2015 Ford Expedition Platinum Review

Steve Lynch
by Steve Lynch

Has there ever been a longer running runner-up in an automotive category than the Ford Expedition? The large three-row SUV has been outsold by the Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL twins for years by as much as a 2:1 margin in the ever-shrinking large SUV segment. Throw in the Tahoe and regular Yukon numbers and the Expedition lags even further behind. The Expedition does outsell its luxo Lincoln stablemate, the Navigator, by about a 4:1 margin.

It may not be able to overcome the years of momentum and iconic brand image of the Suburban — proclaimed back in 1986 as the “ National Car Of Texas” — but the latest iteration of the Expedition is fighting back.

The Tester

2015 Ford Expedition Platinum 4×2

Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 EcoBoost, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, direct injection (365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm, 420 lbs-ft torque @ 2,500 rpm)


Transmission: 6-speed SelectShift automatic

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 16 city/22 highway/18 combined


Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 17.1 mpg, approx. 75 percent city

Options: Power deployable running boards, power liftgate, 600A Equipment Group (power moonroof and voice-activated navigation system), 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, leather front bucket seats, heated/cooled front seats, heated 2nd-row seats, Powerfold 3rd-row seats, 390W Sony premium audio, SYNC with MyFord Touch, Continuous Control Damping Suspension with three selectable drive modes, HD Trailer Towing Package.

Base Price (U.S.): $59,995


As Tested: $63,750

Additional Reviewer Notes:

Average available savings off MSRP per TrueCar: Los Angeles: $4,974; Dallas: $6,459; Chicago: $6,774; New Jersey: $6,319.

Other styles, base price: XLT, $45,095; Limited, $54,805; King Ranch, $59,035

Add approx. $3,000 for 4WD.

Wheelbase: 119 inches. Add approx. $2,700 for 131-inch wheelbase EL models.

Maximum towing capacity: 9,200 pounds.


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The 2015 Expedition’s refresh highlight was Ford’s dropping the 5.4-liter V-8 engine in favor of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 power plant. With a jump in horsepower from 310 to 365 and an additional 2 mpg in gas mileage over the V-8, it is hard to argue with this CAFE-driven decision. Other upgrades for 2015 include the optional controlled damping suspension on our tester that offers three driving modes — comfort, normal and sport — and a redesigned center stack.

Exterior changes were minor and included an enlarged grill and tweaked lower bumper, fog lights and taillights. Ford calls these visual updates “fresh and aggressive.” Every automaker calls such changes “fresh and aggressive.”

It may be an 8-year-old design, but the optional 22-inch polished aluminum wheels and Ruby Red Metallic paint on this top of the line Platinum edition make the old war-horse look pretty darn good…until you notice other Expeditions on the street and realize its looks are pretty darn tired.

The first thing you see when climbing aboard is the keyless entry keypad on the doorsill. I had forgotten this feature was still around. first seeing it on a 1990s Lincoln Mk VIII Coupe (which means Sajeev probably has three of the pads in his parts bin). Instructions on how to program the keys and keypad take up 28 pages of the owner’s manual but work intuitively. Open the door and the Escalade-like stainless power running boards whir down to assist you with the two-step climb into the cab.

The voluminous interior is a mix of old and new: tons of outlets, cubbies and cup holders with modern satin aluminum trim clashing with ugly, dark vertical slabs of plastic on the dash. The heated and cooled leather front seats in our tester were comfortable but already showing signs of cracking on the edges after a few thousand miles. It is too bad Ford does not offer a panorama sunroof option because the expanse of black tones made for a dark interior on our tester.

This is a true eight-adult-sized vehicle with third-row seats that fold down at the touch of a button on the back of the seats. Cargo volume is 108 cubic feet (131 cubic feet in the long-wheelbase EL model) with 55 cubic feet available with the 3rd row of seats folded down. A low load height thanks to the independent rear suspension makes access to the rear a snap.

