2020 Ford Expedition Max

2020 Ford Expedition Max Review: Larger Than Life

by Deiondre van der Merwe

The SUV market has become a saturated one, but at the larger end of the size spectrum, the range of full-size SUVs on offer is a relatively small selection. One such machine on offer is the larger than life Ford Expedition, which like many of its segment rivals, offers a long-wheelbase version in the form of the Ford Expedition Max. Going up against the GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Suburban, and Cadillac Escalade ESV is no easy feat, however, and despite the options being few in the segment, competition is rife. While most take on big hulking V8 engines to get the job done, the Expedition Max instead makes use of a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine, measuring 3.5 liters in displacement and developing up to 400 hp. With a gargantuan amount of space, Ford's Co-Pilot360 safety measures, and a potent-yet-frugal powertrain, the Expedition Max ranks highly on our list of long-wheelbase, full-size SUVs. But is it good enough to lure away GM loyalists?

Read in this review:

2020 Ford Expedition Max Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Expedition Max?

New for 2020, the King Ranch trim has been added to the roster, equipping 22-inch wheels, power-deployable running boards, premium leather, and real wood trim to the interior. The Platinum trim level receives upgraded leather upholstery and a new wheel design. In terms of infotainment, the Expedition Max range now comes stock-equipped with Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system and some added safety features, inclusive of lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring under the Ford Co-Pilot360 umbrella. Lastly, no fewer than five exterior paint colors have been replaced for the new year.

Pros and Cons

  • Class-leading space
  • Generous standard convenience features
  • Premium-feeling interior on higher trim levels
  • Powerful turbocharged engine
  • Competitive fuel economy
  • Maneuverability suffers because of its large size
  • Cheap-feeling materials used on lower trim levels
  • Higher trims are expensive

2020 Ford Expedition Max Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
XL
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$53,025
XLT
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$55,835
Limited
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$66,375
King Ranch
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$75,590
Platinum
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$76,965

Expedition Max Exterior

The Expedition Max is about as hard to miss as an elephant in a boutique store, but the Ford does well to dress its largest SUV up, though only higher trims are truly attractive as lower trim levels are equipped with halogen headlights and the XLT's 18-inch wheels are dwarfed by the Max's size. From the Limited trim you get 20-inch wheels and power-deployable running boards, while both these lower trims get a bright chrome grille with magnetic accents. The King Ranch and Platinum models each feature model-specific grilles, with the color matching the wing mirrors and lower front fascia trim. The Platinum gets the full suite of niceties, including full LED headlights, while both upper trims ride on 22-inch alloy wheels and panoramic sunroofs.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Front Angle View Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Rear Angle View Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Front View Ford
See All 2020 Ford Expedition Max Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Just like the Ford Expedition had most of its rivals beaten in terms of size, the same can be said for the Expedition Max. Its 131.6-inch wheelbase is longer than both the Chevrolet Suburban and the GMC Yukon XL's 130-inch wheelbase but the Expedition Max has a shorter overall length measurement of 221.9-inch length in comparison to rivals. The Ford is slightly narrower than competitors with a width measurement of 79.9 inches and has a height of 76.2 inches in 4x4 guise, while the 4x2-equipped version stands slightly taller at 76.4 inches. Its 9.8-inch ground clearance is on par for the segment (9.7 in 4x4 configuration), and if you're taking the road less traveled, the 4x2 Expedition Max boasts approach and departure angles of 24 and 21.5 degrees, while 4x4 models have angles of 23.7 and 21.3 degrees, respectively.

