Ford Expedition EL Review
Whenever I show up at my weekly poker game, the boys (being boys) are always interested in what I'm driving. How much? How fast? Not this week. This week, all my friends piled into the driveway and laughed. Can you blame them? Ford's new Expedition EL is so large I had to park it diagonally to keep its butt off the street. The wheels come up to my thigh. One 6'5" friend couldn't see the roof. Remember King Kong Bundy? He now wears dubs.
Despite the comedy (if you attached flippers to an EL, a sperm whale would want to hump its back), the Expedition is a handsome beast. Yes, the grill is only slightly less confrontational than the business end of a DASH 9 locomotive. But it flows smoothly into the massive hood-bulge, especially with the box checked for matching body color. The [optional] blingtastic 20" chrome wheels give the EL pure proportionality– even if everything behind the rear-doors is a single sheet of glass. And yes, despite it all, the EL's still got street cred; seven fast & furious teenagers told me how fly my ride was. Just don't look at its frumpy tuchus.
If the outside is gangsta's paradise, the inside is Harry & David meets Sharper Image. The seats are the best offered in any American SUV. They may have as much to do with proper driving as John Kerry does with Army recruiting, but two-hours on the road feels like fifteen minutes in bed on a Sunday morning reading the papers. Gross Ford binnage abounds. Unless you touch them, the plastics– dyed a deeper shade of drab– don't offend. So don't.
I really fell for the piece of dead tree ringing the upper half of steering wheel. It made me think I was holding the tiller of a Lexus. Or a Riva. Or a minivan on stilts. The EL can legitimately claim enough head, shoulder and leg room for eight adults AND enough cargo capacity for all the stuff they're likely to schlep. And it’s all so easy. Press the plipper twice and the tailgate swings open automatically. Hold two buttons down for about twenty-seconds and the third row falls flat. Although the load-in height is too high, it’s still a Suburban salesman’s worst nightmare.
As you’d expect from Ford’s luxury land yacht, the Expedition is geared-up with gizmos. The bigger, brighter radio and navigation touch-screen is a model of ergonomic ease. Gamers score three power points. A rear-view camera is notable by its absence. It’s a huge, silly misstep; my $49.99 phone can shoot video and a Bighorn Elk could hide behind the Expedition's power liftgate. And the much ballyhooed air-conditioned seats are less cooling than a ceiling fan in Notre Dame cathedral.
If Mazda's CX-7 is the Marvin Harrison of the SUV world, and Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo is LaDainian Tomlinson, then the Ford Expedition EL is John Madden: a bit clumsy, self-satisfied and happiest when cruising. True, the EL’s multi-link, independent rear-suspension and RSC (Roll Stability Control) let you take a bit of speed into a corner– make that “turn"– but you'll feel a whole lot better if you don't.
On the positive side, the EL swallows road imperfections like bon-bons, even if it tends to jiggle at highway speeds. (Let's blame the motion on our 4X4 tester's 6155 pound curb weight.) While the Expedition doesn't waft like a truly dignified luxury vehicle-– no dirt-hauler based SUV does — helming the beast makes you feel like the captain of an oil tanker on the open sea. If something gets in your way, it’s something's problem.
The Expedition’s 5.4-liter big block V8 shares its basic components with the TTAC-debatable Shelby GT500. Unlike the mad Mustang's supercharged motor, which sounds like a circular saw opening a propane tank, the EL’s 300hp mill is eerily quiet. The Triton™ powerplant generates enough torque to amble about town, tow 9100 lbs. of lifestyle gear or both (365ft. lbs. of twist at a leisurely 3,750rpm). The Expedition EL’s intuitive six-speed auto makes the most of the SUV’s oomph, downshifting at the flick of an ankle. Not that you'll ever have to pass anybody, since everybody gets the Hell out of your way anyway.
The Expedition's tall-geared transmission helps peg the monster’s mileage at a not completely derisory 15.6 mpg– at speeds up to 100mph. (Sorry, but it's my job officer.) So should you buy one? No. The Expedition EL is so large it's silly. I know, you “need” to haul a large family while towing the Lusitania. But why not purchase Ford's underrated Freestyle for chump change– which offers almost as much storage/seating– and use the money saved on gas to rent a slip at your favorite marina? Why not indeed.
[Jonny and RF discuss the EL in the podcast below.]
Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.
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- Kwik_Shift One day I'll bring myself around to trying one of these out, with manual transmission. They look fun.
- Zipper69 It worked in London, because the center of that city is a medieval layout ON TOP of a Roman layout, both designed for horse drawn traffic.Manhattan's grid and the available public transport options are a different matter.
- Jkross22 To give a sense of priorities, Oakland has had a 50% jump in car thefts from last year. 40 cars per day are stolen in Oakland. Also in Oakland.... the city has a shortage of 911 operators so if/when you call, you're SOL. That is because they are saying no one is applying to the open 911 jobs. When an audit was recently done, over 1000 applicants applied to the 911 jobs, but no one had contacted them. Any of them. HR still earns the term "human remains". After Xi Xingpeng returned to China from his SF visit, all of the homeless people returned to the streets of San Francisco. They were all magically whisked away for his visit, something our governor was quite proud of doing. Makes you wonder why SF residents can't get that kind of treatment everyday. With all of the big problems solved, CA reps can focus on the real problems in the state.... making those MAGA rural volleyball team buses go all electric no matter whether EV buses make sense or not. And this guy wants to be president.....
- Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh Dear whiny people .. keep a small number of diesel busses. replace the rest .. my god people like sticking poles in their own bike spokes...
- Canam23 I moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and the air was barely breathable. Thanks to the mandating of pollution controls and the work of the Air Quality Management District, it's 100% better today. When the first pollution targets were set in the 70's, Detroit moaned that it would be impossible to achieve, meanwhile the Japanese sat down and figured out how to do it. As a result of the constant strengthening of the anti pollution laws, our air is much less dangerous for our children. Furthermore, engineering has now created very clean, powerful and efficient engines. So Stellantis, I'm not buying it.