2020 Ford Expedition Max review: Big-time family hauler

It’s 18.5 feet long!

Emme Hall / Roadshow

The first thing you notice about the Ford Expedition Max is right there in the name – it’s huge. It’s as close to a Canyonero as possible these days. But thankfully, that big, tall stature is easy to live with thanks to a good list of driver assistance technologies and a powerful twin-turbo punch.

Like it

  • Excellent transmission
  • Cavernous interior
  • Great infotainment technology
  • Easier to drive than you might think

I do not like

  • OK, it’s still very big
  • A little more expensive than some competitors

At 222 inches long and 131-inch wheelbase, the three-row full-size Expedition Max is actually shorter than a four-door F-150 SuperCrew pickup truck. But it looks downright imposing from behind the wheel thanks to its cavernous interior. Specify the second row bench seat and there is room for eight inside the Expedition, and due to the added length of the Max, there is a full 36 cubic feet of space behind the third row, compared to just 21 cubic feet in the Standard delivery. Fold both rear rows flat and this thing will carry an impressive 121.5 cubic feet of cargo.

My King Ranch tester is also a really luxurious thing, with leather all over and second-row captain’s chairs that have an easy flip-down feature for easy third-row access. I love the liberal use of open pore wood inside the Expedition King Ranch and there are lots of small storage spaces, including one on top of the dashboard. In all, there are 15 cup holders, so feel free to carry an entire suitcase of Diet Dr. Pepper with you.

On the technology front, the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system is standard, with Apple CarPlay is Android Auto included. This is one of the best infotainment systems on the market, with easy-to-navigate menus and fast response times. 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot can keep 10 devices connected at the same time. They are more devices than seats! You’ll also be able to keep them all charged, thanks to a wireless charging pad, three 12-volt outlets, five USB Type-A ports, a USB-C port, and a three-prong 110-volt plug. You could probably fuel Las Vegas with this thing. (OK, not really.)

Standard blind spot monitoring makes it easy to gauge when it’s safe to change lanes on the freeway, although thanks to the open and airy greenhouse, there really aren’t many blind spots to talk about. This adds to the other niceties included in Ford’s standard Co-Pilot 360 driving assistance suite, including lane keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beam. The My King Ranch tester also features full-speed adaptive cruise control, and the aforementioned blind spot monitoring can cover the length of a trailer, if you’re the towing type.

The elegant King Ranch finish has badges throughout.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

Speaking of towing, the Max can haul 9,000 pounds, which is 300 pounds less than the standard shipping. Even so, it’s a lot more than you can pull with a Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, Nissan Armada, or Toyota Sequoia.

King Ranch upholstery is new for 2020 and adds gray painted lower bumpers, unique 22-inch wheels and the required badges throughout the exterior and interior. Power comes from the 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine, which pushes out 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Shifting is great, produces smooth shifts and mostly fades to the background. Acceleration is strong and the Expedition Max is surprisingly fast, despite its curb weight of nearly 5,800 lbs.

Of course, anything that big and powerful will swallow fuel. The EPA gives the Expedition Max 2020 a combined fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon, but I see around 16.8mpg in my four-wheel drive tester. However, it is better than many of Expedition’s competitors.

The Expedition drives as one would expect from an SUV of this size, although it is easy to maneuver thanks to its impressive turning radius. Sport, Tow / Haul, Mud and Ruts, Sand, Grass / Gravel / Snow, Eco and Normal driving modes are available, which alter the transmission and throttle programming, and there is also a manual shift mode in which you can move up and down through the gears via the buttons on the gear selector.

Carry all your friends and all their stuff at the same time.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

If off-roading is your thing, Ford offers an FX4 off-road package on XLT all-wheel drive and Limited trims, which adds skid plates, a larger radiator for better cooling, off-road shock absorbers, off-road tires and a slip differential. Even without the optional package, the Expedition has a rear limited slip differential and four-wheel drive automatic transmission in addition to four-wheel drive high and low gears. Two-wheel drive models are available for people who don’t need the four-wheel drive grip.

The Ford Expedition 2020 the range starts at $ 54,505, including $ 1,695 for the destination. Upgrade to the Max and you’re looking at $ 57,530. My King Ranch tester with patterned pants comes in at $ 81,680, but you can save a lot of money if you opt for something a little less decadent. Plus, if you’re planning on spending the top dollar on an expedition, you’d be smart to look at its alternative with the Lincoln badge, the Navigator. With the Lincoln you get much better styling and a little more power, and a damn nice interior to boot.

The Expedition’s other main competitors are the new SUVs from General Motors, including the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon, which offer diesel propulsion options and even air suspension on select models. But with its solid tech offerings and great functionality, the Expedition can more than hold its own in this large SUV class.