Ace of Base: 2017 Ford Expedition XLT EL

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

While I may have dipped into the good cheer while penning last week’s Ace of Base, the B&B can rest easy knowing I have been off the sauce for at least the last couple of hours. Hey, where I’m from, the Christmas season extends to January 6th.

Ford made a lot of noise yesterday, broadcasting announcements ranging from a sudden aversion to the label “ Hecho en Mexico” to the imminent construction of hybrid Mustangs and F-150s. Now, I get the appeal of hybridization — especially when it results in MOAR POWERRR for fun stuff like burnouts or towing a four-ton trailer. Taking technology that was originally developed to save fuel and subverting it to produce shocking 0-60 times or stump-pulling torque is akin to weaponizing a wind farm.

This week’s Ace of Base made a similar polar bear-friendly move when it dropped its V8 in favor of an EcoBoosted V6 for the 2015 model year. I’ll freely admit to espousing all sorts of doomsday prophecies upon learning the Expedition would no longer be powered by the engine equivalent of freedom and bald eagles. My concerns were unfounded, as they likely will be about the hybrid Mustang.

The extended-length and unimaginatively-monikered Expedition EL (the Canadian title of Expedition MAX is much better) adds nearly fifteen inches to the truck’s length and can be easily identified by rear passenger doors which drop straight from roof to rocker. My choice of paint is the fabulous $0 Bronze Fire which, in person, looks like something out of a Range Rover catalog. Snazzy LED fog lights appear on all trims.

A standard rear view camera and reverse sensing system keep tabs on aft activities when drivers are attempting to reverse this 18.5-foot SUV. Rear auxiliary climate control keep ankle biters comfortable while parents keep abreast of the grim news on NPR by way of SiriusXM radio up front. On the base XLT, a leather wrapped steering wheel tilts and telescopes, the driver’s pedals are power adjustable, and I really appreciate the Expedition’s power rear quarter windows. They harken back to 1990’s minivans whose rear side windows used to pop out like a wine bottle’s cork and are probably the closest thing to old-fashioned front vent windows available on a new vehicle today. Four-wheel drive adds three stacks to the Monroney.

It’s not a true Ace of Base, at least not for me — my towing requirements dictate the selection of the heavy-duty towing package and a stouter rear end option — but the $49,835 XLT trim, with its cloth seats and ability to shuttle around a family of eight, lends an air of relative simplicity not found in the upscale Platinum and King Ranch trims.

Sadly, there’s no bench seat, so my choice for a jumbo SUV remains squarely in The General’s camp. However, brutes like the Expedition XLT are the modern equivalent of the Caprice and Crown Vic wagons from my youth. Packed with seven kids headed to a hockey game or school dance, these cars were hardy units piloted by long-suffering parents who didn’t mind the scattered Pepsi getting spilled in a footwell. I like to imagine a base Expedition fills the same bill today.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim — apple pie and bald eagles not included. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Conslaw Conslaw on Jan 06, 2017

    Reviewers have been getting 30 MPG from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. If you are going less than 30 miles starting with a full battery, the Pacifica Hybrid tested at 84MPGe, not much less than a Tesla Model S, which isn't surprising because the weights are similar.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 06, 2017

    Conslaw's comment went away, so never mind.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 06, 2017

      @28-Cars-Later I could do that, possibly. I have a whole list of questions written down, ready for pondering.

  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."
  • Rna65689660 As the previous owner of a Triumph, and current owner of a MINI, I say, LOL!
  • Yuda 1) EVs are garbage and a complete waste of time and money 2) Ford IS a business after all, cars and trucks ain't free, they take a lot of time and money to Actually make, manufacture, and build 3) SD trucks are actually useful and practical
  • Tane94 If there is market demand, build the vehicle. That's what Ford is doing. Kudos
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