It should go without saying that the 2020 Ford Expedition is enormous. I certainly found that to be the case during my recent road trip to Southern Oregon and back where it allowed me to pretty much bring whatever I wanted without much need to Tetris bags, coolers, etc. It's a boxy, cavernous warehouse back there, with Ford providing a maximum cargo volume measurement of 104.6 cubic-feet. That's 20 cubes more than the typical large three-row crossover. Lowering the third-row, as I did during my road trip, yields a maximum of 63.6 cubic-feet, which is comparable to the maximum, seats-down cargo capacity of many compact SUVs.
However, raising all of the seats is another matter entirely as the Expedition's cavernous capacity shrinks down to a Ford-measured 19.3 cubic feet. That's only 1 cubic foot more than a Hyundai Palisade and actually a cube less than the VW Atlas. Those two are the current leaders in the Luggage Test clubhouse for three-row crossovers. Let's see if the similarity plays out in terms of actual bags as well as it does on paper.
As in every luggage test I do, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
There you go: the Expedition does indeed beat the Palisade and matches the Atlas. More of the fancy bag is covering the window, though, so this is certainly one instance where comparisons on paper are matching what I'm seeing in person.
Now, the Expedition has a power-reclining third-row seat. I set it for an angle (the 60-split portion in the above right photo) that I would be perfectly comfortable sitting at for an extended period of time (which given the Expedition's wildly impressive leg- and headroom back there, is certainly possible). I suppose putting the third row upright might add a bit more space, but it wouldn't have mattered with these bags. Should you go to max recline, meanwhile, you'd be left with significantly less cargo space.
So how come the Expedition is so much bigger when the seats are lowered but equal to those jumbo crossovers when they're raised? The answer is there's just not much length between the raised seat and hatch. In fact, I'd wager the Palisade, Atlas and even other crossovers are longer back there. The Expedition is taller and boxier, though, which allows it to stay even. Of course, there's also the Ford Expedition Max, which adds 100% of its extra length behind the rear axle and increases cargo capacity behind the third row from 19.3 to 34.3 cubic-feet. It only costs an extra $3,000. I'm not sure why you wouldn't opt for it unless your garage just can't swallow it.
The Expedition comes standard with power-folding second- and third-row seats. The third-row comes back up by pushing a button, too.
The Expedition is also one of the rare SUVs to still have a separate pop-up glass section. Yet another plus for boxy SUVs, including the new Bronco Sport.
The Expedition has raised roof rails, which makes it easy to install any number of Yakima or Thule rack systems. They're incredibly high off the ground, though. I'm 6-foot-3 and this was the highest camera angle I could get holding my camera completely over my head. So yeah, good luck loading whatever's on that roof rack. Bring a ladder.
And finally, what if I really needed to bring all those bags? Lowering the 40-split portion allowed them to fit easily, technically leaving seats for six, but more realistically, a comfier place for person five riding in the caboose (or person six if you have the second-row bench and eight-passenger capacity). Again, this was the same as the Palisade.