2018 Ford Expedition MAX Platinum 4X4
Class: Large SUV
Miles Driven: 293
Fuel Used: 15.3 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 15.3 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 16/21/18 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Regular gasoline
CG Report Card Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester. Room and Comfort A Power and Performance B+ Fit and Finish A- Fuel Economy C Value B- Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup. Big & Tall Comfort Big Guy A Tall Guy A
Base price: $78,865 (not including $1295 destination charge)
Options on test car: Second-row captain’s seats ($740), heavy-duty towing package ($1570), reversible cargo mat ($40), rear-seat entertainment system ($1995)
Price as tested: $84,505
The great: Cavernous interior room for people and cargo; satisfying acceleration
The good: Classy interior trimmings
The not so good: Fuel economy
More Expedition price and availability information
If you wander into a Ford showroom in search of the roomiest, lushest, and brawniest SUV on the premises, you’ve got a big decision to make. Like $13,260 big.
That’s the spread in starting price between the 2018 Expedition MAX Platinum and the “non-MAX” Expedition Limited, both of which Consumer Guide has tested. If you know the code, there’s a world of difference embedded in those descriptions. Here’s the breakdown:
- MAX versions of the Expedition have 131.6-inch wheelbase and 221.9-inch overall length, which makes them 9.1 and 11.9 inches longer, respectively, than “standard-length” Expeditions.
- Platinum is the top trim level of three, with the base XLT and midlevel Limited below it.
- A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission drive every Expedition, but the version in the Platinum develops more horsepower and torque than the XLT/Limited engine.
Test Drive: 2018 Ford Expedition Limited
All three Expedition series are available in standard or MAX lengths, and with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive, so there are price gradations between the Limited and the MAX Platinum, but they represent the clearest points of departure for size, convenience, luxury, and power. Both Expeditions tested by CG were 4x4s.
The Platinum adds standard features and details that are either optional or unavailable on other Expeditions. The front seats have multi-contour construction with fatigue-reducing “Active Motion” massage functions. Genuine wood dresses up the console, and front-door sills are topped with brushed-aluminum scuff plates. Enhanced active noise control quiets the interior, which has a panoramic sunroof overhead and advanced cargo manager in the back. Drivers can refer to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link to help them get around efficiently.
Ride quality is addressed through continuously controlled suspension damping, and the Platinum rolls on 22-inch polished-aluminum wheels. Full LED lighting (with automatic high-beam headlight control) and rain-sensing wipers are included, too. Added driving aids run to an enhanced Active Park Assist System; adaptive cruise control; lane-keeping assist, lane-keeping alert, and driver alert; pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection; and a 360-degree camera with split view. For visual distinction, there are satin-chrome door handles, and satin-aluminum-highlighted grille, mirror caps, and roof rails, the last of which come with crossbars.
With 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, the test truck was pleasingly eager in the conventional driving mode and almost racy—hard as that may be to believe—in “Sport” mode in normal commuting. The heavy-duty trailering package added to CG’s tester raised its maximum towing capacity to 9000 pounds from 6000. The 10-speed trans operated smoothly on the street and kicked down snappily on the expressway. The EPA rates the MAX Platinum 4-wheeler at 16 mpg in the city, 21 on the highway, and 18 combined. In mostly city driving, we got close to that city figure, averaging 15.3 mpg. Parking this 18.5-foot monolith isn’t a task entered into lightly, but ride comfort is excellent.
The MAX’s longer body enables a 16.9-cubic-foot increase in cargo space compared to the base vehicle—121.5 cubic feet overall with all middle- and rear-row seats down. The backs of the 60/40-split third-row seats fold via power switches in the cargo bay. Second-row seats can also be dropped remotely. CG’s Platinum test vehicle had optional second-row bucket seats that folded flat but left gaps in the load floor around and between them. Personal-item storage is equally as ample in either Expedition body type.
Passenger room is mostly the same in either configuration. Headroom decreases from the front to the third row, but even most adults sitting in the back row—and adults can sit there—will find plenty of noggin clearance. The pass-through between the second-row buckets is wide enough for easy access to the back row. Soft-touch material covers the dash, much of the door panels, and even the upper sides of the center console.
First Spin: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
Driving controls are highly legible. A console dial accesses terrain settings to match surface conditions, and is flanked by buttons to call up 2- or 4-wheel drive. The SYNC 3 infotainment system is easily operable via its 8-inch color touchscreen, and seems to have voice-activated capability that gets things right the first time. Dual-zone climate controls have separate dials to regulate temperature, with less-convenient repetitive-push buttons to handle other functions.
With delivery factored in, an Expedition MAX Platinum with 4-wheel drive starts at a considerable $80,160. However, with the second-row buckets, trailering package, cargo-floor mat, and rear-seat entertainment system added, CG’s test vehicle settled at $84,505. Speaking of decisions, that seems like a big one.