Road Test: 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD


by Kivi



Ford’s Big Wagon Is on Top of its Game

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
Leader of the pack

Full-sized luxury SUVs are hot sellers in today’s market and the Ford Expedition is the hottest seller of the bunch.  Most confuse luxury with tacky trim applied to a pedestrian SUV, but occasionally a new or updated SUV comes to market that hits all the right buttons for size, luxury, performance, and safety.  The freshly updated 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch 4×4 is one of those vehicles.  Ford has stepped up its game in this space and has risen to the top of the large SUV market.

The new Expedition Max builds on a solid structure with its body on frame construction shared with Ford’s heavy-duty trucks.  Powered by the same Eco-Boost 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine found in the Ford F-150 Raptor, this engine is good for 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque mated to a 10-speed transmission.  Not only does this engine power the Expedition Max effortlessly from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds, but it also manages to do it while returning an EPA rating of 21 mpg highway.  In our highway testing we returned an average of 23 mpg. Combine that with a 27.8-gallon gas tank, and the big Ford can travel more than 500 miles on a single tank. For an almost three-ton vehicle, that is a miracle in itself.

A Truck Underneath, But Not Inside

Based on a truck chassis, the Expedition’s engineers have managed to build a body that is well insulated from engine and road noise so that the interior is whisper-quiet.  The body uses aluminum components throughout.  While this shaves off some weight, it mainly contributes to the body’s rigidity, which adds to the comfortable ride. An optional towing package is available that gives the Expedition Max a towing capacity up to 9,300 pounds and features Pro Trailer Backup Assist, making it easier than ever for customers to tow and haul with confidence.

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
Plenty of power and surprising fuel economy

The 2020 Expedition Max has multiple drive modes, with intelligent two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive available with a turn of a center-mounted knob.  There are also several drive modes optimized for the conditions, like Normal for around town, Sport for spirited driving, Tow/Hauling for improved towing and hauling performance, Eco for enhanced fuel economy, Grass/Gravel/Snow for loose terrain, Sand for low-traction situations, and Mud/Ruts for uneven surfaces. Expedition drivers also can manually select either 2WD or 4WD modes in a given drive mode, depending on their preferences and the terrain.  The Expedition Max sits on 22-inch machined aluminum wheels that accentuate the Expedition’s massive body.  The Expedition is available in two sizes, huge and humongous (Max in Ford-speak), with 122.5-inch wheelbase and 210.0-inch overall or 131.6-inch wheelbase and 221.9-inch overall length for the Max.

Despite the taut body and multiple drive modes, driving the Expedition Max will never be confused with driving a big euro sedan.  The Expedition Max is a massive vehicle, you sit up high off the road, and you feel its heft and inertia, but the driver always feels in control despite its 5794-pound weight.  It is subtle, but the Expedition Max has that stout ruggedness of a large body-on-frame SUV.  The Expedition drives firmly with very little body roll.

Ranch Dressing

Our test 2020 Ford Expedition Max came with the second to top level 4WD trim, the King Ranch Edition, which has returned as the only full-sized SUV authentically inspired by the iconic Texas ranch.  The Expedition King Ranch includes premium updates inside and out, such as elegant Stone-Gray paint on the grille mesh, lower bumpers, power-deployable running boards, rear bumper skid plate, trailer hitch cover, roof-rack side rails and side mirror caps.

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
Leather separates the King Ranch from the herd

The Expedition Max King Ranch rides on 22-inch, six-spoke painted, machined-face aluminum wheels with dark tarnish-painted pockets. King Ranch badging, with the famed “Running W” logo, appears on the body sides, liftgate and wheel center caps.

Inside, premium Del Rio leather covers all three rows of seats. Ebony Del Rio leather covers the door trim while Mesa Del Rio leather gives a soft touch to the door armrests. The steering wheel is wrapped in Mesa Del Rio leather and features elegant Kingsville stitching. The center console combines Del Rio leather trim and Ziricote wood veneer.

The King Ranch comes standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Assist driver-assist technology, with continuously controlled damping, 360-degree camera with split-view and front/rear washer, power-folding, heated sideview mirrors with turn-signal indicators, security approach lamps and auto-dimming driver’s side mirror.

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
A package suitable for work and play

The Expedition Max comes with seven-passenger seating for seven full-sized adults with the option for a second-row additional seat for eight passengers total. The rear seats in the Expedition Max are just as spacious as those in the front and trimmed in the same Ebony Del Rio leathers and woods as the rest of the SUV. This interior is like the exterior, huge. The driver and passenger seats feature 10-way adjustability as well as individual heating, cooling and massage.  No need to schedule time in a spa, as time in these seats will have you relaxed in no time at all. The middle seats are individual buckets with a center console that allows control of the heating and cooling as well as operating the sound system through an LCD screen.  First and second row passengers are treated to an express opening, sliding and tilting glass sunroof.

More of the Inside Story

The sound system in the Expedition Max is a 12-speaker B&O surround-sound system that features the most massive subwoofer ever mounted in a Ford. The clean, crisp audio imaging is incredible.  This sound system has to be heard to believed.  It is one of the most excellent audio systems we have ever tested.

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
Current tech features fill the quiet cabin

The cabin has an abundance of cupholders, and cubbies for storage and the middle seats feature a one-touch tilt and slide feature that makes it easy for passengers to reach the third-row seats. Open the side doors, and power-folding running boards extend to assist your entry.

The driver’s display keeps with the underlying theme of the Ford, which is that everything is huge.  The driver’s screens are dual 4.2-inch fully digital displays flanking the speedometer that can be configured to show just about any combination of information the driver desires.  This display is backed up by a second, 8.0-inch touchscreen display in the center console that offers entertainment, navigation, and information displays, and still, a third head-up display projects on the windshield.

The Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD’s standard equipment includes all of Ford’s available driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control that can stop and start the vehicle without driver intervention, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and lane keep assist.  An optional self-parking system is available to complement the front and rear parking sensors and surround-view camera system.

A Big Standard

The 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD sets the new standard for mega-SUVs.  It is a living room on wheels with a quiet, comfortable, smooth ride with excellent chassis manners, whether it’s cruising on the interstate or on the back 40 of the ranch rounding up cattle.  Its creature conveniences, safety features and electronics are world-class. 

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch Max 4WD
If you need this big of an SUV, the Expedition should be top of your list

The 2020 Ford Expedition starts at about $52,810.  Our Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD is a premium-priced model with options and destination charges of $81,680. The base model Expedition XLT SUV starts at $52,810 for a short-wheelbase, 2WD version.  As with other versions of the Expedition, the option list is long and very deep, so it’s easy to configure one to your exact needs.

It’s an economical vehicle (relatively speaking) for an almost 6,000-pound SUV with a 16 mpg city/21 highway/18 combined EPA rating.  We observed 23 mpg during our testing. 

While the Ford Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, it really resets the standard for a top-of-the-line luxury SUV today, and if you are in the market for an SUV that is at the top of its game, then the Expedition or Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD should be on your consideration list.

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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

The post Road Test: 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch 4WD first appeared on Clean Fleet Report.

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