Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

The 2019 Ford Expedition Max postulates a simple premise: size matters.

2019 Expedition

With seating for up to eight, the talent to tow more than 4 tons and seats-folded cargo room of over 120 cu. ft., the Ford Expedition Max can handle whatever needs doing. Photo provided by Ford

To say this guy is "large" is something of an understatement. Never mind its standard "Perimeter Alarm" security system, Max is big enough to qualify for a Neighborhood Watch program.

Which is to say, the 2019 Ford Expedition is a gargantuan, full-size, three-row, eight-passenger, body-on-frame SUV that's offered in big and bigger versions. The former is the standard-wheelbase model, which can be viewed as a Chevy Tahoe competitor; the latter, which is what we drove, is the long-wheelbase Max, a challenger to the Chevy Suburban.

A relative of the F-150 pickup, Expedition, like that truck, wears aluminum body panels for weight savings, offers rear- and four-wheel drive motivational choices and uses F-150's twin-turbo V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission -- one of six engine/transmission combos in F-150, but the only one available in Expedition.

2019 Ford Expedition

Photo provided by Ford

That V-6/10-speed powertrain is a concession to our current, less-consumptive automotive world. But, happily, less is more.

Expedition's twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 makes 375 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque -- more, in each case, than the previous V-8 Expedition once housed.

The result is V8-like towing talent -- up to 9,000 pounds in Max -- but notably better fuel economy. The EPA rates the Max 4x4 at 16 city/21 hwy/18 combined. Our Max 4x4 did, indeed, deliver 16 real-world mpg in just over 150 miles of mostly city driving.

Although Expedition's trims include XLT and Limited, we drove a top-of-the-line Platinum and felt like we owned the road. The blown six is talented at hauling this roughly 3-ton (in Platinum trim) behemoth, while Expedition's 10-speed automatic allows the big guy's engine to turn a relaxed 2,000 rpm at 70 mph. That goes a long way to enabling the 21-mpg hwy rating bestowed by the EPA.

Our only driving complaint was a bit of dithering the 10-speed transmission endured once or twice at low speed -- something we also noted in the 10-speed F-150. Happily, it's a rare occurrence. That gear box generally goes about its duties in a most civil manner.

Also civil is Expedition's ride, thanks to a fully independent suspension and our Platinum's road-sensing/auto-adjusting Continuous Control damping system.

From behind the wheel, Max is a real handful in urban areas. It's on the interstate where this guy is really at home -- solid as a bank vault, quiet as the Library of Congress and as confident as if it owned the road. It's a joy as a long-trip travel companion.

2019 Ford Expedition

Photo provided by Ford

Room is cavernous throughout this three-row ride while our Platinum's wood-and-leather-licious appointments were plush. Meanwhile, utility is enhanced with a versatile, triple-split folding second row and 60/40-split third row. In our Platinum, both rows power folded while the third row also power-raised at the push of a button.

Infotainment controls are easy to use. There are huge knobs for radio volume and tuning (hallelujah!) and for the dual-zone front climate control, not to mention a big rotary selector for the electronic transmission shifter. Meanwhile, the infotainment touch screen is intuitive and the gauge package is reconfigurable. There's even an Off Road Performance gauge-display selection available to the driver of the 4x4, although this behemoth would be a handful on tight outback trails.

Also worth noting: our Platinum's one-button self-parking feature was easy to use, and invaluable in such a gargantuan ride.

As comfortable and accommodating as it is, the big guy feels like a fish out of water in an urban setting. But, with room galore, excellent towing talent and plus-20-mpg highway fuel economy, Expedition Max is a travel companion with few equals.


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