2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch

The 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch edition continues to do both brands (Ford and King Ranch) proud in delivering a top notch full-size eight-passenger SUV with more power and features that provide consumers one of the most ruggedly capable, yet comfortable and premium appointed vehicles in the segment.

Ford by permission

We recently spent a week driving a new 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch EL (extended length) 4×4 around Central Texas to see what was new, what was the same and why this latest King Ranch is the best one yet.

First, let ’s get the numbers out of the way. The base price on our test King Ranch EL 4×4 was $62,500. It had added the power deployable running boards ($995) plus the new 22-inch wheels with King Ranch logo insert caps ($2,180) and freight ($1,195) for a delivered price of $66,990.

As we have reported before, the one thing Ford did not do for 2015 is make any major body style changes as they felt their King Ranch customer was very comfortable with the current design overall – a design that works, provides convenience with amenities and a comfortable drive, but skips some of the superfluous (frou-frou) touches found in some other brands.

2015 Expedition is still a Body-on-Frame SUV
Both King Ranch and Ford will remind you that this 2015 Ford Expedition is still a body on frame utility vehicle. It is both a serious truck and a full-size SUV – all in one – which is a key to its success. Needless to say, the King Ranch in Texas buys a lot of them for both business and personal use.

Knowing their customer, Ford has made sure that its heritage truck capability has been maintained for 2015. The new King Ranch Expedition EL 4×4 retains all of its earlier generation attributes including a class leading 9,100 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).

But there is some freshening on the King Ranch and across the line starting with a new all-wheel line for each trim and adding new 22-inch polished aluminum wheels that are found on the King Ranch EL that we tested. Other updates include new Halogen Projector Headlamps and LED Fog Lamps, a redesigned rear hatch, chrome-tipped exhaust, a redesigned the center stack and console on the inside plus new fabrics including a new Mesa Brown leather interior with wood accents on the King Ranch including stitched logo on the seating.

Power plant is the 3.5L EcoBoost V6
The big change is the power plant. No more V8, they don ’t need it. Instead, all of the 2015 Expeditions are powered by the same engine – already proven in the F-150 – the EcoBoost 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 which delivers 365 horsepower and a whopping 420 lb.-ft. of torque that easily handles up to 9,100 pounds of tow – more than many full-size pickup trucks out there.

With three row seating for up to eight plus an ability to pull the big trailer for work and camping or boat for fishing, the new Expedition meets just about every conceivable need for both work and play.

Fuel economy ratings for the EcoBoost-powered Expedition King Ranch EL 4×4 are 14/20 mpg city/highway with an expected average of 16 mpg. We drove the King Ranch EL around 300 miles during the week and averaged 17.3 mpg on mixed road types.

Ford also added four new colors: Green Gem, Blue Jeans, Bronze Fire (on our King Ranch EL) and Magnetic – plus for the King Ranch – a new Caribou exterior trim color is featured on the traditional exterior. A monotone color scheme (on our test EL) is available.

New Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD)
Our 2015 King Ranch EL had the new (a first time in a Ford) 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 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 performance in relation to the road conditions to adjust suspension and steering for driver control and passenger comfort. To add to the CCD driving responsiveness, the new Expedition is equipped with a specially tuned electric power-assisted steering that reduces steering effort, improves low speed maneuverability and provides more driver feedback at high speeds.

Other Features of the Expedition King Ranch EL
Other standard features on the Expedition King Ranch EL included 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.

There was plenty of technology in the 2015 Expedition King Ranch EL 4×4 as well – anchored by a Sony Audio system with a 390-watt amplifier and 12-speaker set up plus an 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.

The EL and Fold Flat Floor Advantage
All of the 2015 Expeditions feature a power fold flat floor advantage which is the result of its independent rear suspension (instead of the usual solid axle) that allows a lower deck height behind the front seats all the way to the back hatch.

The extended length EL has a 131-inch wheelbase compared to the standard 119-inch. With the extended length, our King Ranch EL had nearly 131 cubic feet of cargo space with second and third rows flat; almost 86 cubic feet behind the second row and still almost 43 cubic feet behind the third row.

Where we come from, that is people hauler room for a foursome of golf bags or crew bags for eight oilfield workers or even saddles and bags as needed for a gaggle of ranch hands on board.