The last Ford I drove with the MyFord Touch infotainment center was a 2012 Escape and it was fine if you were a Rubik’s Cube champion, but was way too confusing for the average driver. In this redesigned system, with an 8-inch touch screen high sitting in the center stack and twin 4.2-inch LCD screens surrounding the speedometer, every function was easy to find. Syncing phones and iPods was easy and the soft multi-colored glow it emits at night looks great.

One quirk I noted is when you switch the transmission into manual mode a tiny tachometer pops up on one of the small LCD screens and it’s truly comical in appearance.

The center touch screen can be divided into quadrants displaying Phone, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate functions. It resembles an electronic version of the old-school car dealer “Four-Square” closing worksheet. Perhaps Ford could speed up the sales process by programming the elements of the four square into the boxes and you could negotiate your deal with your salesperson during your test drive:

Why yes, I have been in the car business way too long.

It is strange to fire up a 5,600 pound SUV and not hear the rumble of a V-8. You will not miss the sound when you hit the gas on the EcoBoost V-6: the Expedition is quick, whooshing from 0 to 60 mph in the mid 6-second range. There is a touch of turbo lag but the motor shows tremendous flexibility at all speeds, helped along by the smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. I absolutely loved the brakes, which are firm and easy to modulate.

Along with its independent rear suspension, our tester had the new Continuous Control Suspension option with three selectable drive modes — comfort, normal and sport. You can actually feel the difference in the each mode. In the sport setting, the slightly sloppy steering tightened up, the cornering was much crisper and the ride much more choppy. The comfort mode may as well be called the wallow mode. All three settings eased the pain of driving Tucson’s crater-filled roads. After fooling around with the settings on the first day, I ended up leaving it in normal mode for the duration of the test. Who needs a sport setting on a school bus anyway?

Despite a tiny bit too much wind and road noise, the Expedition is an extremely comfortable long-distance cruiser.

As far as the comparison to the Suburban, tests indicate the refreshed Ford offers a better ride thanks to its independent rear suspension and adjustable damping, slightly better acceleration and better towing capacity at 9,200 pounds vs. 8,000 pounds. With the Suburban you get a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 with only a slight sacrifice in gas mileage (16/23) versus the Expedition, but it’s accompanied by less road noise and a more luxurious interior thanks to a generous use of softer materials.

The Suburban offers much more interior room than our 119-inch wheelbase tester; the 131-inch wheelbase Expedition EL is slightly roomier than the Chevy.

Basically, the Expedition is the better truck and the Suburban the better car.

Comparing similarly equipped models shows a Suburban LTZ stickering at $70,215, or about $3,600 more than a long-wheelbase Expedition Platinum.

Ford is readying a complete overhaul of the Expedition for 2017. Word is they will add a diesel engine option, which Chevrolet has not offered in the Suburban since 2000. (Ford’s even-larger Excursion, discontinued after 2005, did have an available 6.0-liter Powerstroke diesel.) The Mercedes-Benz GL is the only large SUV currently offered with an oil-burner engine and I think an American-brand, full-size SUV with a diesel powerplant would sell very well.

The 2015 Ford Expedition is an old-school SUV with a new-school motor. If you are a road warrior needing lots of room for cargo or kids and tons of towing capacity, this may be the sport-ute for you.

Picks:

  • Powerful EcoBoost V-6
  • Power-folding third-row seats
  • Plush, comfortable ride

Nit Pics:

  • Some cheap interior materials
  • Even 22-inch dubs can’t hide dated look
  • No pano roof available

Wife Sez: I love the power extending running boards!

Ford provided the vehicle for one week, one tank of gas and insurance.

Steve Lynch
Steve Lynch

More by Steve Lynch

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  • Dolorean Dolorean on Aug 07, 2015

    "Other upgrades for 2015 include the optional controlled damping suspension on our tester that offers three driving modes — comfort, normal and sport..." Stop. Just stop. "Sport" on a behemoth, regardless of it's twin-turboed motviator, is just asinine. I suppose it may be good for shooting the Wally-World parking lot at the after-Halloween-pre-Thanksgiving-Xmas-Sale but the thought of this pig slaloming the Nurburgring just kills me.

