2012 Expedition EL New Car Test Drive
The Ford Expedition full-size sport-utility seats up to eight people, hauls a mountain of gear, and can pull heavy trailers. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the Expedition will get there whether the road is dry, wet, snowy, or even when there's hardly any road at all.
The Expedition makes an excellent tow vehicle. With the optional towing package, the standard 4WD Expedition is rated at 9,000 pounds, the 2WD at 9,200 pounds, the 2WD EL at 8,900 pounds, and the 4WD EL at 8,700 pounds.
Inside are rich materials and generous space for passengers in all three seating rows. The second- and third-row seats fold flat to create a useful rear cargo area.
With its independent rear suspension, the Expedition offers a smooth ride that is more car-like than most big, truck-based SUVs. That's nice on long drives. With its combination of utility, a smooth, stable ride and a pleasant interior, the Ford Expedition is a fine choice for families that tow or take driving vacations.
The Ford Expedition comes in two lengths, the standard model with a 119-inch wheelbase, and the Expedition EL with its 131-inch wheelbase. Extended-length Expedition EL models add more cargo-carrying capacity, especially noticeable when trying to load groceries or gear behind the third-row seats.
Expedition is powered by a single-overhead-cam 5.4-liter V8 rated at 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment. There's a choice of rear-wheel drive (2WD) or electronically engaged ControlTrac four-wheel drive (4WD) that can be driven on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. We recommend getting the four-wheel drive.
All Expedition models include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system with Roll Stability Control (RSC), including standard Trailer Sway Control that detects trailer sway motion and takes corrective measures to bring both the vehicle and the trailer under control, a good feature.
Changes for the 2012 model year are minor. Front park assist is now standard on Limited and King Ranch. Heated rear seats are now optional on XLT. And all versions come with standard spotter mirrors. The current-generation Expedition was launched as a 2007 model.
The 2012 Ford Expedition XL ($36,305) and 4WD XL ($39,205) come with cloth upholstery on front captain's chairs, second-row 40/20/40 split bench reclining fold-flat seat with CenterSlide, full-length overhead console, large floor console, power door locks, power windows, heated power mirrors with integrated spotter mirrors, carpeting, auto-dimming mirror, three power points, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry, AM/FM/CD/MP3 with audio input jack, fog lamps, luggage rack, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. A third-row 60/40 split bench seat that folds flat to the floor is optional ($875).
The Expedition EL XL ($39,830) and Expedition EL XL 4WD ($42,730) are equipped basically the same, except that the third-row seat is standard, and the alloy wheels upgrade to 18 inches.
Options include SYNC voice-activated communication and entertainment system ($395), heavy-duty trailer towing ($395), rear-seat entertainment ($1,995), and remote start ($345).
The Expedition XLT ($38,915) and XLT 4WD ($41,815), Expedition EL XLT ($41,625) and EL XLT 4WD ($44,525) add reverse-sensing system, SYNC, Premium sound system, power-adjustable pedals, universal garage door opener, power rear quarter windows,18-inch alloy wheels, and a large selection of other trim and convenience features. XLT options include a moonroof ($995), power running boards ($995), air suspension ($485), leather ($2,265), heated rear seats ($395), and voice-activated navigation ($2,105). The XLT is also available with three comprehensive packages with increasing levels of features, the 201A ($4,425), 202A ($5,610), and 203A ($5,855).
Expedition Limited ($45,045) and Limited 4WD ($47,945), Limited EL ($47,695) and Limited EL 4WD ($50,595) add heated and cooled front seats, dual-zone climate control, memory for driver's seat and exterior mirrors, rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, power liftgate, heated second row seats, PowerFold third-row rear seat, leather, and a wide range of additional convenience and trim features. Limited Decor Group 301A ($1,490) adds a moonroof and power running boards. Polished 20-inch alloy wheels ($1,395) are also available.
Expedition King Ranch ($46,555) and King Ranch 4WD ($49,455), King Ranch EL ($49,205) and King Ranch EL 4WD ($52,105) feature Chaparral leather upholstery, King Ranch badging, and gold exterior accents. The leather trims the center console lid, steering wheel and door panels, while wood trim can be found on the center console, shifter handle and instrument panel. There is also a King Ranch Decor Group 401A ($1,490), which adds navigation and power running boards. Painted 20-inch alloy wheels ($1,195) are optional.
Safety equipment includes front airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, three-row head-protecting side-curtain airbags with rollover deployment, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, and AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Roll Stability Control (RSC) and Trailer Sway Control. A rear obstacle detection system is standard on XLT, Limited, and King Ranch. Forward-pointing parking sensors are standard on Limited and King Ranch.