  • Length 221.9 in
  • Wheelbase 131.6 in
  • Height 76.4 in
  • Max Width 79.9 in
  • Front Width 67.6 in
  • Rear Width 67.2 in

2020 Ford Expedition Max Exterior Colors

  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Star White Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Blue Metallic
  • Agate Black
  • Iconic Silver Metallic
  • Oxford White
  • Desert Gold Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Race Red

Expedition Max Performance

2020 Ford Expedition Max Front View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Rear View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Side View Ford

Engine and Transmission

A sprightly twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is responsible for getting the Expedition Max going, and it does a fine job of doing so. The engine found in the Ford is smaller than the V8s found in the Suburban and the Yukon XL, but the addition of two turbos means that dynamite comes in small packages, with the Expedition Max's 375 hp and 470 lb-ft base-level power figures greatly outshining both the Chevrolet and GMC's 355 hp and 383 lb-ft figures. Though the same engine is found throughout the range, the Platinum trim's engine gets increases in both the power and torque department to 400hp and 480 lb-ft. All trim levels share an excellent ten-speed automatic transmission that is married perfectly to the 3.5-liter and delivers near-perfect navigation from one gear to the next.

As is the standard with large, truck-based SUVs, buyers can choose between a rear-wheel-drive 4x2 setup or an optional 4x4 setup, but regardless of the choice, maximum towing capacity is capped at 9,000 lbs in Max guise, provided you equip the Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

A commendable thing about the Expedition Max would be that it does all it can to make the driver forget about its large disposition - from the driver's seat, at least. Its eight-seater capacity and lumbering body result in some noticeable roll in and out of the corners - which no vehicles in this segment manage to avoid - but the independent rear suspension is unique among competitors and endows the Expedition Max with better ride and handling traits. The large SUV soaks up even larger bumps without losing any dignity, but the extra dash of comfort comes at the expense of soft and sloppy steering feel - yet another unavoidable trait when basing a large SUV on a body-on-frame design.

When 4WD-equipped, the Ford's all-weather capability will increase significantly, so if you're in a snow-prone area, be sure to consider it. As expected, it's difficult to maneuver and an average-sized parking bay is the stuff of nightmares, while vague steering adds to the woe of directing the behemoth around, or into, anything.

Expedition Max Gas Mileage

In a segment that's known to be the contempt of environmentalists everywhere, in 2WD guise, the Expedition Max manages to be more economical than its rivals and boasts EPA estimates of 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined against the Chevrolet and GMC's 15/22/18 mpg. An Expedition Max in AWD-guise drops fuel economy to EPA estimates of 16/21/18 mpg, which is still more economical than rivals, if not by much. At full capacity, the Ford's 27.8-gallon fuel tank will allow for around 530 miles of driving before you'll need to stop at the gas station.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    28.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 17/23 mpg
* 2020 Ford Expedition Max MAX XL 4x2

Expedition Max Interior

2020 Ford Expedition Max Dashboard Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Dashboard 1 Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Central Console Ford
See All 2020 Ford Expedition Max Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Space is the Expedition Max's crowning glory over rivals, as the Ford is undeniably cavernous on the inside, a perk inherited from the standard model, as is the eight-seater capacity, with seven seats an option thanks to second-row captain's chairs. But unlike rivals that add their extra wheelbase gain to the second- or third-row seats, the Expedition Max retains identical figures to the shorter derivative. It's no great shame, however, as legroom of 43.9, 41.5, and a minimum of 36.1 inches in the rear is still mighty impressive. Headroom ranges from 37.4 inches in the third row to 42 inches up front, accommodating even the tallest of passengers, while shoulder room ensures occupants of any build will be comfortable. Rivals measure considerably smaller in their rear seat dimensions, so even though the Expedition Max doesn't gain anything over the SWB model, it's still a class leader. As expected from a high-riding SUV, there's a significant step-up into the cabin, but large doors make ingress and egress a relatively stress-free affair, while the third row is easily accessible.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.9 in
  • Front Head Room 42.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 42.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.0 in

Expedition Max Trunk and Cargo Space

The trunk space of the Expedition Max is slightly smaller than both mentioned rivals, but not by enough for it to really be considered when making your choice between the three. Trunk space behind the third row has 34.3 cubic feet on offer, while the Suburban and Yukon XL offer 39.3 cubic feet. With the third row folded, you can get 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space and the Ford has a total cargo capacity of 121.5 cubic feet with all seats folded down.

