• 2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven

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Big, burly truck-based SUVs may have officially jumped the shark in 2008 when gasoline prices spiked and the recession took hold, but don’t count this segment out just yet. Although full-size SUVs are quickly being replaced by minivan-like, three-row crossovers (such as the 2013-2014 Chevrolet Traverse and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder), there are plenty of people out there who still need an SUV that is fully capable of hauling almost a baseball team full of passengers without giving up any of the ruggedness or payload capacity that a solid frame allows. For these people, the 2015 Ford Expedition is among a dying breed of body-on-frame SUVs made popular in an era when gas price hovered close to $1.00 per gallon.

A lot has changed in the automobile industry since those days, and a key example of this is the 2015 Ford Expedition. At the height of the SUV craze, not having a V-8 under the hood was almost certainly a death sentence for any full-size truck or SUV, but as proof of just how far Ford is taking its EcoBoost engine technology, the new Expedition is only available with the twin-turbo V-6. To see how this big six-cylinder SUV stacks up against a segment filled with gas-guzzling V-8s, I had the chance to take the long-wheelbase 2015 Ford Expedition EL in the new luxury-minded Platinum trim level for a two-week spin during a recent family vacation.

Continue reading for the full review.

  • 2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • MPG(Cty):
  • MPG(Hwy):
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Energy:
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, 4WD
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Exterior Test drive
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2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Exterior Test drive
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2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Exterior Test drive
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Even though the Ford Expedition has been restyled for the 2015 model year, this design hasn’t changed all that much since the second-generation Expedition launched in 2003.

If you like flashy trim, you’re going to love the Expedition Platinum.

This new look comes with the standard battery of mid-cycle changes including new fascias, lights and badges, and the updated grille and reworked headlights give the 2015 Ford Expedition a face that now looks even more like a sad puppy dog.

The rear of the 2015 Expedition is classed up with new taillights and a full-width chrome strip across the liftgate. Speaking of the liftgate, the Expedition still comes with an opening glass hatch, which seems to be a dying feature among crossovers and SUVs.

If you like flashy trim, you’re going to love the Expedition Platinum with its polished stainless power-retractable running boards, satin trim on the grille and liftgate, and bright chrome trim on the lower fascia (including chrome tow hooks) and roof rack rails.

If you have even more money to spend, the optional ($2,180) 22-inch polished aluminum wheels help finish off the upscale appearance.


2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Interior Test drive
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2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Interior Test drive
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2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Interior Test drive
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Much like the exterior of the 2015 Ford Expedition, there’s really nothing new to see on the inside. The biggest change is the addition of Ford’s latest in-cabin technology including the MyFord Touch infotainment system and the digital display screens in the instrument gauge cluster.

This top Expedition model makes a great first impression with an attractive two-tone leather interior with “Platinum” embroidered into the seat backs.

Despite the complaints about MyFord Touch, the system worked perfectly for me, although the fact that the touchscreen seemed more prone to attracting fingerprints than your typical touchscreen display. More irritating, though, was the abundance of chrome throughout the cabin that always found the perfect angle to reflect direct sunlight into my eyes while driving. Speaking of the cabin materials, the 2015 Expedition does have excellent soft-touch materials on almost all touch points, but the upper dash and some other areas are still made from cheap, textured plastic.

With a wheelbase that has been stretched by 12 inches, the Expedition EL provides seating for up to eight passengers with ease – including tall adults in the third row – and it still has plenty of room (42.6 cubic feet to be exact) of available cargo space. There’s actually so much space that the nifty cargo divider comes in handy to prevent items from sliding around.

To make backing the big SUV up easier, all 2015 Expeditions come standard with a rear-view camera. The three-zone HVAC, which comes standard on the Platinum, provides optimal comfort for all occupants, including those in the third row thanks to vents built into the headliner.

As for upgrades that are specific to the Platinum trim level, this top Expedition model makes a great first impression with an attractive two-tone leather interior with “Platinum” embroidered into the seat backs. Standard features include heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, power-adjustable steering column and pedals, power liftgate (although the rear-mounted button is in an awkward spot), and a 12-speaker, 390-watt Sony audio system.

The true disappointment about the interior of the Expedition Platinum is that even as the top trim in the lineup, it still doesn’t come standard with a rear-seat entertainment system, and the only such system available is a $1,995 option that looks like a cheap aftermarket kit.


2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Drivetrain Test drive
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In the truck world, Ford has proven that “V-6” is no longer a dirty word with its powerful and efficient EcoBoost, and the 2015 Ford Expedition goes all-in with a single engine: the proven twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. This engine is already in use in big vehicles such as the 2015 Ford F-150, 2016 Ford Explorer and 2014 Ford Flex, so it’s no surprise Ford was so confident it was up to the challenge in this application.

Ford has proven that “V-6” is no longer a dirty word.

In the 2015 Ford Expedition and Expedition EL, the EcoBoost V-6 is rated at 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. For comparison, the previous 5.4-liter V-8 had just 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. Not only is this V-6 more powerful than the old V-8, but its peak torque kicks in at lower a rpm, helping improve towing abilities and confidence.

These towing abilities now allow the Expedition to boast a best-in-class towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds, out-hauling the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, 2013 Toyota Sequoia, and 2014 Nissan Armada. Even more helpful for towing purposes, the Expedition comes with an integrated trailer brake controller and Ford’s aging-but-still-solid six-speed SelectShift automatic.

This transmission gives drivers the ability to manually shift the transmission and lock out higher gears including operating as a two-speed automatic. This latter feature is especially helpful when hauling up long, steep grades.

