Ford Explorer vs. Expedition

By

Automotive Editor

After graduating from GMI with a bunch of other car geeks, Matt Pilgrim spent time in many areas of the auto industry - manufacturing, durability testing of prototypes, and collaborating with stylists to engineer exterior components for cars such as the NSX. Turning his attention to journalism, he brings together his engineering background and passion for cars and has written for several automotive publications and sites, including The Car Connection and his own site, Pilgrim Motor Press.


, Automotive Editor - February 1, 2023
2023 Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer and the Ford Expedition are two very popular vehicles as they provide a level of practicality and capability to handle nearly all of our daily tasks but they live in different segments and carry unique advantages over one another. The Explorer’s crossover design provides an improved ride and more efficient packaging and its lighter design helps with fuel efficiency whereas the Expedition takes on the challenges of hauling large loads of cargo and being able to pull campers, horses...you name it. There are no big surprises with this comparison but each offers its own set of skills that makes it worth taking a deeper dive.

Ford Explorer vs. Expedition Price

2022 Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer and Expedition are carryover models heading into 2023 and some of last year’s models may still be available on dealers’ lots. Ford isn’t offering any notable lease deals and their attractive loan rates are only tied to those with the shortest periods. Expect to see those rates remain high for the 2023 models.

The Explorer and Expedition unsurprisingly offer little pricing overlap with the crossover ranging from about $38,000 to $56,000 and the large SUV being priced from $55,000 to $81,000.

Ford Explorer vs. Expedition Size

2023 Ford Expedition Interior

The Explorer is offered in a single overall length (198.8 inches) while the Expedition is available in a standard length (210 inches) and an extended length version called Expedition Max that stretches to 221.9 inches to provide more cargo space. Width-wise, the Explorer is only one inch narrower (78.9 inches).

The extra length translates into a roomier interior with slightly more legroom in the second row (41.5 inches vs 39 inches) and significantly more in the standard third row (36.1 inches vs 32.2 inches). Cargo space is a similar story with the Expedition offering a larger space of 21 cubic inches behind the rear-most row (36 cubic feet in the Max) compared to the Explorer’s 18.2 cubic feet.

Ford Explorer vs. Expedition Gas Mileage

2023 Ford Explorer Gauge

The Explorer offers three powertrains including a hybrid whereas the Expedition adopts slight modifications to a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 to deliver three different power levels. As one might expect, the Explorer returns better fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon combined on the standard four-cylinder turbocharged engine, 21 MPG on the high-performance turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, and 27 in the hybrid form which uses a 3.3-liter V6.

The Expedition ranges from 19 MPG to 17 MPG, meaning that in their most efficient forms, the Explorer will save about $700 annually in fuel costs. Both models are standard with rear-wheel drive and offer an automatic all-wheel/ four-wheel drive system which generally carries a one MPG point penalty.

Ford Explorer vs. Expedition Safety

2023 Ford Expedition

The Explorer and Expedition are well-equipped out of the box in terms of safety features. Automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and lane keep assist are included while adaptive cruise control, reverse automatic braking, a surround-view monitor, and parking assist are optional on both models. Only the Expedition is available with Ford’s Blue Cruise hands-free highway driving assist system.

Both models score a five-star overall crashworthiness score from NHTSA while only the Explorer has been recently evaluated by IIHS where it earns Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Ford Explorer vs. Ford Expedition Towing Capacity

2023 Ford Expedition Towing

The Explorer’s maximum towing rating aligns with most crossovers and peaks at 5,600 pounds (when fitted with the turbocharged V6). To note, the Hybrid remains impressively capable with a 5,000-pound rating. The Expedition utilizes its body-on-frame design and is rated for towing up to 9,300 pounds.

Those figures require the Heavy Duty towing package in the Expedition (an $800 option but standard on the premium trims) which includes an integrated brake controller and Ford’s Pro Trailer Back-Up Assist that provides an extra bit of convenience and information when pushing a trailer backward. Neither feature is offered on the Explorer.

Ford Expedition vs. Explorer: Which Is Better?

The Ford Explorer’s smaller size makes for easier maneuvering in and around town. Its length is on par with the biggest three-row crossovers and while its third row may not be as spacious as the Expedition, it provides that added level of capability.

For those looking to maximize their vehicle's capability, the Expedition makes good use of its design to provide not only more interior space but also vastly more hauling capacity. Expect to take a hit at the pump, however, as fuel economy suffers. The bigger Ford is also more expensive out of the box. Most will find themselves sufficiently prepared for life’s daily chores with the Explorer.

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

After graduating from GMI with a bunch of other car geeks, Matt Pilgrim spent time in many areas of the auto industry - manufacturing, durability testing of prototypes, and collaborating with stylists to engineer exterior components for cars such as the NSX. Turning his attention to journalism, he brings together his engineering background and passion for cars and has written for several automotive publications and sites, including The Car Connection and his own site, Pilgrim Motor Press.


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