2021 Ford Expedition FAQ Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Jul 20, 2021

For some people, nothing but a traditional, full-size SUV will do. For towing significant weight, carrying lots of people, and hauling plenty of cargo, large SUVs are unparalleled. But, as my experience with the 2021 Ford Expedition shows, the only way to simultaneously tackle all three of these tasks is to get yourself the extended version. Otherwise, you need to choose between carrying extra people or extra luggage.

What’s new for the 2021 Ford Expedition? - Find the best Ford deals!

For retail customers (people like you and me), the most significant change to the 2021 Ford Expedition is a new STX Package that comes standard with XL trim. This model comes only with the standard body style and with 5-passenger seating in two rows of seats.

Ford says the new 2021 Expedition XL STX includes:

  • Gray 18-inch aluminum wheels
  • Gloss black grille trim
  • Triple-zone automatic climate control
  • Upgraded Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, App Link, and 911 Assist 

Otherwise, the 2021 Ford Expedition is largely unchanged aside from new Antimatter Blue and Kodiak Brown paint colors.

2021 FORD EXPEDITION SPECS - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum Gray Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

What are the 2021 Ford Expedition configurations?

When you buy a new Ford Expedition, you’ll find standard and extended-length body styles at the local dealership. The longer model is called the Expedition Max, and I highly recommend it if you want to tow plenty of weight, haul lots of luggage, and carry more than five people all at the same time.

In addition to the new XL STX version of the SUV, the 2021 Expedition comes in XL (fleet buyers only), XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels. All versions except for the XL STX are available in the Max body style, and every Expedition includes a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

What is the 2021 Ford Expedition price?

You’ll pay a premium for a large SUV’s abilities. They typically start where nicely equipped midsize SUVs leave off. Prices for the 2021 Ford Expedition begin at $50,595 for the XL STX and rise to $76,375 for the Platinum Max. The destination charge to ship it from Louisville, Kentucky, to your local dealership is $1,695.

What is the 2021 Ford Expedition cargo space?

Choose the standard Expedition, and it comes with 19.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat, 57.5 cubes behind the second-row seat, and a maximum volume of 104.6 cubic feet. If you put people in every row, you’ll need to stack items high in the cargo hold, and they’re likely to fall out when you open the liftgate.

The Expedition Max is far more accommodating. Behind the third-row seat, you have 34.3 cubic feet of volume, which means six people ride like royalty on a family road trip, and nobody has to hold their luggage in their lap. Fold the third-row seat to create a whopping 73.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which is as much as some midsize SUVs offer with just a driver and a passenger aboard. Maximum space in the Max measures 121.5 cubes, short of a typical minivan by about 25 cubic feet.

What is the 2021 Ford Expedition gas mileage?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a Ford Expedition should get 19 mpg in combined driving (18 mpg for the Max with 4WD). A 23.2-gallon fuel tank is standard, while the Max boasts a 27.8-gallon tank.

My Expedition Platinum 4WD test vehicle averaged 17.1 mpg on the evaluation loop. Based on its fuel tank capacity, this result gives it an estimated driving range of 395 miles. Plan to stop at the gas station every 350 miles or so.

Is the 2021 Ford Expedition safe?

Research the 2021 Ford Expedition safety rating, and you’ll find that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it five stars overall. This rating is the highest one possible. However, it is worth noting that versions with rear-wheel drive get a middling 3-star rating for rollover resistance, while the Expedition 4WD receives a 4-star rating in this regard. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not rated the 2021 Expedition for safety.

What is the 2021 Ford Expedition towing capacity?

Equip the Expedition with the optional Heavy Duty Trailer Towing Package, and it can handle up to 9,300 pounds of trailer weight in standard configuration (9,200 lbs. with 4WD) and 9,000 lbs. in Max specification.

2021 FORD EXPEDITION REVIEW - Find the best Ford deals!

For this review, I drove a 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum. Aside from 4WD, it had no options because nearly everything comes standard on this luxury-trimmed model. The sticker price came to $79,120, including the destination charge.

How is the 2021 Ford Expedition interior?

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Open the Expedition’s driver-side door, step onto the power deploying running board and into the cabin, and you’ll find a dashboard that looks nearly identical to what Ford used in the previous-generation F-150 pickup truck. Plastic is the rule, but with Platinum trim, the Expedition does layer on some luxury in the form of stitched simulated leather, natural wood, and other details that make it more look and feel more upscale.

