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First drive: 2015 Ford Expedition Platinum new model with more power

2015 Ford Expedition adds new colors like Magnetic
2015 Ford Expedition adds new colors like Magnetic
Ford by permission

The 2015 Expedition full-size SUV line-up from Ford serves notice that they are solidly committed to the category and will continue to challenge current segment leadership with more power, more capability, more features plus upping the ante by adding a new top-of-the-line Platinum edition.

Ford adds urban Platinum to line for 2015
austinautoboomer by permission

Ford, recognizing need for an even more refined full-size three-row and eight-passenger SUV for its most affluent customers, has added the Platinum series as the top-of-the-line model to round out a full-size SUV line that includes the sporty XLT, a more refined Limited and the iconic King Ranch that appeals to the rural and rugged driver. The Platinum, much like its truck brother the F-150 Platinum edition, brings a new and distinct urban version with more refinement targeting the city and suburban customer.

One thing Ford did not do (as some competitors have) is to make any major body style changes for 2015 - noting that their customer is very comfortable with the current design overall. But they did freshen it up some starting with a new all-wheel line for each trim and adding 22-inch wheels and tires as a new option, updating the front end to include Halogen Projector Headlamps and LED Fog Lamps, redesigned the rear hatch and added a chrome-tipped exhaust, freshened the center stack and console plus used new fabrics including an awesomely soft and supple Burnello leather seating trim.

They also have added four new colors: Green Gem, Blue Jeans, Bronze Fire and Magnetic - plus for the King Ranch, a new Caribou exterior trim color along with Mesa Brown Leather on the inside.

For 2015, every model in the expanded lineup will have available both a standard length 119-inch wheelbase and an extended length (EL) model with a 131-inch wheelbase. All trim levels will have either a 4x2 or a 4x4 drive configuration to choose from.

Perhaps most importantly, the new 2015 Ford Expedition features a new power plant (borrowed from the F-150) – the EcoBoost 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 – that provides more horsepower and torque along with an anticipated 15 percent boost in fuel economy over the 2014 model Expedition that is powered by a 5.4L V8.

Adding to that, the 2015 Expedition will have (first time in a Ford) a Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension that allows drivers to select from three drive modes – COMFORT, NORMAL and SPORT to tailor their ride/drive experience to the road conditions and/or personal preference.

The new Ford CCD uses a suite of sensors to continuously monitor 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs. From those inputs, the 2015 Expedition CCD technology analyzes the weight of the vehicle, steering feedback and road undulations and reacts in milliseconds appropriately to help control wheel and body motions so the driver is more in control and passengers experience a more comfortable ride.

To add to the driving responsiveness of the new Expedition, Ford has also equipped it with a specially tuned electric power-assisted steering that reduces steering effort, improves low speed maneuverability and provides more driver feedback at high speeds – all resulting in a more satisfying driver and rider experience. The 2015 Expedition with the new 22-inch wheels and tires available for the first time add to the improved driving dynamics.

Ford wants you to remember that this 2015 Ford Expedition is still a body on frame utility vehicle - that it a serious truck and full-size SUV – all in one. Accordingly, Ford has made sure that its earlier truck capability has been maintained for 2015. The new Expedition retains all of its earlier generation attributes including a class leading 9,200 pound tow capacity that is supported by the Heavy Duty Tow Package, a Load Leveling System, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Sway Control and Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (TBC).

Other standard features (depending on model) include the Power Lift Gate, Rearview Camera, Power-Adjustable Pedals, Forward and Reverse Sensing Systems, Power/Tilt/Telescoping Steering Wheel with Audio Controls, Interior Ambient Lighting, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, along with Remote and Push Button Start and more.

In addition to its considerable tow capacity, the 2015 Expedition is also an eight person people hauler with its three row seating that offers real world adult room and comfort in all three rows. And, when you need the space for cargo, the second and third rows fold flat into the floor providing cargo capacity of 108.3 cubic feet in the standard length and 130.8 cubic feet in the extended length (EL) version.

There is plenty of technology in the 2015 Expedition as well - anchored by a Sony Audio system in several configurations including a 390-watt amplifier and 12-speaker set up plus an available 8-inch touch screen for the SYNC with MyFord Touch infomatics function that features driver information in the gauge cluster shown on two full-color 4.2-inch screens.

First Drive

The mountains of West Virginia was the setting for our first drive rollout for the media of the 2015 Ford Expedition in July. Ford brought a dozen of the new 2015 Ford Expedition pre-production SUV vehicles in the Platinum and King Ranch editions for the media to drive. The media test drive covered well over 100 miles along the highways and country roads through the rugged steep hills - from small town to village - on the way back to Charleston, W.Va.

Our 2015 Ford Expedition test drive was in a Platinum edition in the new Magnetic (Graphite) color with the new Ebony Brunello Leather interior highlighted by Agate Gray accents. Our Expedition – already extremely well equipped and appointed - was a 4x2 with the CCD system and was equipped with the 22-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels, Second Row Bucket Seats, Power Moonroof, Power Deployable Running Boards and Voice Activated Navigation with HD Radio.

As we noted earlier, the power for the 2015 Expedition comes from the standard 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine that produces 365 horsepower with 420 lb.-ft of torque and is mated to a Six-Speed SelectShift automatic transmission with manual shift mode. We found the new EcoBoost power plant to be more than adequate for an SUV that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. Acceleration was particularly noteworthy (measurably better than the V8) with power train tuning that peaks torque at 2,250 rpm enabling quick and efficient use of the horsepower available in the V6.

During our test drive, driving in SPORT mode most of the way, the on-board computer showed our fuel economy (with all of the up and down hill plus fast and then slow – mostly country road – driving) to be an average 21.8 mpg which is significantly more than the 16 mpg EPA rating for the V8 in the 2014 Expedition.

The new 2015 Ford Expedition is a very good drive – handles well (we loved the 22-inch wheels), is responsive to the road and comfortable for both driver and passengers. In particular, we noted the quietness of the cabin. Quiet that is created by new and improved seals on the body that reduce air leaks by 20 percent, new sound dampening material in the cabin pillars and packed into the center console, plus sound absorbent carpeting, headliners and door trim panels. Lastly, the Expedition is equipped with acoustic windshield glass on all models to further reduce outside noises.

The new 2015 Ford Explorer will be available later this year with pricing to be announced closer to launch. Ford did say to expect the MSRP price range to be from just over $40,000 for the base XLT up to a bit under $64,000 for the new top-of-the-line Platinum.

If you are in the full-size SUV market this fall, you will need to take a look at the 2015 Ford Expedition.