  • Steinar O Andersen Steinar O Andersen on May 13, 2023

    I recently looked at a bunch of Escalades, Yukon's, Suburbans, Tahoes, etc (also trucks)... to tow my RV. I avoided Fords (due to the 5.4 3 valve triton) like the plague. But in my price range, they are ALL rusty crap here in Northern IL (& decent ones have too many miles & usually have drivetrains that are tired). I was getting very frustrated.


    I then went to a Mangold Ford in Eureka, IL to look at a Dodge Durango & was again dissapointed as it was rusty & I was shown a 13 Ford F150 Lariat (with the 3.5 Eco-boost dual turbo engine), & I was pleasantly surprised by it's power. I then looked further up in price, & for around $24,000 - I found a 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum EL with 109,000 miles. I took it for a test drive, & was astounded by how nice it was (it had the Eco-boost & could pull 9,200 lbs & was setup for towing). I had driven there in my 2019 Jeep Cherokee with 94,000 miles (which I had bought last year & was paying a monthly payment on). I needed the Ford MUCH MORE for towing my 2021 Gulfstream 4,900 lb RV, unfortunately - it was Tuesday & the dealership had already closed for the day - so I had to come back the next day. I took the time that night to research the 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum EL, & quickly learned that unlike other SUV's/Trucks (such as GM or RAM)... the 2015-2017 Expedition is the holy grail of towing SUV's/Trucks - as the drivetrain is rock solid (with no reported long term issues with either the 3.5 Eco-boost or the transmission) plus the independent rear end making it a real smooth drive. Also, the price was 1/3 of a brand new Expedition & yet, this 2015 Expedition looked almost brand new & was not rusty - anywhere (it was obviously a central IL used vehicle).


    I sent my personal details/financials to them the following morning (to start the purchase process), & by the time I arrived - I had already been approved to buy the Expedition (we just needed to agree on the trade-in price for my 2019 Jeep Cherokee). After about 15 minutes (after I arrived), we had agreed on the deal. The paperwork took only a little over an hour after that. No hi pressure. No 4 square tactics. When I went to talk to Finance, no weird numbers popping up (& no fees that should not be there). I actually asked regarding an extended warranty (& showed him I intended to get a 24,000 mile Ford warranty online for $2,700). I was offered a 5 year/70k premium extended warranty for $4,200. All in (including paying off my previous loan that exceeded my trade-in value), I left the dealership at around $32,000 all in. I am paying only $140 more per month now with this Expedition than I was with my Jeep. In 2015, this Expedition sold for $71,000 & had every option available (& the same configuration for a 2023 Expedition costs almost $90,000). So, this is a Dave Ramsey economics 101 success story.


    And the adjustable gas/brake peddles work so good for my serious problems regarding my legs/feet, all vehicles should have them.


    You can be sure, even though they are not close to me (I just moved from Huntley, IL to Streator, IL) - Mangold Ford is my dealership of choice now. They will also now have the honor of working on my 1972 Lincoln Mark IV classic car as a result. The owner personally thanked me for my business. It is my honor to be having a new business relationship with Mangold Ford.


    They are trustful & are worthy of your business.


    And the 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum EL (fully optioned) is the holy grail of excellent priced & non troublesome SUV towing goodness (recent GM's are having serious transmission issues, & don't get me started on Rams - PLUS the price of Trucks/SUV's post pandemic.


    Given I am former Motor Transport (I am a Disabled USMC Veteran), this is a rare automotive business to find where Honor is still practiced & preached (and an SUV that is actually worthy of praise).


    Semper Fi. 😊

  • The Oracle Farley proves once again he is WAY in over his head.
  • Theflyersfan Gas prices went up $1.00/gal today at the three stations I just passed to get home. Was there a war? No? Could it be oil company greed? Perhaps.
  • Slavuta Actually, this is probably not as bad as student loan ordeal
  • Kcflyer but will it be direct injection only? If so, fool me once.......
  • THX1136 The current administration hoping the unwashed masses are not paying attention. A purely political move similar to the 'request' by Democrats that the Biden administration do something about the border issues prior to the election. Still won't vote for him OR the other guy this Nov.
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