The real reason for the V-6, though, is that it is also more efficient than the outgoing V-8. Officially rated at 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, the 2015 Expedition EL 4x4 beats the comparably equipped 2014 model year by 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway. Those numbers might not be enough to make a Prius driver love an SUV, but when you’re talking about a 6,091-pound vehicle and a 33.5-gallon fuel tank, those are huge gains.

Driving Impressions

2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Exterior Test drive
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Nothing exposes the strengths and weaknesses of a vehicle as much as a 900-mile road trip, and after spending this much seat time with the 2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum, there were plenty of highs and lows. The biggest question mark for me was the choice to go V-6 only, but it didn’t take long to realize that this engine has plenty of muscle and grunt to motivate this plus-sized Expedition even with a full load of passengers and cargo.

The new electric power steering makes the 18.4-foot-long Expedition EL drive like a much smaller vehicle including a turning radius that is nothing short of surprising

Having driven my fair share of EcoBoost-powered F-150s (including the all-new 2015 F-150), this was about what I expected. What did catch me off guard, though, was use of Ford’s electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). Replacing the old hydraulic system, the new electric power steering makes the 18.4-foot-long Expedition EL drive much smaller, including a turning radius that is nothing short of surprising.

On the road, the 2015 Ford Expedition isn’t as quiet as the new Tahoe/Suburban, but it does have a much smoother ride than its main rivals thanks to the independent rear suspension and the three-mode suspension. With choices of Normal, Sport, and Comfort, I found Normal good for most road conditions while the Comfort mode helped smooth out rougher roads with a cushier ride.

The Sport mode noticeably tightens the suspension up creating a rougher ride to the point that I wondered why anyone would want a “sporty” ride from their Expedition. Choosing between the various modes isn’t the easiest task as the screen selections are buried deep in a vehicle settings menu in the gauge cluster.

The majority of my time spent driving the 2015 Ford Expedition was on the typical 65-mph highways that you get when opting to avoid the interstate, and as such, my fuel economy was pretty impressive. I averaged 18.2 mpg in mixed driving over the long haul.

I even managed to do some light off-roading on a sandy beach, and the 22-inch wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season tires performed flawlessly. While the styling, technology, and comfort might not be up to snuff with the GM SUVs, the drivetrain and chassis of the 2015 Ford Expedition lineup really helps it stand out from the dwindling number of traditional full-size SUVs.


2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Emblems and Logo Exterior Test drive
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In its most basic form, the standard-length 2015 Ford Expedition is priced at $44,585, but adding the extra inches of the Expedition EL brings a higher starting price of $47,295. At the top of the Expedition’s trim level food chain sits the Expedition Platinum EL 4x4, which comes loaded full of equipment carrying an as-tested price of $67,015. Yes, you read that right. This Expedition EL Platinum is priced almost exactly in between the $61,920 2015 Lincoln Navigator and the $72,970 2015 Cadillac Escalade.


2015 Chevrolet Suburban

2015 Chevrolet Suburban High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to offering a traditional SUV in various wheelbase lengths, General Motors is currently dominating the full-size SUV segment with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, 2016 GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade. Coming off a full redesign, the Chevrolet Suburban LTZ is the best rival for the Expedition Platinum EL, and it comes stuffed with advanced tech. The Expedition still holds a key advantage over the GM SUVs by offering an independent rear suspension setup to maximize passenger comfort and interior space.

With the exception of the Yukon Denali and Escalade, the big GM SUVs are only offered with a 5.3-liter V-8 capable running on flex fuel. On standard gasoline, this engine is rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, but topping off with E85 ups the power output to 380 horsepower and 416 pound-feet. Despite the extra cylinders, the Expedition easily out-hauls the Suburban, which has a max towing capacity of 8,300 pounds. For a true apples-to-apples comparison, the range-topping Suburban LTZ is packed with plenty of standard technology and luxury, and it comes in at about the same starting price at $67,980 (with four-wheel drive).

Read our full review of the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban here.

2013 Toyota Sequoia

2013 Toyota Sequoia High Resolution Exterior
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Compared to the class-leading GM SUVs, the Toyota Sequoia is almost equally outdated as the Ford Expedition, but it still provides a lot of interior space and towing abilities, not to mention the fact that it too offers a top-of-the-line Platinum trim level. Although Ford has gone all-in with the EcoBoost V-6, the full-size Sequoia sticks with a big 5.7-liter V-8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque to go with its fuel economy of 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway (with two-wheel drive). The base Sequoia SR5 starts at $44,395, while the luxury-minded Sequoia Platinum is priced starting at $61,095. The Toyota Sequoia comes it at the bottom of the bunch in terms of towing capacity with a rating of 7,400 pounds.

Read our full review of the Toyota Sequoia here.


2015 Ford Expedition EL Platinum - Driven Exterior Test drive
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The good news with the 2015 Ford Expedition – especially in Platinum trim – is that the relatively small changes should be enough to keep faithful SUV buyers from leaving the Ford brand until the fully redesigned, next-gen Expedition can arrive. The EcoBoost V-6 is more than up to the challenge, while the Expedition Platinum has a similar level of luxury as the Lincoln Navigator without the added pretentiousness (and soccer mom/rap mogul jokes). But the bad news is that unless a buyer can work a great deal, it’s tough to make the argument to buy this SUV over the new Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon SUVs. Even with the latest MyFord Touch and the new luxurious Platinum model, the lack of modern tech (such as adaptive cruise control) is a major disadvantage.

  • Leave it
    • Severely outdated compared to Suburban and Yukon XL
    • Modern CUVs provide similar space with much better fuel economy
    • Things can get expensive with the Platinum trim level
Jeffrey N. Ross
Jeffrey N. Ross
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