The 3.5 Ecoboost is a V6 housed in what traditionally holds a massive V8. But is it enough?
It is imposing. It is as big as a jogging track. And as heavy as an Airbus. The 2019 Ford Expedition doesn’t disappoint in the size department. Positioned as the flagship in the SUV division at Ford, this traditional gas guzzler configuration promises a few things.
The first is Space. Capital ‘S”‘. Standing at a total length of 5.33m and a width of 2.37m you can be sure of two things. One, finding a suitable parking spot in the mall is going to be slightly hard. And it’s going to require a bit of sliding out of the car not to scratch the neighbour. Two, you can move in and live in it.
Interior room is vast. The car sits seven in comfort and, squeezed, you can transport your entire kid’s football team. Plus, you have so many plugs, USB ports and 12V ports they will be hard pressed to chew your ear over their phones dying out. Transport needs? No problem. All seats are electrically actuated to make the rear rows into a king sized flat bed. Remember? You can actually move in!
Also, it is a breath of fresh air that, in the era of environmentally friendly cars, where the weight and space savings have moved into making out without the spare wheel, the Expedition has a full sized one for when you need it. Not only made for the rough, but also the long-haul. Kudos.
Elephant in the room, the engine
And following on the environmentally friendly, we reach to the second surprise in store. The 3.5-litre V6 Ecoboost is actually very economical to run. Let’s not forget we are moving well over 2.5 tons of metal and, on cruise control and with delicate throttle inputs, we managed a flat 10 litres per 100Km. In perspective, that’s very close to the Audi Q8 we drove recently. But you can actually fit that car inside this one.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. This should be a 5-litre V8, pure natural aspiration, behemoth. A 3.5-litre turbo is a commie, Green New Deal malarkey that has no place in the American Proud. Nonsense. I am going to let you in a little secret. Do you know those large 18-wheeler diesel trucks? Those with 10 to 16-litre capacity? They are all Turbo-Diesel. Grow up and accept the reality that technology is not the enemy, and turbo is just a more efficient way to extract power and torque out of the same unit of fuel. Full-stop. Settled. Move on!
That said, however, it did feel a bit out of place to open the bonnet and see an engine bay that’s mostly, well, empty. Of course, the car shares a few parts with the F-150, and that one can still come with the 5-litre monster so… Stay positive, on the Expedition, such a large engine bay improves refrigeration, and opens up the possibility to fit the larger unit in the future. Will Ford do that? Probably…
Nevertheless, there is absolutely no need for it. At 375Hp and 637Nm of torque, you can not only ride comfortably and do a bit of overtaking, but also foray into the off-road or tow a 30 footer boat. Which you will be able to afford thanks to the fuel savings. Now, I did say I managed 10 litres per 100Km, but a more realistic driving settles anywhere between 12 and 13. Higher, but still surprisingly low.
May the Force be with you, always…
The Expedition is a really tall car. So much so that the comfort step to access is an absolute necessity. It being a Ford, and not a Lincoln, this is a fixed railing along the side, where in the luxury brand it tucks in for even lower consumption and reduced aero noise. However, the driving noise is fairly muted and the ride is the sedated experience you would expect from something this heavy.
Acceleration and braking figures are completely irrelevant here, as is any sort of commentary on how good it is on corners. It’s not. Suffice to say that the high-profile tyres, combined with the wobbly suspension, make you use the Force to, sometimes, catch an apex. However, it makes up for capability and comfort off-road.
The third surprise is the gearbox. Not long ago I thought that the nine-speed on the Mercedes GL-Class was excessive. And I thought so because the car had well enough power not to need it. The Expedition, on the other hand, comes with a 10-speed automatic that is smooth and swift. And one that gives the right amount of power and torque almost when you need it. I am sure you are familiar with the usual shift in other cars that is sleepy now, and a galloping scream a moment later. In here, the shifting is far more progressive and comfortable.
Other than that, the car is plush enough. We miss some key features such as steering tracking lights and adaptive cruise control but our guess is that some things need to be left not only to optional trims, but also for the more upmarket Lincoln sibling.
On pricing, the Expedition starts at around $57,000. That’s a BMW X2 territory. Do the math…