Ford Expedition — Now in King Ranch trim

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 17, 2020) More and more buyers seem to be opting for luxury SUVs and crossovers or the most opulent versions of mainstream vehicles. For that reason, Ford has felt the necessity of bringing back the King Ranch version of the Expedition that has been missing from the lineup since 2015. King Ranch has continued to be offered on the F-150 pickup, and the lavishly outfitted King Ranch now rides just below the Platinum edition and above the Limited in the 2020 Expedition lineup.

Ford says 20 percent of Expedition buyers are choosing the Platinum model starting at $74,760, and nearly 40 percent more are buying the Limited. That means there's room for another high-end model that slots between Platinum and Limited. Ford sold a whopping 86,000 Expeditions in 2019, so there's a lot riding on increasing the average transaction price of the big SUV.

The King Ranch brings a lot bling including premium updates inside and out, such as Stone Gray paint on the grille mesh, lower bumpers, power-deployable running boards, rear bumper skid plate, trailer hitch cover, roof-rack side rails, and side mirror caps. It rides on 22-inch six-spoke painted machined-face aluminum wheels with dark tarnish-painted pockets, and the King Ranch badging with the famed “Running W” logo appears on the body sides, liftgate and wheel center caps.

Inside, premium Del Rio leather covers all three rows of seats. Ebony Del Rio leather covers the door trim while Mesa Del Rio leather gives a soft touch to the door armrests. The steering wheel is wrapped in Mesa Del Rio leather and features Kingsville stitching. The center console combines Del Rio leather trim and Ziricote wood veneer.

The Expedition was totally remade for the 2018 model year representing a significant leap forward in capability, sophistication and flexibility for a large SUV. The Expedition still comes in the standard wheelbase and the Max version, which is over 9 inches longer, adding rear-seat legroom and cargo capacity. It seems the large SUV provides more space than a small city apartment. At the same time it can tow more than 9,000 pounds meaning even large travel trailers or boats can be moved from place to place with ease.

Ford did a commendable job giving the Expedition the performance necessary to effectively move a big truck even when loaded using the latest version of the company's twin-turbocharged V-6 making 400 horsepower in the Platinum trim and 375 horsepower in the other trim levels. That represents 35 more horses and 60 additional pound-feet of torque over the last-generation Expedition. To make the engine even more effective, all Expeditions are outfitted with Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission.

If you still believe that a big rig needs a V-8 engine, mull over these statistics. The V-6-powered Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds and move from 0-to-60 in a swift 5.7 seconds and can complete a quarter mile 14.4 seconds at 97 mph. That translates into enough forward momentum to successfully merge into fast-moving interstate highway traffic.

Another thing the Expedition does well is welcome passengers. Every row is fully connected and comfortable, and there’s plenty of room for gear. There is scads of stretch-out passenger space in the third row because its independent suspension doesn't sap the space taken up by a solid rear axle as found in Ford’s chief competitors. The Ford comes in standard configuration with a second-row bench seat making room for eight. But we like the very comfortable second-row captain’s chairs that came in our King Ranch edition and we would gladly sacrifice one seating position.

The Expedition stretches out 210 inches with a 122.5-inch wheelbase and passenger volume measures a huge 171.9 cubic feet. Cargo capacity with all three rows in place is a useable 20.9 cubic feet. With third-row seats folded, cargo space increases to 57.5 cubic feet, and to 104.6 cubic feet with all seats folded. If you need even more space, the Expedition Max stretches out to 221.9 inches with total cargo volume of 121.5 cubic feet.

Ford has brought the Expedition into the modern world of infotainment, connectivity and safety. Loaded versions like our King Ranch test truck offer the latest Sync 3 infotainment system, a pair of USB ports for each row of seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that supports up to 10 devices. A full suite of driver aids is available, including front automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blindspot warning with cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. The package is called Co-Pilot360 and is standard across the lineup for 2020.

The interior has been remade into a handsome, welcoming place with modern-looking vents, dials and faceplates. And the cabin exudes a luxury feel offering a quiet and comfortable environment that goes well with the surprisingly smooth ride.

The Expedition starts at $54,205 including destination charge for the rear-wheel drive XLT. All-wheel drive is priced at $57,215. The Limited, which we think is the sweet spot for price and features, carries a bottom line including destination charge of $64,740. Our King Ranch test vehicle with rear-wheel drive carried a bottom line of $74,885. Car-buying site says there is now more than $4,000 in incentives and rebates on the Expedition.
2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch


Base price: $54,205; as driven, $74,885
Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 375 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 470 pound-feet @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive: rear wheel
Seating: 2/2/3
Wheelbase: 122.5 inches
Length: 210 inches
Curb weight: 5,638 pounds
Turning circle: NA
Towing capacity: 9,300 pounds
Luggage capacity: 19.3 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 104.6 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 23.3 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined
0-60: 5.7 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Durango, Nissan Armada

The Good
• Strong turbocharged V-6
• Adult-size third row
• Great towing capability

The Bad
• Hard to maneuver in tight spots

The Ugly
• Poor fuel economy