Numerous buttons, knobs, and other controls reside on the dashboard and center console, but Ford logically groups everything. The infotainment system looks old and dated, even if it features modern graphics, quick response to input, useful voice recognition technology, and a terrific B&O sound system. The screen is small, measuring eight inches across, recessed into the dashboard rather than sitting flush like modern systems. 

Is the 2021 Ford Expedition comfortable?

For more than 15 years, Ford has used an independent rear suspension in the Expedition. This space-saving design is more expensive but has long given the SUV superior third-row seat room and more cargo space than primary rivals.

For 2021, those rivals are redesigned and take a page from the Expedition playbook. Nevertheless, this large Ford SUV remains exceptionally comfortable in all three rows of seats, and the test vehicle also had heated, ventilated, and massaging front chairs. The steering wheel was heated, too, though this feature went unused in Southern California’s summer heat.

While the Expedition is comfortable, in the standard-length specification, you can carry more than five people, or you can carry a bunch of cargo, but you cannot do both simultaneously. My family of six picked this test vehicle up upon arrival home from a family vacation, and some of the luggage wound up on laps.

My advice is that if you need seating for six or more people plus plenty of cargo space, get the Expedition Max. Or, if you have no plans to tow anything, get a minivan.

Does the 2021 Ford Expedition drive itself?

No, the Ford Expedition does not drive itself. It doesn’t offer a Level 2 advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), either. What the Expedition does offer is Ford Co-Pilot360, a collection of systems including: 

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

In use, these features worked well, and the lane-maintenance technologies proved accurate but not aggravating.

Additionally, the Expedition offers two steering-related driving aids. The first is active parking assistance, which steers the SUV into a parking space while you operate the pedals and transmission. The second is Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which steers for the driver while reversing a trailer. The driver uses a knob on the dashboard to communicate to the steering the desired direction for the trailer, and the technology executes the proper steering inputs.

Does the 2021 Ford Expedition have AWD?

Every 2021 Expedition comes with 2-wheel drive as standard equipment, but a Control Trac 4-wheel-drive system is available. It offers 2WD and Automatic 4WD settings, and drivers can also choose 4-Hi and 4-Lo via the electronic transfer case. 

A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is standard in the Expedition, and with Platinum trim, it’s developing a robust 400 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. It pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and drivers can choose between Eco, Normal, Sport, and Tow/Haul driving modes. Additionally, with 4WD, a Terrain Management system supplies Grass/Gravel/Snow and Mud/Ruts traction settings.

Though the Expedition does not offer a V8 engine, power is not a problem. This SUV is quick and emits a subtle yet pleasing engine note. You should have no trouble accelerating onto freeways, passing slower traffic, or towing a trailer.

Is the 2021 Ford Expedition fun to drive?

No, but that’s not the point of a Ford Expedition. It is, however, enjoyable to drive and feels more athletic than its competitors on a mountain road. Part of the reason is the excellent powertrain, but the Expedition Platinum’s independent front and rear suspension, adaptive dampers, and huge 22-inch wheels wrapped in 285/45 tires also have something to do with it.

Though they degrade ride quality, especially in urban settings, the big wheels and wide tires supply commendable grip. In combination with the adaptive dampers, this SUV suffers little body roll and head toss. Also, the brakes offer plenty of stamina for slowing the heavy Expedition. You do, however, need to work the steering wheel on a twisty road.

Around town, the Expedition is more maneuverable than you might expect, with a reasonably tight turning radius and corners that are easy to judge. Clear sightlines help, too, and the SUV’s roster of cameras helps when parking.

On the highway, the Expedition effortlessly cruises at or above the speed limit. Plus, considering that it’s a brick on wheels, this SUV is quite quiet inside.

IS THE 2021 FORD EXPEDITION A GOOD SUV? - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum Gray Rear Quarter

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

While I like the Ford Expedition quite a bit, J.D. Power data suggests that owners of this SUV are less happy with the model. The Expedition does not rank among the top three vehicles in the large SUV class for dependability, quality, or overall appeal.

What is the 2021 Ford Expedition competition? - Find the best Ford deals!

Ironically, the large SUV segment is a relatively small one. Aside from the Expedition and Expedition Max, your choices include the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia. Next year, the all-new Jeep Wagoneer will compete against the Ford Expedition, and Toyota is readying a redesigned Sequoia.

Among large SUVs, the 2021 Ford Expedition has plenty to offer when you need to carry lots of people, haul lots of cargo, and tow lots of weight. But all of its key competitors are either new or redesigned, which means this genuinely appealing SUV is aging fast.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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