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Buying a used vehicle is the right way to go for a lot of consumers. You don’t have high car payments, the insurance costs aren’t as high, and many models are very reliable. Some vehicles are simply not worth the time to even go out and test drive, however. According to Car Complaints, the 2004 Ford Expedition is the worst-rated model year.

2004 Ford Expedition

Ford typically builds some very reliable vehicles, but every automaker has its lemons. In this case, it was the 2004 Ford Expedition. While it doesn’t have a ton of driver backlash on Car Complaints, there are enough warning signs there to make new buyers wary. 

The biggest problem facing the 2004 model is the transmission. 15 drivers reported transmission failure. One driver stated,

“The fact that so many of these vehicles have had transmission failures and Ford has not had a recall is ridiculous! I will never purchase another Ford product again. How can we complain to the company and actually get someone to listen. I paid $43,000 for this car.”

If you don’t know much about transmission problems, it’s one of the most expensive repairs drivers can get slammed with. According to It Still Runs,

“The transmission controls the transfer of engine power to the drive wheels and allows the driver to change gears and control speed. When a transmission goes out, vehicle handling and performance may be affected.”

The problem that received the most complaints was the body/paint job. 13 people report that the body of the Expedition rusts. This may not seem like a major problem, but rust can do more damage than you think. If left untreated, it can lead to performance issues for your vehicle.  

What’s the critics’ verdict?

The 2004 model actually has some really great reviews from critics. Edmunds gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Some of the features they liked were the spacious interior, the handling, and impressive crash test scores. Even though the 2004 model is 16 years old, the third-row seat folds flat, giving you more room for cargo. There are some brand new SUVs that still can’t do that.

Consumer Reports likes the 2004 model for the most part. There is one area that downgraded the Expedition’s score, however. The fuel economy is one of the worst on the market. If you don’t mind getting only 12 mpg, and having to fill up frequently, then the 2004 Expedition isn’t so bad. If that doesn’t sound appealing, run. 

2020 Ford Expedition

If you’re still interested in a used model, after 2006 the complaints on the Ford Expedition drop exponentially, so you should definitely check out some used models. Buying used isn’t for everyone, however. If that’s the case for you, then the 2020 Ford Expedition is getting some pretty decent reviews. 

U.S. News ranked it near the top of its SUV division, and only had a few complaints. The Expedition’s massive size makes maneuvering in tight spaces more than a little difficult, so don’t expect to be swinging around curves like you would in a Ford Focus. U.S. News also thinks that it’s more than a little overpriced. Other than that, the 2020 is elegant, spacious, and has decent fuel economy. 

Car and Driver was a little harder on the 2020 Expedition. They like the huge interior and the powerful V-6 engine, but that’s about all. Like U.S. News, Car and Driver thinks that the Expedition is not worth the money Ford is charging, especially since the materials used in the cabin are anything but expensive. Still, if you really want one, just wait a couple of years and the price will drop.