Last year, Ford reapplied for the "Excursion" trademark, sparking hope among some that Ford would bring back its massive, fuel-swilling SUV from the early 2000s. For now, though, Ford's largest SUV and family hauler is the Expedition. And now, a new base trim level is making that full-size SUV noticeably cheaper.
Ford, as first reported by Ford Authority, has added a new XL STX trim to the Expedition lineup. Unlike every other Expedition trim level, it only seats five, as it eliminates the third row of seats. Unique appearance features include a gloss black five-bar grille, 18-inch magnetic-metallic painted aluminum wheels and body-color cladding, wheel-lip molding and fascia. (Sadly for those dreaming of Fords with cargo areas rivalling the Enterprise-D's shuttlebay, the trim won't be available on the extended-wheelbase Expedition Max.
Creature comforts for the Expedition XL STX trim are few and far between, at least by 2021 standards. The seats are unheated and cloth-upholstered, with the front passenger seat adjusting just four ways — and you have to do so manually. But the trim will be tech-friendly, with Wi-Fi hotspot capability and twin USB ports for each row, plus four 12V powerpoints. And feel free to hydrate, because it still comes with 15 cup holders — three per potential occupant.
While you lose some flexibility without the third-row seating, we suspect many Expedition buyers choose it for their cargo space needs rather than a prodigious brood of children. And you still get Ford's capable 3.5-liter V6 engine making 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque paired with a smooth 10-speed automatic, which earns a reasonable 20-mpg-combined fuel economy.
Here's the kicker: the XL STX trim drops the Expedition base price to $49,995, a significant reduction from the $52,810 figure for the 2020 model year. However, destination/delivery charges, taxes, and other options (oh, did you want floor mats?) will push the eventual price above that symbolic $50,000 threshold. Still, if you don't need a third row of seats or too many options, this could be the giant SUV for you.