that 20 percent of Expedition owners take their vehicles for off-road adventures, with 45 percent using theirs for hunting, fishing, or camping.
As for the latter pursuit, FX4 is rated for a best-in-class 9,200 pounds with a Heavy Duty Towing Package (6,500 without) and that includes a HD radiator.
Expedition is also the carmaker’s answer to Chevy’s Tahoe/GMC’s Yukon SUVs.
Expedition is an 8-seater, but Ford also offers their Expedition Max version that is longer with more cargo and passenger space and is comparable to Chevy’s Suburban and GMC’s Yukon XL SUVs, size wise.
Expedition is offered in 2WD and 4WD and in XLT, Limited, King Ranch and top-tier Platinum. We tested the Limited with the new FX4 off-road package that includes off-road tuned shocks, new electronic limited-slip rear differential, seven underbody skid plates to protect Expedition’s vitals, side steps, 9.8 inches of undercarriage clearance and FX4 badging. It boasts an approach angle of 23.3 degrees and a departure of 21.9 to allow traversing some precarious off-road terrain.
The FX4 test vehicle came equipped with Ford’s Terrain Management System that consisted of Normal, Sport, Eco, Tow-Haul, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Grass/Gravel/Snow modes. Its 4WD system offers 2H, 4H, 4L and Rear Differential Lock gearing.
Based on Ford’s F-150 pickup, Expedition has a look all its own that closely resembles Ford’s Explorer, it’s smaller brother.
With standard chromed (5-inch wide) running boards, step-in into Expedition’s cabin is an easy 15 inches versus 25 inches directly onto the cabin floor. Heated/cooled front seats are sumptuously padded with good lateral support.
An 8-inch touchscreen offers the usual gamut of audio, rearview camera with 360-degree frontal camera plus close-up views, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, Travel-Link that gives updates on weather, fuel prices, parking locations, traffic even ski conditions.
As for FX4’s HVAC controls, they’re easy to view and use and below them is a thoughtful wireless phone charger.
Instead of a console or column mounted automatic transmission shifter, Expedition uses a rotary dial, a feature showing up on more new vehicles. It does take some getting used to.
While captain’s chairs are optionally available for the second row, limiting seating to seven, the test truck came with a full 40/20/40 heated bench seat for eight passengers. The seats were comfy with an abundance of padding that can easily seat three large adults with ample leg and head room. The seats tip and slide forward for easy ingress/egress into the third row seats that are mainly for youngsters as legroom is limited.
FX4’s cargo area is spacious and sports a hands-free liftgate. With the third row seats upright, there’s 19.3 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 19 inches deep, 51 wide and 32 high. Flip them by pressing two buttons and space expands to 57 .5 cubic feet for 48 inches of loading depth. Flip the second row and it opens up 104.6 cubic feet for 82 inches of depth or almost a full seven feet.
Beneath the aft cargo floor is a 5-inch deep twin storage bin wherein one side houses the jack and jack tools, while the other side is available for small item storage.
Expedition FX4 gets its grunt from a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that generates 375-hp and 470 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 22-highway mpg. Not miserly, but consider FX4s hefty 5,623-pound curb weight and size. To its credit, it has a GCWR of 12,500 pounds or 15,200 with the HD towing package.
Coupled to the standard 10-speed automatic transmission, and when flooring the accelerator to merge onto a busy interstate, Expedition exudes good muscle with a linear explosion of power.
FX4 also exhibits a smooth and quiet ride on 8-inch wide, 18-inch Continental OWL tires that’s paired with an independent suspension with the fronts being handled by coil over gas shocks and stabilizer bar while the rear uses almost the same set-up. The big SUV handles nicely with some body lean in sharp turns and parking is aided via electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering.
FX4 comes standard with a host of safety features that includes trailer sway control, power pedals and much more.
Option wise, Ford’s Co-Pilot ($2,555) adds forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep alert/assist, pedestrian detection, dynamic brake support, adaptive cruise w/stop&go, and automatic high beams, voice activated touchscreen, panoramic sunroof and more. The FX4 Off-Road package ($2,035) includes the 360-degree camera, 18-inch magnetic painted alloy wheels, skid plates, chromed running boards, 3.73 rear axle ratio and floor liners. With delivery ($1,395), FX4s base price of $66,470 escalated to $72,455.
With that price comes outstanding safety ratings of a full five stars for the governments overall rating; five for driver/passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
To this incentive can be added Ford’s 3 year/36K bumper-bumper, 5/60K powertrain and 5/60K roadside assistance warranty coverage.
Again, Expedition may not be for everyone, but for those who need FX4s off-road prowess, abilities and space, Expedition warrants consideration.
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