First Impressions: 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

How big of an SUV do you need, really?

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018

The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place in October at the Autobahn Country Club southwest of Chicago, gave car-ED the opportunity to check out a bunch of vehicles we might not have otherwise seen. The 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum caught our attention — how could it not? The largest version of this large SUV dominated the vehicle parking area. It’s understandable that this Expedition wasn’t allowed out on the track, so we hopped in and headed out to the country roads that surround the country club. Based on that brief drive, here are our thoughts on this super-sized version of the Expedition.

The Ford Expedition, the brand’s large, traditional SUV, is available in three trim levels, all of which can be upgraded to the extended-wheelbase Max. Thus, the Max Platinum is the top-tier Expedition with extra passenger room and an additional 15 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s huge, yet comfortable and surprisingly easy to handle. The overall vibe of the Expedition’s cabin is rather masculine, thanks to black leather upholstery, dark trim, and a beefy steering wheel. The seats are extremely comfortable, which is nice, and there are some touches that help lighten everything up, such as a massive panoramic moonroof and a stylish instrument panel with blue illumination. Visibility is actually pretty good for such a large vehicle, which was a pleasant surprise.

Driving the Expedition Max Platinum was a similar story. We were impressed by the fact that the cabin was very quiet, despite a lot of semi truck traffic in the area where the test drive took place. Every Expedition is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine, and in Platinum trim, it’s tuned for 400 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties, and four-wheel drive is included in this trim. Let’s be fair: that is plenty of power. But there were still some issues, performance-wise. For example, the fuel-saving engine stop-start system is noticeable (but not terribly distracting). It takes a long time to come to a stop (understandable; again, this is a massive vehicle). Our biggest problem was with the steering, which is rather loose and requires a lot of input to turn. It’s not hard to turn; it’s just that cranking the steering wheel is disproportionate to how much the vehicle actually turns, resulting in a kind of floaty feeling.

In terms of pricing? Yikes. The regular Ford Expedition starts at $51,790, but there is nothing regular about the Max Platinum. The test vehicle provided at the MAMA Rally has a base price of $78,865 (Platinum trim plus the Max extended wheelbase option) and had a total price of $83,210, after options such as second-row captain’s chairs, a rear row entertainment system, and the heavy duty trailering package. That’s well into luxury SUV pricing territory, though it’s fair to note both that few luxury SUVs can match the Expedition Max Platinum’s massiveness, and that this Expedition is really nice. The 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum is available now.