King Ranch is Comfortable and Quiet
The King Ranch EL is remarkably quiet in the cabin – just as we experienced in the Platinum edition we drove back in July. Ford spent a fair amount of engineering effort to make the new 2015 Expedition quieter as part of the refresh – developing new and improved seals on the body that reduce air leaks by 20 percent, using new sound dampening material in the cabin pillars and packed into the center console, plus sound absorbent carpeting, headliners and door trim panels and acoustic windshield glass on all models to further reduce outside noises.

Seating comfort with plenty of head, leg and shoulder room in all three rows is another competitive advantage for the Expedition EL. The extra length plus the lower floor height gives even the third row passengers 38-inches of head and legroom which is more than some competitor ’s second rows.

MEMO: Expedition Platinum First Drive in July
Our first drive of the 2015 Ford Expedition was in July of this year when we spent part of day driving over 100 miles in the hills of West Virginia in a brand new Platinum edition clad in the new Magnetic (Graphite) color with the lush Ebony Brunello Leather interior highlighted by Agate Gray accents.

The Platinum test vehicle was not the longer EL or 4×4 as was the King Ranch we just drove. But, as the Titanium, it was extremely well equipped with the CCD system, 22-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels, Second Row Bucket Seats, Power Moonroof, Power Deployable Running Boards and Voice Activated Navigation with HD Radio.

The new standard 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine and power train performed exceptionally well in the Platinum – maximizing the 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque up, down, and along the two lane roads and interstates of West Virginia. Using the CCD driver selectable Drive Mode system in SPORT most of the way, we found acceleration and shift control points performed beyond our expectations on the mountain roads of West Virginia.

We did not have pricing on this Platinum at the time of the drive. But, using the ‘Build & Price ’ feature on the Expedition web site, we estimate the sticker price for that vehicle (including delivery) at $63,795. As a Platinum EL in a 4×4 configuration like the King Ranch we just drove, it would price at $67,845.

Will Ford steal the show at the 2015 North American International Auto Show?

This year ’s NAIAS is shaping up to be one of the best shows held in Detroit for over a decade. So far there will be over 40 vehicles to debut at this year ’s auto show that starts this Monday. Some of the vehicles have already been leaked by the automakers ahead of the show, while others are still being speculated. While this show is usually a platform that many automakers use as a exhibit to show their new concepts and upcoming production cars, Ford is preparing to be the talk of the town.

Acura

After teasing us with different concept versions of the NSX ever since the 2012 show Acura will be showing the production version of the NSX in Detroit. The NSX second life has been transformed into a high technology hybrid supercar.

Alfa Romeo

After 20 years of absents from selling cars in the USA Alfa Romeo will unveil a second variation of the 4C that was show at last year ’s show. The 4C will lose its roof and be debuted as the 4C Spyder.

Audi

This year Audi will be debuting the 2016 Q7 SUV. The current Q7 has aged well though it is one of the oldest vehicles on the market currently. The new SUV will be sleeker and lighter than its predecessor.

BMW

BMW will use this year ’s show to show the refreshed 6 series family. They will be debuting the 6 Series coupe, convertible, 4 door Gran Coupe, and the beefed up M6 versions of all three. BMW will highlight a electric –hydrogen fuel cell concept for their i Series.

Buick

Buick is said to be going up market at NAIAS this year; not only with vehicles but in the location of its showcase. Buick is going to locate the Buick exhibit amongst other premium brands. This exhibit is to be showcasing a new convertible. The speculations are that Buick could bring the convertible from its Opel brand from Europe to our shores.

Cadillac

Cadillac will bring its most powerful model to Detroit. The 2016 CTS-V will have a tuned down version of the corvette Z06 ’s Supercharged 6.2L V8. The V8 will produce 640hp 630 lb-ft torque to its rear wheels. One vehicle that will be missing from the mix is Cadillac ’s new Flagship CT6 that is scheduled to debut later in the year.

Chevrolet

The biggest news for Chevy this year is the 2016 Volt. The Volt should showcase a bunch of technology for GM along with a brand new look. It is speculated that Chevy will not debut the next generation of the Next Camaro in Detroit.

GAC Group

This Chinese Automaker will try to make a big splash by making a world debut at NAIAS this year. This Vehicle is called the GS4 a high- performance CUV. The GS4 is said to use a small displacement to turbocharged engine.

