Ford Explorer and Expedition: The Biggest Differences You Can’t Ignore

Ford is known for its American reliability and affordability, so it’s not surprising that the 2020 Ford Explorer and Expedition SUVs have a lot to offer. Both are great options for SUVs, but they have some major differences that you should take into consideration if you are juggling between the two.

The first difference you should know about is the price. The Explorer has a starting price of about $37,000 while the Expedition has a considerably higher base model price of almost $53,000. Are the changes between the two big enough to warrant the cost gap?

2020 Ford Expedition
2020 Ford Expedition

Exterior appeal

Unlike the GMC Acadia and Terrain, the Ford Explorer and Expedition don’t look much alike. The Explorer is a smaller SUV that looks very similar to older model years. It has softer, curvier body lines that compliment it’s smaller size. The Explorer has more in common with crossovers than it does the SUV class, but that makes it a great option for many drivers. The Expedition looks very different from the Explorer for many reasons.

The boxy, hard lines of the Expedition make it seem like a more rugged, classic example of an SUV. It is the bigger of the two SUVs, and accommodates third-row seating, making it a better option for bigger families or for families that like to spread out more. It is also much taller than the Explorer, making it ideal for taller drivers but a little bit more difficult for young passengers to get in and out of.

Power and handling

Power and handling are also other factors to take into consideration when choosing between the Explorer and the Expedition. The Explorer base model offers a turbocharged 2.3L engine with 300hp while other trims have a 3.0L V6. The Expedition, on the other hand, is a bigger SUV and therefore warrants the need for a bigger engine with more power. The Expedition has a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that boasts 375hp.

The towing capacity of each SUV is also different, and while some consumers chose SUVs for space and cargo capacity, it’s still a good decision to take into consideration the towing capacity. Of course, because the Explorer is smaller it has a lower towing capacity, but the 5,600lb towing capacity is more than enough for an average family. The Expedition, not the other hand, can tow up to 9,300lbs. Neither of the choices has great gas mileage when it comes to regular driving, and the gas mileage with towing anything becomes abysmal, but that is nothing new for the Explorer or the Expedition.

A fast-moving storm blows over the West Carson River, located at the junctions of Highways 88 and 89, dropping six inches of snow on March 2, 2020, in Hope Valley, California
The Ford Explorer | George Rose/Getty Images

The Explorer and Expedition have similar interiors and features and there isn’t anything remarkably different about the two besides their difference in seating capacity. Their differences in size and styling however, are so major that it’s enough to make you decide pretty quickly which model is right for you.