“We recently drove a 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch to the Ford EcoBoost Challenge in Cincinnati, Ohio. And while a 365-hp, 5,600-lbs. SUV may not fit your idea of a fuel-efficient vehicle, We’ll tell you how our Expedition delivered better MPG than other smaller vehicles we’ve driven.”
“We loved our Expedition so much, we nicknamed it — EcoBeast”
I grew up in Texas, so I have to admit I was genuinely excited when I found out our test Expedition was a King Ranch edition, as there is a bit of pride that comes along with a badge resemblant of the mighty size and influence that Texas has on anything truck related. It’s a Texas thing…
The Ford Expedition is just a couple of years shy of turning twenty years old, which proves its resilience to gas price increases, decreases, recessions, industry collapses, you name it, it’s been through it. But more than survived —it’s thrived. But how has it managed to adapt to modern times?
One word: EcoBoost
What is EcoBoost? EcoBoost is a word that has worked wonders for the Ford Motor Company, it’s morphed the term “Turbo” from a wasteful, sporty and intimidating word into a cool, hip, and environmentally friendly word synonymous with fuel-efficiency. It’s pure marketing genius. It’s so genius that even I love saying EcoBoost. It’s such a cool word!
Now, I can’t give you a lesson on what turbo-charging does to an internal combustion engine for a couple of reasons, but mainly because it’d be extremely boring. But to summarize it, a turbo-charger acts like a turbine to generate more power when needed — keyword, when needed.
“The Ford EcoBoost Challenge is traveling to 17 cities this year, check our their schedule!”
Behind the wheel
Given the fact that we own small cars, driving the EcoBeast around town took a couple of drives to get used to it’s size and dynamics, but once we both got used to it we basically drove it everywhere. Grocery store, soccer practice, etc. We even drove it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Indy 500 race day. And in a place where most people are used to seeing big fancy trucks, our King Ranch turned many race fan’s heads.
The interior design is well organized, and every vital control seemed to be within reach, which is a formidable feat considering the sheer size of the dashboard. It was also our first time experiencing the Microsoft SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system, and having used at least four different systems in the past two months, I can tell you that this is the best system on the market. It’s worth the money. (We had a chance to play with the new and upcoming SYNC 3 at the EcoBoost Challenge, and it’s amazing!)
On the road the Expedition was smooth as butter yet firm and confident, and the 22″ wheels make things a bit stiffer but not uncomfortable. The kids and I were really pleased with the fact the suspension felt soft at street speeds, but on the highway it seemed to stiffen up and feel better controlled, which is great for high speed turns, or last-minute emergency lane changes. And speaking of emergency, if something out of your control where to happen, the 2015 Ford Expedition was awarded a 5-star safety rating in front and side crash tests, and 3-star rating in rollover crash test by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
“The interior was well thought-out, and very much so function-over-form”
“The kids enjoyed the rear entertainment/AC controls as we enjoyed the power folding third-row, although the power lift-gate button was oddly tucked away inside the trunk compartment”
One does not buy a full-size SUV looking for speed, handling, much less fuel-efficiency. Yet the Expedition doesn’t lack any of those attributes. Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine produces a “EcoBeasty” 365-horsepower. And the best of all — if you pay attention you can hear the turbo swoosh while accelerating. Yup, I’m nerdy like that.
But the best performance of it all, and what you’ve most likely been waiting to hear since you started reading this… I achieved nearly 20MPG during our trip from Indianapolis to Cincinnati —that’s impressive for a vehicle its size. For comparison sake, I averaged only 5mpg better on our recent Lexus NX crossover, a vehicle half it’s size!
“Although not pictured above, our best number achieved was 19.8mpg”
“A muscular grille and hood combination give the Expedition a large but agile look”
Missi and I walked away happy when our time with our beloved EcoBeast came to and end. We not only feel like we discovered a vehicle that we normally wouldn’t consider, but we were also blown away at all the effort Ford has put into producing fun, and fuel-efficient vehicles that fit their customer’s needs. Because let’s face it, small cars are great, but if you could own a larger vehicle with comparable fuel efficiency, which one would you rather choose? Enough said!
- Head-turning looks
- Great in-class fuel-efficiency
- Refined and ergonomic interior
- User-friendly Microsoft SYNC with MyFord Touch system
The Not So Great:
- Third row access could be a bit difficult for kids to operate
- Still uses antiquated keypad code access system
- Power liftgate button is located in an awkward place
- At over $66,000 it competes with other more “luxurious” SUV’s
Starts at: $59,025
Price as tested: $66,710