2020 Ford Expedition Max: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The 2020 Ford Expedition Max is the largest SUV in the Ford lineup. The Detroit automaker began producing Expedition in 1997 when it replaced the Bronco; since its redesign a few years ago, this big SUV is by far the best version yet. Expedition checks all boxes with comfortable seating for up to eight occupants, a spacious cargo area, off-road capability and an impressive tow rating. We spent a few days with the 2020 Ford Expedition Max to see how well it delivers on the needs of the full-size SUV buyer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Ford provided a 2020 Expedition Max Platinum 4X4 painted in Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. The Platinum is the top trim of the Expedition, so practically everything comes standard; however, our test vehicle listed extra charges for the metallic paint, a heavy-duty trailer-towing package and second-row bucket seats for a total MSRP of $84,065. There aren’t many players in the full-size SUV market segment anymore. Competitors to Expedition include the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling
The 2020 Ford Expedition has the classic squared-off lines of a big SUV, which give it a bold presence. This stance gets further enhanced by a large satin-aluminum grille with chrome accents — unique to the Platinum trim level. The exterior has plenty of chrome decoration, including the trim around the fog lights, the beltline, door handles, roof rack and mirrors. A chrome bar spans the tailgate, connecting the LED taillights. The Burgundy Velvet paint works well with the chrome trim, especially in bright sun. Machine-faced 22-inch aluminum wheels complete the look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInterior
Inside, the Expedition has plenty of space for the whole family, and the Platinum edition provides a high level of luxury. A large covered storage bin between the front seats offers plenty of room to keep items out of sight. Multiple USB ports — as well as wireless charging — keeps all personal devices powered. Stitched leather adorns the dashboard, doors, steering wheel and seats; the center console has a splash of wood trim. Big bucket seats offer heating, cooling and massaging functions — a nice plus for long drives.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEasy to Use
Controls in the Expedition are nicely laid out, surrounding an 8-inch touchscreen display. Menu buttons at the bottom of the screen make things easy to find, and we appreciate the separate volume and tuning knobs. Climate controls are kept separate. The automatic climate control system allows a choice of fan speed — a nice feature that lets passengers avoid blasts of air as the system tries to cool or heat the vehicle at startup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSecond Row
The Expedition Platinum comes with captain’s chairs in the second row, which give the area plenty of legroom and headroom. The leather-trimmed seats are comfortable, making the second tier a great place to sit during a long road trip. The second row also has separate climate controls, seat heaters and USB power, as well as a 110-volt outlet to keep handheld devices up and running. A panoramic sunroof makes the large cabin feel even more spacious from the second row.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceThird Row
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a large SUV such as the 2020 Ford Expedition Max: the third row does not feel like a penalty box to its occupants. Access is easy thanks to second-row seats that fold forward and slide out of the way, as well as power-deployable running boards. With a surprising amount of headroom and legroom, the third row seats two adults comfortably — three might be a bit cramped.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
The 2020 Ford Expedition Max is about a foot longer than the standard Expedition — and that extra length is all in the cargo area. Even with all seats in place the SUV has an impressive amount of room for luggage, gear or whatever else needs hauling. The split third row and second row can be folded flat with the push of a button in the cargo area, creating more than 120 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats folded. Panels can be moved upright into different positions to better manage cargo and keep things from rolling around in the large space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNo More V8
Not long ago rigs such as the 2020 Ford Expedition Max would have had a big V8 under the hood, but times have changed. Under this hood resides a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine producing a plentiful 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque at 2250 rpm. The powerful V6 gets teamed with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. With a heavy-duty trailer-towing package the Expedition Max can tow up to 9,000 pounds — so it’s not really missing the V8. The EPA fuel economy ratings for the 4WD Expedition Max are listed as 16 mpg city / 21 mpg highway / 18 mpg combined. We spent most of our time in city driving and averaged around 16.5 mpg, so the figures seem accurate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Without question the Expedition Max is a larger-than-average vehicle, but it is certainly not a big, lumbering beast. And it may not have a V8 under the hood, but this SUV is surprisingly quick thanks to the high torque generated by the EcoBoost V6. The ride is smooth and comfortable, and the cabin stays quiet even at highway speeds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSport Mode
The 2020 Ford Expedition Max has multiple drive modes for towing, various off-road conditions and, surprisingly, a sport mode — a bit unexpected in a full-size SUV. Sport mode adjusts throttle and transmission for quicker response, and also automatically puts the Expedition into 4-wheel drive for added traction during spirited driving.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOff-Road Capable
Although we didn’t get to venture off-road in the Expedition during our testing, the big SUV handles rough and gravel roads nicely without jarring occupants. With ground clearance of almost 10 inches and Ford’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system, the Expedition would certainly hold its own off-road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Not all folks need the capability and space of a full-size SUV, but for those who do the 2020 Ford Expedition Max offers an excellent choice. Much more refined than any of the previous generations, this current model has a lot to offer — especially when as well appointed as the Platinum edition. With a comfortable and spacious interior, smooth ride, ton of room for all gear and massive towing capability, the Expedition makes an excellent vehicle for daily chores or for heading out on a family road trip.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The 22-inch wheels fit well given the Expedition’s size.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The squared-off design creates a large interior space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Running boards automatically deploy when doors open.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The Expedition Platinum stands out thanks to a shiny mesh grille and chrome accents.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The chrome band across the tailgate is a nice touch.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The chrome bars in the grille design give Expedition an even wider stance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Expedition has almost 10 inches of ground clearance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Running boards remain hidden when doors are closed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The Expedition Max is about 12 inches longer than the standard Expedition.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Cargo Management System.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Cargo Management System.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Rear seats can be folded individually via buttons in the cargo area.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Second-row seats fold and slide for easy access to the third row.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Rear-seat climate controls and charge ports.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The panoramic sunroof provides an open, airy feeling in the cabin.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
The center of the gauge cluster can be configured to display a variety of information.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
A heated leather steering wheel is standard on the Expedition Platinum.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Expedition Max
Bold styling exudes a formidable presence.

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