People who say "size doesn't matter" have probably not yet indulged in the ride comfort of Ford's largest and most plush SUV in the country, the Expedition Platinum EL (Extended Length). If its predecessor failed to invoke the impression of roominess and heft, Ford attached an extra 14.8 inches in length, making sure the EL rightfully deserved its tag.
Aside from supersizing it, Ford Philippines also made sure the interior was made of premium materials and equipment so that calling it 'Platinum' wouldn't be so out of place. With such an upgrade it was but natural to take it out for a spin and have a look-see for myself if this Expedition truly lives up to its billing.
To call it 'massive' from a quick glance would not be overstating the obvious. The Expedition Platinum EL is so enormous, my 5-year old exclaimed 'we got swallowed by a 'dinosaur car'' as soon as he climbed in.
Measuring 5609mm long, 2002mm wide and 1973mm high, this model is so much wider and longer than any test-drive I have ever had. I couldn't even even fit in the basement parking that easily accommodates even the Explorer Sport. This behemoth needed its own 'spatial' arrangement.
Outside, the Expedition Platinum EL isn't fancy by any measure — you can't even call it sexy. It's simply boxy and slim on all sides, making it appear formal to the point that you'd half expect members of the Presidential Security Group to jump out if it were in any official convoy. The only muscular impression comes from the slightly raised portion of the hood that aligns with the edges of the wide chrome grille.
Climbing inside the Expedition Platinum EL is a treat unto itself. The running board deploys from under the chassis as soon as a door is opened so you can step up comfortably. It flips right back under the chassis after the doors are closed.
The cabin's real estate is so expansive — even by SUV standards — that the center console alone is almost a foot wide. That's big enough to hold every mobile device of each of the 9 passengers along with chargers and external batteries.
First and second row seats bear the 'Platinum' stitching and are of micro perforated leather with Brunello inserts, making it firm yet extremely comfortable.
The driver and front passenger seats are all power, 10-way adjustable and with lumbar support, while the second row adjusts two-way manually — making its legroom very customizable. The third row sports PowerFold technology for when you've got considerable cargo to load. To make sure passengers feel the luxurious cool of the cabin, each row also has its own climate control vents, sending equal amounts of cool air from front to back.
As with any Ford vehicle, the dashboard is loaded with eye-candy and techie stuff that may take a few seconds of getting used to, depending on your penchant for such. The steering wheel comes with audio and cruise controls, and buttons to view vehicle settings. The trip computer can be found on the 4.2” monitor inside the instrument cluster
All the fun stuff is located on the 8-inch touchscreen of the Sony infotainment system, with SYNC and MyFord Touch. It has a CD player, AUX and Bluetooth input, which can blast your music through each of the cabin's 12 speakers. It also controls the air-conditioning system and doubles as the rearview monitor when backing up. It may look loaded and intimidating, but Ford's system is actually quite intuitive. After a few minutes familiarizing myself, I was tapping and customizing everything from the font hue to the accessory lighting.
The Expedition Platinum EL's engine may have been downsized, but that doesn't mean it's been downgraded. It now comes with a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 with EcoBoost technology that pumps out 370 PS and 569 Nm of torque; better numbers compared to the old V8 it used to have, and good enough to haul its 3-ton weight.
Being 5.6 meters long, it may seem overly difficult to handle, and it does feel like it for the first 30 minutes. You'll find yourself checking and rechecking side- and rearview mirrors just to make sure you've cleared curbs and vehicles on both sides.
Trust me, that's just a phase. You'll gain confidence after some seat time — maybe 30 minutes to an hour — and you'll be picking up the pace and happily enjoying the stability and comfort of this Expedition. The automatic transmission does an excellent job in taming the torque, and is perfectly calibrated to provide a smooth ride all throughout the six gears. There's an option for manual mode that you'll rarely use because, for an SUV this big, it just feels more natural to leave it automated.
One of the major advantages of riding in a vehicle this wide is its stability, coupled with the Expedition Platinum EL's multilink independent rear suspension: it's like your Laz-Z-Boy on wheels. Along with all these creature comforts comes equipment that's just practical for a vehicle with this much power. It comes with front tow hooks and a heavy-duty trailer tow package, allowing it to pull a speedboat and maybe a couple of jet skis, just as long as it doesn't exceed 4,173 kilograms (9,200 lbs). Being a premium product of Ford, it also is packed with a host of safety features, including BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.
The Expedition Platinum EL may be too much SUV as an everyday drive, even for the average Pinoy. It requires a vast garage and deep pockets with fuel consumption at 4.4 kilometers per liter in the city and 11 km/l on the highway. But that doesn't mean it ain't worth it. It is the perfect vehicle to take for those long drives out of town with the family. You and yours will be protected by Ford's many safety features and the trip is guaranteed to push through, even if it means going off-road.
If you want to travel in comfort, arrive in style and have Php 3.48 million to spare, the Ford Expedition Platinum EL may be well worth considering.