The Bronco earned its place as Ford’s most capable adventurer when it debuted in the late 1960s, but even its rugged design and penchant for off-road exploration couldn’t protect it from the industry’s vastly changing trends. By the late 1990s, demand for the two-door SUV dropped exponentially, leaving Ford to deliver an alternative–a four-door SUV known as the Expedition. Built on the F-150 platform, the Expedition quickly proved its chops as a full-size SUV that was family-friendly, spacious, and customizable to fit every lifestyle need.
Today, the 2023 Ford Expedition peacefully cohabitates with the Bronco and continues its heritage as the largest and most accommodating SUV in the Ford lineup. So, how does it manage such a feat? Ford does something remarkable by giving the Expedition a functional and sophisticated design that can be treated like a blank canvas to fit your driving, budget, and lifestyle needs.
Trims and packages like the Timberline and Stealth Performance Edition give the Expedition an edge over rivals from Chevrolet and GMC. They also embody Ford’s rich history in offering drivers everything they want and need in their vehicles. Here’s a closer look at how the 2023 Expedition manages this with its diverse lineup that reflects our ongoing quest for perfection and customization.
Size Matters: Expedition vs. Expedition MAX
Size is integral to the Expedition lineup for 2023 and showcases how the SUV can adapt to different needs. For example, the Expedition comes standard with five-passenger seating across a two-row layout with a 40-20-40 split-folding second row. However, by opting for models like the Expedition XLT, you can extend the SUV’s versatility and add a third-row 60-40 PowerFold seat with a power recline feature that adds room for three more passengers. You’ll find the same layout on the Expedition MAX, but there’s a notable difference in interior space and capacities.
The Expedition MAX differentiates itself from its XL and XLT counterparts by stretching the SUV’s wheelbase from 122.5 in to 131.6 in and its length from 210 to 221.9 in. This extension translates to a larger cabin that offers comparable passenger volume at 172 cu.ft. It also results in similar interior dimensions, at least in terms of passengers. For example, headroom in all three models measures 42 in in the front row, 40 in in the second row, and 37.3 to 37.4 in in the third row. Likewise, legroom measurements are similar, with front-row passengers having 43.9 in, second-row passengers 41.5 in, and third-row passengers 36.1 in. So, where does the MAX distinguish itself if passenger volume is the same as its smaller cohorts?
The Expedition MAX builds on the SUV’s spacious cabin, adding more room for cargo. The difference is remarkable, with the MAX boasting 121.5 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the first row compared to the Expedition XL and XLT at 104.6 cu.ft. The MAX’s stretched wheelbase also means more room for bulkier items behind the second and third rows, with volume measuring up to 79.6 cu.ft. and 34.3 cu.ft. Conversely, the standard Expedition is drastically smaller, offering 19.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row and a mere 63.6 cu.ft. behind the second row.
The difference in size between the Expedition and MAX comes down to comfort and functionality. The Expedition MAX can haul up to eight passengers and an entire range of gear, from sleeping bags and camping equipment to small furniture, sports gear, luggage, groceries, and more. Downsizing to the standard Expedition doesn’t compromise passenger volume but impacts how much cargo you can comfortably haul without imposing on your second and third-row passengers.
Meet the Most Adventurous: Expedition Timberline
Ford gives you plenty of options to customize the Expedition to your lifestyle needs beyond options like the MAX. For example, the Timberline transforms the SUV into a capable adventurer that you can confidently take off the beaten path. So, how does the Timberline ready itself for the trail?
Ford swaps the Expedition’s standard 3.5L EcoBoost engine for its high-output alternative, adds underbody skid plates to the four-wheel drive model, and equips the SUV with a heavy-duty engine radiator. In addition, the Timberline’s uniquely tuned rough road suspension boasts off-road shocks that enhance the Expedition’s performance and, with the large 32.6-inch tires, give it a best-in-class ground clearance of 10.6 in. Fortunately, Ford doesn’t stop there and adds its standard antilock brake system with Trail Control and the intelligent four-wheel drive with Terrain Management System. These tools enhance your control over the SUV on technical terrain and allow you to tailor its performance to the situation.
Meet the Stealthiest: Expedition Stealth Performance Edition
Ford recognizes that drivers appreciate any opportunity to customize their rides beyond the status quo, which is at the heart of the Expedition’s Stealth Performance Edition Package. We’re all looking to leave a unique mark on the world, and this package answers that need. How so?
Like the Timberline, the Stealth Performance Edition package swaps the Expedition’s standard powerplant for the high-output 3.5L EcoBoost that elevates the SUV’s on-road performance. It also immediately distinguishes itself in the lineup by adding sleek exterior features and gloss black accents. These details contrast the red brake calipers behind the SUV’s premium 22-inch black-painted aluminum wheels.
Inside, the Stealth Performance Package enhances your experience behind the wheel. The package builds on the Expedition’s trim lineup but guarantees an immersive listening experience by replacing the standard audio system with a 22-speaker setup from Bang & Olufsen. Known as the Unleashed Sound System, the audio delivers an immersive, concert-like listening experience to every seat in the best-selling SUV.
Meet the Most Luxurious: Expedition Platinum
The 2023 Expedition Platinum proves you don’t have to sacrifice luxury or comfort when you drive a family-friendly SUV. The top-tier trim guarantees as much with exclusive features like its continuously controlled damping with Suspension Road Preview. This unique system enhances the SUV’s ride quality and performance by detecting and responding to potholes, obstacles, and deviations in the road. As a result, you and your passengers enjoy a more comfortable ride, and you maintain greater control over the SUV.
The Platinum takes this comfort further with unique features like its multi-contour seats with Active Motion Massage. The setup transforms the front-row captain’s chairs into mobile massaging stations that provide additional lumbar support and a massage to minimize leg and lower back fatigue. Paired with standard leather upholstery, the seats are also heated and ventilated for optimal comfort in any climate or condition.
The Perfect SUV… It Does Exist
Henry Ford learned a valuable lesson after the debut of the Model T in the early 1900s. He discovered that drivers were willing to customize the Model T to their needs, specifically by modifying the Model T as a pickup truck. These alterations laid the foundation for the Ford Motor Company and gave rise to the many options of customization we see today across the Ford lineup.
The 2023 Expedition is a prime example of this because it’s a functional SUV designed to meet a variety of lifestyles. While the Timberline readies the Expedition for off-road adventures, the Platinum answers the need for luxury. Likewise, the Expedition MAX expands the SUV’s cargo-hauling capacity to adapt to every situation or demand readily.
This versatility makes the Expedition one of the best-selling SUVs in the industry, especially the 2023 model. It’s an SUV that can adjust to your lifestyle without forcing you to settle for less or lower your standards. As a result, it continues its reign as the most versatile and functional SUV that pays homage to the automaker’s legendary history in the American automotive landscape.