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The Expedition EL's trim levels are the same as the Expedition's. The line kicks off with the well-equipped XL, primarily aimed at fleet buyers or budget-conscious consumers. It comes standard with the now-ubiquitous Ford 5.4-liter V8 with 310 horsepower and 365 lb.-ft. of torque going to the six-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, though four-wheel drive with low-range is optional. There's a generous 42.6 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place. XL also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, running boards, power windows, heated mirrors, locks with remote keyless entry, air conditioning for front and rear passengers, cruise control, automatic headlamps and six-speaker audio system with AUX input.
The XLT adds more content like rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, Sirius satellite radio and Ford's SYNC voice recognition system which incorporates phone and audio functions. The Limited trim adds more luxury to the Expedition, with standard leather seats, power-folding mirrors and power liftgate, 20-inch alloy wheels, heated and powered front seats, power-folding third-row seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. The King Ranch edition throws in special wheels, premium leather and wood trim and two-tone paint.
See our picks for best SUVs in the CarsDirect SUV Buying Guide.
The Chevrolet Suburban matches the space in the EL model but has a less-sophisticated suspension that doesn't allow the third-row to fold into the floor. The GMC Yukon is available in a much more luxurious Denali trim that comes with a better engine but also gets expensive and the third-row doesn't fold flat. The Toyota Sequoia straddles the line between the two Expedition models and has a roomy third row and strong V8, but interior quality isn't the best. The Nissan Armada is powerful and a good value, but there's less space and worse fuel economy than competitors.
In the end, though, most people looking at large SUVs are better served by a large crossover if they're primarily hauling passengers between soccer games. But some people really do need the ability to tow big boats or trailers and fill up three rows out seats with people. The Expedition EL is the obvious choice for buyers who need this kind of practicality. It has all of the same attributes of the normal Expedition, but now people don't have to choose between carrying 8 people or their cargo. What's more, the third-row is better able to hold passengers than some competitors. And even the base model comes well-equipped. The Expedition EL is hard to beat for people who don't mind driving a massive SUV in exchange for vast capabilities.
The King Ranch adds some more style to the luxury of the Limited. King Ranch models add two-tone paint and special 20-inch alloy wheels outside. Inside, there is Chaparral premium leather seats with light wood trim. Options include navigation system, DVD Entertainment System, power moonroof and power running boards.
The Limited combines luxury features with the capability of the standard Expedition. Limiteds get 20-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery as standard, along with the heavy-duty towing package, rain-sensing wipers, backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, cooled front seats, heated first and second rows, power-folding third-row seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, memory settings for the driver's seat and mirrors, power front seats, wood-trimmed steering wheel and a power liftgate. Options include a power moonroof, navigation system, second-row bucket seats with console and power running boards.
The XLT adds more creature comforts for buyers, as well as opens up the possibility for more luxury. XLTs get standard 18-inch wheels, SYNC with USB input, rear parking sensors, power rear quarter windows, power adjustable pedals, trip computer, steering wheel audio controls and body-colored bumpers. Options include the XLT Premium Package, with dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, power liftgate, leather upholstery, wood trim and a power-folding third-row seat. The Driver Vision Package adds a backup camera and rain-sensing wipers. The Sport Appearance Package adds a body-color grille and blacked-out headlamps. Navigation with Sirius TravelLink is also available. Second-row bucket seats are also available, which reduces overall passenger capacity to seven.
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Similar space inside with optional heavy-duty model, but third-row doesn't fold flat and is much less comfortable
More luxurious in Denali trim and offers stronger V8 but can be expensive and third-row is less usable for adults
More compact to drive and offers much more powerful V8, but has less cargo space and interior is plasticky
Standard, strong V8 engine and good value, but third-row is cramped, has less cargo space and poorer fuel economy