Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review: 2019 Ford Expedition V6 4WD Limited Max


Signing off on the test drive agreement, I waved the Ford driver goodbye and I nonchalantly opened my gate to let this week’s wheels in—a 2019 Expedition Max in a stunning shade of blue. With the Ranger Raptor fitting in snuggly, I figured this behemoth could fit. Oh, how I was wrong. Almost kissing the garage wall, I looked back to see a sizeable chunk of ass still sticking out. Oh boy, I thought. This is going to be an interesting week.

Having no driver, no family, or no posse (just 10,000 Facebook haters), admittedly, I’m not exactly the Expedition’s target market. But for this week, I had to put on a different hat, and find out if the 2019 version of Ford’s largest SUV remains on point or has it become passé.



When the nameplate first hit the Philippine market in 1996 or so, many saw it as the ride of the rich and famous. People in exclusive villages and politicians quickly ditched their Pajeros for this big, honking ‘Murican SUV. In the years that followed though, the zeitgeist moved, and this was despite Ford trying out all sorts of things like adding independent rear suspension, adding length, and ditching the V8 for a turbocharged V6. While it wasn’t clear when it stopped being class leader, the fact of the matter is it was left on the side of the road.

Amidst clamors for better environmental performance and improved fuel efficiency, Ford decided that the Expedition wasn’t ready to hang up its boots just yet. Instead of offering just a few distinct advantages, engineers dug deep. Aside from the independent rear suspension and boosted V6 engine, this fourth-generation model debuts a lightweight aluminum body. In short, this was the big SUV they should have built all along.



More than just getting the basic engineering right, the Expedition now looks the part too. It’s one of the best interpretations of Ford’s truck styling language. The design is simple, yet in person, imposing in equal measure. The slab-sidedness of the design is due to the new aluminum skin, but regardless, the overall effect is attractive.

Open the door and motorized step boards flip down to greet you. Inside, the changes are even more dramatic; a sea of change compared to the old Expedition’s combination of awkward textures and nasty plastics. The design still won’t pass for a luxe SUV, but at least it’s handsome. Poke around long enough and hard plastics are still present, but at least they all manage to blend into the background. The local spec model has lots going on—silver-colored plastic with darker soft-dash covering, ash wood veneer, and cream-colored upholstery. Without a doubt, it’s busy, but much nicer than in the past. Is it worth the P 4.2-million price tag? Maybe not yet.



Perched high in the driver’s seat (even at its lowest setting), piloting the Expedition is both an exercise in frustration and delight. Frustration because it’s hard to find suitable parking for a vehicle that takes up more space than the Philippine standard (12.88 sq-m versus 12.5 sq-m), but delightful because you can simply bully your way through traffic using nothing more than its girth and the threat of having armed bodyguards in tow.

After some days of adjusting to its size, the Expedition is actually easy enough to drive. Sacrifices must be made (you can’t pass through some tight, secondary roads for one), but overall it drives smaller than it is. Moreover, typical large, body-on-frame SUVs tend to wallow like a boat. However, this one doesn’t, and that’s without needing any sort of fancy stabilizer bars or active suspension tech. Down to clever tuning and a lighter body, it hustles without falling on its face. It’s hard to find a driving rhythm, but once you do, it rewards by being almost fun to drive.



Under the massive hood, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is largely unchanged from the previous model. Still, its 375 horsepower, 637 Nm of torque outputs feels exactly as satisfying as a V8 making similar power. There’s pull everywhere in the rev range, very little lag, and even sounds great. Paired to this engine is Ford’s newfangled 10-speed automatic. Shared with the Mustang and Ranger Raptor, and Everest (obviously the tuning varies), its application here fairs better with smooth, imperceptible shifts. There’s a bit of hesitation at times, but generally there’s nothing unusual at all. And given the typical Expedition owner who’d value comfort above all else, that’s high praise. On the other hand, using a rotary selector for the PRND positioned next to the four-wheel drive knob is the worst ergonomic move, ever.

On the subject of fuel economy though, the Expedition remains as thirsty as before. While Ford’s done their homework on paper with the lighter body, smaller boosted engine, and more ratios in its gearbox, the end result is still 3.75 km/L—a figure even lower than the previous V8 engine in similar traffic conditions.



In this genre, it used to be enough simply to be large and rugged. But then, suddenly big wasn’t enough. As refinement and comfort became just as important to SUV buyers, the Expedition lost its step. However, with the latest version, it seems to have found its stride once more. It may not have the same level of gravitas it once had, but at least for those who’re looking for a traditional large SUV, the Expedition ticks all the right boxes—for as long as it can fit in your garage and you don’t mind the fuel bills.



2019 Ford Expedition V6 4WD Limited Max
Ownership 2019 Ford Expedition V6 4WD Limited Max (Bench Seats)
Year Introduced 2018
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 8
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Terrain Management System
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders V6
BHP @ rpm 375 @ 3,500
Nm @ rpm 637 @ 3,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 10 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 3.75 km/L @ 16 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,636
Width (mm) 2,123
Height (mm) 1,940
Wheelbase (mm) 3,343
Curb Weight (kg) 2,581
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Toyo Open Country H/T D 275/55 R 20 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Front and Rear, with Reverse Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 3 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Blind Spot Indicators w/ Cross Traffic Alert
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric Adjust
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, heated/vented
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 6-way, heated/vented
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row),
Yes, 50/50, Electric (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone (front),
Single Zone (rear)
Audio System Stereo
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12, B&O Play by Harman
Steering Controls Yes

1 comment:

  1. TopGearPH be like, "mas comfortable at the best pa rin ang Mitsubishi Pajero kahit na kasingtanda na ng lolo ko"

    ReplyDelete