2021 Ford Expedition Review
The Ford Expedition is a large three-row SUV in the classic sense of the term. It has rugged body-on-frame construction, plenty of ground clearance, and a four-wheel-drive system to get you where you're going even if the path ahead is a little rocky. It's the largest SUV in Ford's lineup, slotting above the recently redesigned Ford Explorer. When this Expedition generation launched in 2018, it represented a significant upgrade over its predecessor. It's comfortable and spacious, especially if you opt for the longer Expedition Max. Changes for 2021 include a new base trim and more optional features.
While the Ford Expedition has been our runaway favorite in its class, two redesigned competitors threaten its dominance. The Chevrolet Tahoe, along with its longer sibling, the Suburban, are all-new for 2021. The new Tahoe and Suburban fix many of the outgoing model's flaws, though we think many aspects — especially inside — don't quite measure up to the Ford. Other alternatives include the Nissan Armada and the ancient Toyota Sequoia. Even with all that competition, we still think the Expedition is the one of the best large SUVs. Want to know more? Check out our Expert Rating for our in-depth analysis on the 2021 Expedition's comfort, utility and more.
The Expedition is a great pick for a large three-row SUV. It has a spacious interior, comfortable seating, a powerful turbocharged V6 engine and an easy-to-drive nature. Disappointing real-world fuel economy is our only major complaint.
How does the Expedition drive?
We're impressed with the V6 engine's muscle. Any SUV this large that can't really be this quick, can it? We tested an Expedition Platinum with 4WD, and it accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. That's almost a second quicker than a comparable Chevy Tahoe. The Expedition is responsive and easy to drive when you aren't burying the accelerator into the ground too.
The brake pedal is slightly squishy when you first press on it, but ultimately it's pretty easy to come to smooth stops, which is the important part. The steering has a light effort and helps to make this Expedition feel a little less humongous.
While you won't likely be driving your Expedition with Secret Service-like urgency, there are some pretty admirable qualities here for such a large SUV. It's no Mercedes GLS, but this does not feel clumsy.
How comfortable is the Expedition?
The Expedition's front seats are comfy and cushy. They have multiple zones of lumbar support and even have a massage function in the higher trims. The second-row seats are also decently plush. The third-row seating is firm but still adequate for adult use. The Expedition's ride quality is pretty smooth too.
We were less impressed by the Expedition's climate control. The air flow from the vents is noisy and not particularly strong. The seat heaters also might disappoint if you really like them to get hot. On the upside, the Expedition is impressively quiet on the highway and around town.
How’s the interior?
The Expedition makes full use of its interior space. It's roomier than the Chevy Tahoe and gives every passenger ample room and comfort. The third row's accessibility is particularly impressive, allowing even adults to get in and out without much more effort than it takes to sit in the second row.
The center console is a bit button-heavy. It's not immediately user-friendly, but it doesn't require too much time to master. It's a simpler layout than the Tahoe's too. Visibility out of the front is hampered by the massive windshield pillars. But even though the rear window looks to be a mile away, a clear backup camera and available 360-degree camera system take the edge off backing up.
How’s the tech?
Ford's Sync infotainment system has come a long way over the years, and the newest iteration is pretty user-friendly. The navigation system does look a bit dated but offers pinch-to-zoom functionality, helping to make it quick and easy to use. Our test vehicle's 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system made good use of the Expedition's large cabin, providing both power and clarity.
The voice controls are basic and can help with simple functions. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration systems come standard but lack the wireless connectivity that's becoming increasingly common in other vehicles. The Expedition's advanced driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, work fine but aren't quite as full-featured as those in some rival SUVs.
How’s the storage?
The Expedition has a listed cargo capacity of 20.9 cubic feet behind the third row, 57.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 104.6 cubes max. That's less space than its direct rival, the Chevy Tahoe. But the Expedition's extra spaces for all your knickknacks, plus its flexible seating arrangement, more than compensate.
The Expedition is also a good vehicle for hauling little kids around. It has easy-to-access anchors for safety seats plus lots of room to fit rear-facing seats. Towing capacity is great with a maximum capacity of 9,300 pounds when properly equipped.
How economical is the Expedition?
The Expedition gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in combined city/highway driving. That's similar to what the EPA posts for other large SUVs. But we had difficulty matching the EPA's numbers in our real-world testing. Something else to consider is that premium fuel is required to get the quoted power numbers. During our time with the Expedition, we could notice a difference in performance between regular and premium fuel.
Is the Expedition a good value?
The Expedition is priced comparable to other large SUVs such as the Chevy Tahoe. Warranty coverage is also typical for a non-luxury automaker. Interior build quality and materials choices slightly exceed those available from its crosstown rivals.
The Expedition isn't fun to drive in the classic sense, but it is rewarding to summon its muscle car-like torque and use this big SUV for its intended purposes. Road trips, daily commuting and heading out to the great outdoors are all right up the Expedition's alley.
Which Expedition does Edmunds recommend?
The top-level Platinum trim has tons of great features, but we suggest saving some money and going with the Limited trim. It has a nice mix of features including an upgraded audio system and heated rear seats.
Ford Expedition models
The 2021 Ford Expedition is available in five trim levels: XL, XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum. The extended-length Expedition Max is available on all but the base XL, offering more cargo space than the standard model. All Expeditions are powered by a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine. For most trims it makes 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Platinum trim gets a slight bump to 400 hp and 480 lb-ft. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is optional across the board.