The 2018 Ford Expedition Max is one of America's largest and most capable full-size SUVs. The Expedition we had a chance to drive was a loaded Platinum 4X4 trim. If there is a luxury feature missing, we didn't notice it. This is a plush SUV with comfort and amenities on-par with the 2018 Land Rover Discovery we tested a week prior. With a price point of about $80K (our tester was a pre-production model, but that is what the vehicle sells for), one might, and should, expect excellence in many areas. We found a few that many shoppers might not assume the Expedition Max Platinum would excel at and we would like to highlight them.
2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum - Highway and Suburban Back Roads Driving Pleasure
The first area we feel the 2018 Ford Expedition Max will surprise a shopper is the excellent highway and back-roads handling and road feel. We've tested many vehicles this size over the years, or nearly this size, and have often found them unpleasant to drive in. To be fair, I'm personally biased towards compact crossovers, sporty hatchbacks, and roadsters. My expectations for driving pleasure are high. And the Expedition Max exceeded them.
On the highway, the Expedition Max has visibility I would rate above average. The view out the back is much better than one would expect, and the headrests from the two rear rows are not in the way. Forward and side visibility is outstanding and blind spot monitoring helps in certain scenarios. Having a strong situational awareness allows a driver to feel more in control and the Expedition Max impressed me.
Steering is surprisingly tight and the Expedition Max tracks straight down the highway. It is so smooth and so confidence-inspiring, one has to watch speeds or pay the price with a ticket. Lane changes and merging on and off the highway are easy and the Expedition Max seems to drive smaller than its size. Despite my preference for a more compact vehicle, I enjoyed the highway ride of Expedition Max.
On back roads in my rural New England area, the roads are still broken up from the winter potholes and frost heaves. The Expedition Max was very at home over these rough areas. Even the largest bumps were easily absorbed by the suspension. Here the Expedition Max drives well. It's not a sports car, or even a sporty SUV like the Edge Sport, but the Expedition Max is enjoyable in this setting. Much more so than one might expect, particularly if you have driven older Suburbans or Expeditions.
2018 Ford Expedition Max - Infotainment
Ford's modern infotainment system, called Sync 3, is easy to use and intuitive. Screens are bright, clear, and the touchscreen and other controls are logical and function very well. Ford was a pioneer in the modern infotainment we all now take for granted and took a beating in the press for some early versions of Sync. Some of that was justified, much of it was not. We found the infotainment in our tester to be on par with our favorite of all, the FCA (Jeep, RAM) systems. Ford's screen could be a smidge larger. An 8" screen looks small in such a large vehicle, but overall it worked very well. Phone pairing is quick and efficient, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto is always a plus.
2019 Ford Expedition Max - Interior ity
The seats and interior quality of the Expedition Max Platinum equaled the Land Rover we recently tested for attractiveness, comfort, and perceived quality. The front seats both have massage, heating, and cooling. The middle row captain's chairs are airport-limo quality and the rear three seats are as large as any we have seen in any vehicle. Behind the third row is a huge cargo area. An Expedition Max Platinum has it all inside. Wireless phone charging for example. My son's brand new iPhone required no special interaction to begin charging. Simply lay the iPhone in the cradle and power begins to go up.
We found that the 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum met every expectation we had for the engine, transmission, and other aspects of an $80K vehicle. What impressed us most was that we feel it may well exceed most shoppers' expectations of ride quality, infotainment, and interior luxury.