It's Great to be the King!
I had the chance to spend week with Ford's larger SUV the 2011 Expedition King Ranch a while back. The Expedition is a large SUV with a big 5.4L V8 under the hood to move all that mass easily and quickly. The King Ranch edition Ford sent my way was a fully loaded SUV with the fancy leather inside that all King Ranch vehicles get, 4x4 powertrain, navigation system, a power moon roof, and power deploying running boards.
The KR also has 20" optional wheels, a 3.73 axel ratio, and load level suspension along with a headrest DVD system that will be a lifesaver on a long trip. The big V8 menas this thing will drink some fuel with EPA ratings of 13mpg city and 18mpg on the highway. I ended up averaging according to the onboard computer 21mpg with mixed driving and a judicious right foot.
The thing I really notice about the Expedition is that the car is very large. It feels large and has tons of room inside. Despite the large dimensions, both my wife and I were able to drive the truck on narrow roads and park it in a tight parking lot without any problems. I particularly like the automatically deploying running boards on the car.
Unlike fixed boards that you might catch on a low surface when off roading, the automatic boards tuck into the side of the car and only pop down when you open the door. It was cool to watch how those boards deploy, they seem to take a while and at first I wondered if I might be able to beat the boards out the door and hit the ground before they were deployed. I was never able to beat them. The Expedition in the trim tested is far enough off the ground that a straight shot out of the seat and down is quite a drop for kids and my 5'4" wife.
My kids loved the headrest mounted DVD system. The player has a screen on each headrest and each of the systems has its own set of wireless headphones. The only issue with those headphones is that they were excessively large for my 6-year-old daughter. They would randomly fall off her head and she ended up having to hold them with one hand while she watched the movies.
I also really liked that the third row seats were power folding. That meant that if I needed to put something large into the back of the car all I needed to do was hit a button. I hate having to climb all the way into the rear of some SUVs to raise seats up or down. With the third row of seats up, you still have a bit of storage space in the back, but not much. You can get a few bags of groceries in there though. Just don’t plan to pace for the six to eight adults this truck can hold with the third row sets in use and fit luggage in the back.
I really liked the highway manners of the Expedition KR. It drives very well and despite its size, the car handles well too. You feel the body roll of the SUV, but that is to be expected with any truck. The car handles well for lane changes and the steering is precise. The car is well insulated from road noise and the suspension isn't overly stiff. The ride is nice and smooth without being jarring at all or rough.
This isn’t a cheap vehicle, the 2011 Ford Expedition King Ranch 4x4 I tested stickered at $56,615 fully loaded. The base price for the vehicle is s still expensive $49,040. Price aside, if you have a large family and need a SUV that can tow, rides well, and can go off-road when needed the Expedition is a vehicle worth considering.