A ridiculous total of 15 cupholders is boasted by the Ford, you know, in case every single passenger orders two drinks at once in the drive-through (happens all the time). Small-item storage space is generous in the SUV and a deep center console allows for plenty of knick-knacks to be kept, as well as deep door pockets on all four doors.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Maximum Cargo Space Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Cargo Area Ford
2020 Ford Expedition Max Rear View Ford

Expedition Max Infotainment and Features

Features

Though the standard features on base models can be lived with, they only become notable from the Limited trim and higher. The fleet model XL and base-model XLT share an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the driver, and the XLT boasts a power-folding third row. On the XLT, push-button start and cruise control are standard, though you'll have to make do with manual, single-zone climate control. A leather-clad tilt and telescopic steering wheel comes with the XL and XLT. From the Limited trim upwards, standard features are inclusive of remote start, keyless entry, power-deployable running boards, heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, a hands-free liftgate, and ambient lighting. Standard safety features leave very little be desired thanks to Ford's Co-Pilot360 and are inclusive of automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert and lane keep assist, although blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, trailer-tow monitoring, pre-collision assist with automatic braking, forward collision sensing are only added from mid-tier models upwards.

Infotainment

Good infotainment features are near-absent for the fleet-level XL, and the basic SUV comes with a four-inch LCD screen as its main infotainment source, which is on par for fleet-level SUVs. The XLT comes stacked with an admirable amount of standard features, including an eight-inch touchscreen that enables SYNC 3 technology from Ford and also supports voice recognition. It also makes way for standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth streaming, along with a Wi-Fi hotspot. A six-speaker sound system is standard for the XLT, along with two USB ports. The Limited trim has a premium 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system, while moving up to the King Ranch sees the standard inclusion of navigation, SiriusXM and a voice-activated touchscreen. If you're one for passenger entertainment, two screens can be fitted to the back of the front headrests for an additional $1,995.

Expedition Max Problems and Reliability

The 2020 Ford Expedition Max has already suffered one range-related recall for having weak seatback strength that could result in severe injury during a crash, while the 2019 model suffered two recalls for the same issue along with faulty rear toe links that could affect handling negatively. To quell customer concerns, Ford offers a basic warranty of three years/36,000 miles which is average for the segment, along with a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and roadside assistance is valid for the same period.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Expedition Max Safety

The 2020 Ford Expedition Max enjoys a five out of five overall safety score from the NHTSA, and although the IIHS has not rated it yet, it comes stacked to the rafters with standard safety features. Starting with the more traditional lot of features, at base level, the SUV comes standard equipped with six airbags (dual front, side-impact, and side curtain) a rearview camera with rear parking sensors, while Co-Pilot360 adds automatic high beams, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, pedestrian monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and forward-collision warning. Adaptive cruise control is added to the Limited upwards and a surround-view camera is standard from the King Ranch trim and upwards. Two additional airbags in the form of inflatable second-row seatbelts are equipped to the Platinum as standard but are optional on the Limited and King Ranch.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2020 Ford Expedition Max a good SUV?

We don't have many notable issues with this stupendous SUV, so we thought we'd start with the undoings. First off, you're going to need a considerable budget if you plan on adding some extras, because they're quite costly, but at a base level, it's well-priced for the segment. The sprawling family-hauler manages a charisma that some rivals don't and bests the competition in terms of its capabilities, whether you're on the highway or venturing off-road. It delivers better fuel economy than rivals on account of its sprightly turbocharged engine. It also outshines the competition with an abundance of space, and has the biggest third row of the class. Generous standard features drive it a mile further than the competition - it deserves to be considered if you're after a large, efficient family hauler, but if you're looking at a pricey top-spec Platinum model, you may want to cross-shop the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Ford Expedition Max?

