Big SUV’s huge on ca­pa­bil­ity

Ex­pe­di­tion rides, feels like it’s been to fin­ish­ing school

The Southern Gazette - - Saltwire Wheels - RICHARD RUS­SELL WHEELS

Big, bold and beau­ti­ful — two out of three ain’t bad!

That about sums up the 2019 Ex­pe­di­tion, the largest util­ity ve­hi­cle in Ford’s ex­ten­sive lineup. The big three-row ute makes no at­tempt to hide its size, rather, it wears it proudly, in an ap­peal to large fam­i­lies with ac­tive life­styles. The Ex­pe­di­tion can carry eight pas­sen­gers and tow up to 4,200 ki­los.

The Ex­pe­di­tion first ap­peared on the scene in 1997. Based then and now, on a F150 truck plat­form, it is a body-on-frame ve­hi­cle. The Ex­pe­di­tion came in for a com­plete makeover for the 2018 model year, shed­ding 135 ki­los in the process thanks to a new plat­form and ex­ten­sive use of alu­minum for the body — just like the F150.

There are few changes for the 2019 model year. Among them: triple in­stead of dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, and dif­fer­ent seat ma­te­rial on some trim lev­els. The Ex­pe­di­tion is avail­able in XLT, Lim­ited and Plat­inum trim lev­els. The lat­ter two can be had in “Max” form with an ex­tra 220 mm be­tween the front and rear wheels and even more cargo room. Pric­ing starts at $58,000. Our well-op­tioned tester was in mid-level Lim­ited trim with lots of op­tional equip­ment. It topped out at more than $87,000. The op­tions in­cluded a “stealth” pack­age that con­sisted of LED head­lights and lots of black, in­clud­ing 22-inch painted al­loy wheels, grill, power-de­ployed run­ning boards and trim through­out. It also boasted red stitching on some in­te­rior trim.

The Ex­pe­di­tion is aimed at folks with big fam­i­lies and a need to carry and/or tow the items as­so­ci­ated with an ac­tive life­style. It has seats and belts for eight oc­cu­pants. The sec­ond row can be moved out of the way for third-row ac­cess, with­out hav­ing to re­move a child seat. Un­like most ve­hi­cles with a third row, this one ac­tu­ally ac­cepts a cou­ple of full-sized adults. Both sec­ond and third rows can be folded flat through the sim­ple ex­pe­di­ent of push­ing a but­ton. There is lots of space be­hind the third row. With it and the sec­ond row out of the way, cargo area be­comes cav­ernous.

A two-tier cargo man­age­ment sys­tem is avail­able with pro­vi­sion to pre­vent cargo from slid­ing around when cor­ner­ing or brak­ing.

Be­cause many of the oc­cu­pants will have and wish to use per­sonal de­vices, the Ex­pe­di­tion has USB ports in all three rows, a 115-volt out­let, a WiFi sys­tem that can ac­com­mo­date up to 10 de­vices within a dozen me­tres of the ve­hi­cle, wireless charg­ing and both Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto func­tion­al­ity. The avail­able rear seat en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem can live stream satel­lite sig­nals.

Power, lots of it, comes from a tur­bocharged, 3.5-litre V6 with 375 horse­power and 470 lb.-ft. of torque avail­able through a 10speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Switch to premium fuel and you have an ex­tra 25 horses be­neath your foot. Power is di­rected to a stan­dard all-wheel drive sys­tem through a 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Dur­ing the week of mixed driv­ing con­di­tions, I man­aged 11.8 litres/100 km — about av­er­age for a ve­hi­cle of this size and weight.

The Ex­pe­di­tion, es­pe­cially when equipped like this one, is a rolling show­case for Ford’s safety sys­tems. Among them: lane keep as­sist, in­flat­able rear seat belts, ac­tive cruise con­trol, and au­to­matic brak­ing, pre-col­li­sion warn­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, au­to­matic high beams, rain-sens­ing wipers and a heads-up dis­play. The blind spot sys­tem can mon­i­tor the space along­side all the way to the rear of any trailer you might be tow­ing.

The 2019 Ex­pe­di­tion does what it was de­signed to do ex­ceed­ingly well. The rugged, truck-based ve­hi­cle has ca­pa­bil­ity ga­lore. It rides and han­dles like a truck that has been to fin­ish­ing school and boasts an ex­ten­sive ar­ray of tech­nol­ogy.

FORD PHO­TOS

The 2019 Ford Ex­pe­di­tion Stealth 4X4 is pow­ered by a 375-horse­power (470 lb.-ft. of torque), tur­bocharged, 3.5-litre V6 en­gine.

The Ex­pe­di­tion is aimed at folks with big fam­i­lies and a need to carry and/or tow the items as­so­ci­ated with an ac­tive life­style.

The 2019 Ex­pe­di­tion fea­tures plenty of cargo room.

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