2012 Ford Expedition Performance
Test drivers say the Ford Expedition drives fairly well for a large SUV, with adequate power for most situations and handling that’s smoother than some competitors.
- "Not that the Expedition is going to win any slalom events, mind you, but it is remarkably capable for its size, weight and high center of gravity.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "There's no denying that the … Ford Expedition -- all 17-plus feet and more than 5,500 pounds of it -- is one heck of a big truck. Oddly enough, though, it doesn't really feel like it from behind the steering wheel." -- Edmunds
- “While not as smooth overall as the 5.3-liter V8 engine found on rival General Motors' large SUVs, Expedition's mill is far from unrefined.” -- Consumer Guide
- “Despite being no fun, this has to rate as among the liveliest full-size SUVs on the market, with better-than-average steering and a supple ride. Will tow or accommodate pretty much anything you throw its way.” – Car and Driver
Acceleration and Power
The Expedition comes with a 5.4-liter V8 engine that makes 310 horsepower and can tow up to 9,200 pounds when equipped with the optional heavy-duty trailer towing package. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
According to the EPA, the rear-wheel drive Expedition nets only 14/20 mpg city/highway, while four-wheel drive Expeditions get a dismal 13/18 mpg city/highway. If you’re looking for a more fuel-efficient affordable large SUV, you should look at the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, which gets 20/23 mpg city/highway. However, the Tahoe Hybrid comes with a hefty price premium that will take almost 23 years to make up in fuel savings over the two-wheel drive gas-only model.
Reviewers say that the Expedition’s engine is fine for most drivers, though they note that the competing Chevrolet Tahoe’s engine feels stronger. Test drivers especially praise the Expedition’s quick-shifting transmission.
- "Expedition and Navigator have sufficient power for any situation. The alert 6-speed automatic transmission is always in the right gear. A test Expedition EL coped well with a 5,000-pound trailer over hilly terrain.” -- Consumer Guide
- "The overhead-cam 5.4-liter V8 delivers 310 hp, but it's really tuned to deliver torque, 365 pound-feet of it, for towing. The 6-speed automatic transmission runs seamlessly through the gears, keeping the engine from laboring through its rpm range. The result is a lot of reliable power.” -- New Car Test Drive
- "While we weren't overwhelmed by the 5.4-liter V8's acceleration while towing, the Expedition seemed fully up to the task.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The 5.4-liter V8 under the hood is sufficient for everyday driving, but performance suffers when you've packed up the Expedition with full load of passengers and cargo and/or towing a trailer. The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and produces quick shifts, but it has some trouble finding the right gear in certain situations.” -- Edmunds
Handling and Braking
Test drivers say that the Ford Expedition has a smooth ride and is relatively agile for such a big, heavy SUV, but it will never have the nimble handling that reviewers find in car-based crossover SUVs.
- "Because Ford gave the 2012 Expedition an independent rear suspension (the two rear wheels can move independently of each other due to each being attached to a separate axle), its ride and handling are far from truck-like.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Expedition and Navigator display impressive agility for large SUVs. Nicely weighted steering has a natural feel. There's relatively little lean in corners for such large trucks. Except in close-quarters maneuvering, extended-length versions give up little to the shorter regular-length models.” -- Consumer Guide
- “The ride quality is good overall, though some competitors feel a bit smoother on the highway. Relatively precise and responsive steering also makes the Expedition more nimble than you'd expect.” -- Edmunds