The rudimentary fleet-level XL has an MSRP of $53,025 in 2WD guise, and the 4WD XL will cost $56,035. The real start of the range, the XLT, has a starting MSRP of $55,835 when equipped with 2WD, and an AWD-boasting XLT will increase to $58,845. The more luxurious Limited Trim comes with a $66,375 price tag when equipped with 2WD, but that jumps to $69,495 when AWD is opted for. A starting MSRP of $75,590 accompanies the 2WD-equipped King Ranch, and opting for the AWD drives the price up to $78,715. For the top of the range Platinum in 2WD guise, you're in for $76,965 and if you're after this premium model as a 4WD-equipped SUV, the final asking price will be $80,110. An acquisition fee of $645 and a destination fee of $1,395 is applicable to your purchase of an Expedition Max.

See All 2020 Ford Expedition Max Trims and Specs

🚗What Ford Expedition Max Model Should I Buy?

Picking a model out of an extensive trim-level lineup is usually an arduous task, but it's a no-brainer for this range. The King Ranch is by far the best trim option of the lot, mainly because it boasts nearly all of the same features as the Platinum, but with the absence of a few thousand dollars on its price tag. Though it's not frugal by any means, the extra cost for this trim brings a heated steering wheel to the table, along with tri-zone climate control, a premium 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system, and ambient lighting. This trim level boasts a unique premium Del Rio upholstery in a rich shade of ebony and some extra exterior styling specific to this trim only. Adding the Heavy Duty Towing Package for some extra capability will result in the perfect Expedition Max.

Check out other Ford Expedition Styles

2020 Ford Expedition Max Comparisons

Chevrolet Suburban Chevrolet
GMC Yukon XL GMC
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford Expedition Max375 hp17/23 mpg$53,025
Chevrolet Suburban 355 hp15/22 mpg$51,700
GMC Yukon XL 355 hpTBC$53,400

2020 Ford Expedition Max vs Chevrolet Suburban

Around $5,000 separates the MSRP of the Expedition Max and the Chevrolet Suburban. The Expedition has a smaller engine, but produces more power than the base engine in the Chev thanks to turbo action that is absent on the Chevrolet. The Suburban does, however, offer up a 420 hp/460 lb-ft V8 upgrade on upper trims. While the larger engine doesn't benefit towing, neither of the Suburbans options can best the 9,000-pound capacity of the Expedition Max. In terms of space, the driver will enjoy more space in the front in the Chevrolet, while passengers can stretch out more easily in the Expedition Max due to a whole lot more space in the back. The Expedition Max offers higher torque, and an inevitably better towing capability than the Suburban, and the interior of the Ford feels less discounted than that of the Suburban. Another plus for the Ford is that it's more economical than the Suburban. The Expedition Max is the better buy of the two, and outshines the Suburban in terms of performance and overall space - it's worth the bump up in price in our books.

See Chevrolet Suburban Review

2020 Ford Expedition Max vs GMC Yukon XL

The Yukon XL is slightly cheaper than the Expedition Max at a base level, but this shows up immediately in its interior, with cheaper materials making themselves known at first glance. The GMC is less powerful than the Ford (at least with the base engine) and isn't capable of towing as much as the Expedition Max, either, regardless of which V8 engine you choose. The Ford also dominates the fuel economy category and bests the GMC outright. A smaller turning radius accompanies the Expedition Max, making it easier to park than the GMC, but the Yukon does offer more space in the front. This victory doesn't last long, however, and the Ford slays the GMC in terms of rear space, especially in the third row, though the trunk space is ever so slightly smaller. The Expedition Max would be the better buy here, thanks to its better performance and fuel economy, as well as its greater passenger space.

See GMC Yukon XL Review

Ford Expedition Max Popular Comparisons

2020 Ford Expedition Max Video Review

Check out some informative Ford Expedition Max video reviews below.

$53,025 - $80,110
Price Range (MSRP)
Ford Expedition Max