Honda

Honda will be bringing the FCX concept to Detroit. The concept will show the future for its hydrogen vehicle development. This vehicle has a range of over 300 miles and it could be close to production.

Hyundai

The biggest new thus far from Hyundai is the 2016 Sonata Hybrid. The Sonata was updated for 2015 and just like the last generation Sonata a hybrid model will be joining the stable to provide customers with a more efficient option. It is speculated that an updated Veloster might debut.

Infiniti

Infiniti is will be showing its sporty style this year by showing the Q60 concept. This 2 door sports coupe it to show the styling direction of the next generation Q60 which has also been known as the G37 Coupe.

Jaguar

Although it hasn ’t been confirmed, Jaguar could be preparing something big at this year ’s show. The story is that the possible vehicle could be the next generation of the XF sedan.

Lexus

It looks like Lexus will debut two vehicles at this year ’s show; one to go fast and to haul up to five passengers and one all terrain vehicles that can haul up to 5 passengers. The long rumored GS F will finally make it to production for 2016. The big sedan will become very potent with the V8 that powers the RC F couple. The other vehicle could be the possible debut of the all new RX CUV. Not much news has come out Lexus ’s bread and butter CUV.

Lincoln

The Lincoln Motor Company has shown significant vehicles to NAIAS for the last three years. This year they will be using the show to debut the completely new 2016 MKX CUV.

Mercedes Benz

The biggest news from Mercedes is coming from their performance oriented division. Mercedes will be introducing the AMG Sport line. The AMG Sport line will be a package that gives people some of the sport themed feature that you can find in the full blown AMG model without all the go fast bits. You can expect the AMG Sport package will provide a more aggressive appearance package, wheel and tire package, suspension package to make the vehicle handle more sharply, and maybe a little more power than the non-sport package. There should be a coupe AMG Sport models present at the auto show

The GLE 63 AMG Coupe model will appear. This SUV with a coupe-like roof should pack a high performance twin turbocharged V8, a very aggressive stance, and a meaner look to it.

Mini

The Mini John Coopers Works will come out. The recently redesigned Mini Cooper will be packing a powerful turbocharged 4-cylender under its hook. The JCW Mini will also be sporting more aggressive body work.

Nissan

Nissan will be bringing the new 2016 Tundra this year. This full sized pickup will host a lot of improvements over the current version. The power trains will be as big of a showcase as the new pick up. The light duty pick up might be offered with a Cummings diesel motor as an option.

Ram

Ram is scheduled to bring something to this year ’s show, but no one outside of FCA seem to know what that something is. It is speculated that they will show an updated 2016 1500. The other rumors are that Ram will show a concept nodding towards what to expect for the next generation of the 1500. There is even word that the surprise vehicle could be a Ford F150 Raptor fighter.

Toyota

Toyota will be updating its best selling Tacoma small pickup truck this year. With the segment getting more competitive with the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon coming back to the segment, Toyota has decided to redesign the Tacoma to stay on top of the list

Volkswagen

VW is scheduled to be showing a concept SUV at the show. Not much has been said about this vehicle other than it could hold 5 passages.

Volvo

Volvo has announces it is bring a brand new production vehicle to the show. This new vehicle is the S60 Cross Country sedan. The S60 CC is a similar to the regular S60 with more clearance. It crosses over from a car and CUV.

Ford

So far it seems as if ford has the most going on for the show. Ford will be premiering their new performance brand. This performance brand will be bringing 14 performance focused vehicles to the market by 2020.

An updated Fiesta ST will be shown at the show. It won ’t be a total redesign but an update.

The Focus RS is rumored to be shown in Detroit. The RS will be a high performance all-wheel-drive Focus.

The Shelby GT350R Mustang will also come to light in Detroit. The GT350R will be a higher performance version of the GT350 that debuted last month at the LA Auto show. While the GT350 packs quite a punch it will be interesting to see the differences between the models.

Ford wont just bring the high performance to just the cars. Ford will either show an all new F150 Raptor or a recently trademarked EcoBeast model to the auto show. Whichever truck that shows up at the auto show should make a big splash in Detroit

This last model is the most speculated vehicle of the show so far. Ford has confirmed that it plans to bring a halo car to the show. Ford hasn ’t produced a Halo car since the GT.

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