[Update]: After 300+ miles of mostly highway driving, I have a few thoughts about this boat. I reset the trip odometer on the way out, so for the first leg of our journey, it averaged 21.5 mpg. Not bad for something so big! We did a little city driving and then returned home. I admit to having a heavy foot and this thing accelerates much harder than it should for something so big. It was hilariously fun to romp the gas and hear all six passengers gasp in response. :) The downside to all that fun was the effect on fuel economy. I thought another 150 miles of highway driving would make up for my transgressions, but in the end, the damage was done. We wrapped up the day at 19.1 mpg.
Driving the Expedition is like driving a very large beer can with wheels. While the road noise isn’t too bad, my wife’s Explorer is noticeably quieter. As the driver, I couldn’t hear the conversation in the third row even though the radio was off. We ended up playing a game of telephone with the people in the middle row relaying the conversation back and forth. That got old really quick and led to two ongoing discussions, one in the front, one in the back, and the middle row passengers were constantly confused.
Being so big and square, the Expedition is really affected by wind. Just about everything on the road displaced enough air to push us around. We would pass a car, sway a little in the breeze, then the Expedition would settle back into place. It felt like it was an old truck with just a little play in the suspension and steering. In comparison, the Explorer feels much more planted. Even the big box van I rented from U-Haul felt more solid than the Expedition.
I didn’t have much time to fiddle with the electronics, but I have to say again that I really liked having physical buttons. The layout looked neat, but I think the focus was more on looks than functionality. The steering wheel buttons were poorly placed and fairly useless. Reaching them required moving my hands to the bottom of the steering wheel and feeling around with my thumbs. Not optimal.
The driver’s seat was comfortable, but the cloth was cheap. I think they did well with their seat control choices - manual where they could, but electric where it would provide the most benefit, namely the seat height and fore/aft position. The seat back tilt and the lumbar support were easy to use and provided enough fine control to make adjustments easy.
Parking was easy enough, but going into the garage was a bit scary. I felt like my head was going to scrape the beams even though it cleared the headknocker at the entrance. The Expedition felt, dare I say, nimble, even in the narrow confines of the garage.
This is one beast I would not buy over the Explorer unless I needed the extra 1,600 lbs towing capacity or needed the extra 3 inches of third-row legroom.
Well, in one. This is my rental for the day. We have a two hour drive with 7 people on board. After a few hours of torture (public meeting), we have to turn around and do it again. At night. Wish me luck!
Man, this thing is big!
The steering wheel controls are awkward. Having the wipers, blinkers, and high beams on one stalk sucks.
Real buttons are awesome!