The 2024 Ford Expedition is the largest SUV in Ford’s lineup, with seating for up to eight and plenty of cargo volume to boast about. But if the regular version of the Expedition still isn’t big enough to suit your needs, don’t worry—you can always opt for the Expedition Max instead.
Looking at the Expedition’s lineup of trims, you may wonder why some trims have a “Max” version and what, exactly, that means. Well, basically the Expedition Max is an even bigger version of the Ford Expedition. That’s easy enough to understand, but this one simple change has ripple effects that you may not consider at first. If you’re interested in getting a large SUV and want to know whether the Expedition or Expedition Max is right for you, then read on to discover what happens when you supersize Ford’s biggest SUV.
The most significant difference between the Expedition and Expedition Max is the length of the wheelbase. The standard Expedition is already plenty long at 122.5 in, which gives the body room for three rows of seating and a generous 36.1 in of legroom in the third row, or 40.9 in if the second row is shifted all the way forward. Second-row passengers enjoy 41.5 to 42.6 in of legroom, depending on how the seat is positioned. With all of the seats full, there’s still 19.3 cu.ft. of volume in the cargo area, and with the second and third rows folded down, that can be expanded to 104.6 cu.ft.
With the Expedition Max, the wheelbase is expanded to 131.6 in. Looking at the overall length, the Max is nearly a foot longer than the standard Expedition, though its width is the same. Since the Expedition already provides plenty of legroom, the Max doesn’t put that extra length toward the passenger area. It only adds 0.1 cu.ft. to the total passenger volume. It’s the cargo area that makes the Max worth upgrading to. With the third row fully upright, the Expedition Max can provide 36 cu.ft. of cargo space, even while all of the seats are being occupied. Fold those seats down, and the Max can provide 121.5 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the first row, giving you plenty of space to store the bulkiest of items.
All models of the 2024 Expedition are powered by the same engine, and that includes Max models. The Max adds extra length, and that translates to extra weight as well. Since the Max is over 150 lbs heavier than the standard Expedition and doesn’t have a more powerful engine, you would expect it to be weaker when it comes to performance. While that’s objectively true, the difference is fairly minimal. The Expedition’s 3.5L V6 engine provides up to 440 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to carry even the larger Max with ease.
According to testing done by MotorTrend, an Expedition with the standard-output engine and AWD can go from zero to sixty in 6.2 seconds, and the Max comes in at 6.9 seconds, which is a difference of less than a second. Fuel economy is also not affected much, with the estimated city/highway combined ratings coming in the same regardless of whether a model is a Max or not. Of course, if you load that extra volume up with heavy cargo, that might be a different story.
Depending on how your Expedition is configured, opting for the Max model may affect the total amount of weight you can tow by a few hundred lbs. On a model with a 4×4 drivetrain and conventional towing, there’s no difference at all: both the standard Expedition and Expedition Max can handle up to 6,000 lbs. However, if you opt for 4×2, then you boost the figure of the Max up to 6,300 lbs while the standard Expedition remains at 6,000 lbs.
With the available heavy-duty trailer towing package, however, the standard Expedition comes out on top. With either 4×2 or 4×4, the Expedition Mac can tow up to 9,000 lbs with this package. That’s plenty for most drivers, but those who need that figure a bit higher can tow 9,200 lbs with a standard Expedition with a 4×4 drivetrain and 9,300 lbs with a 4×2.
Trim Levels Available
Most trim levels on the Expedition are available with either the standard or Max wheelbase, so you can choose a level that’s right for your budget and has the features you’re looking for, from extra tech to luxuries like heated and ventilated front seats. The entry-level XL STX trim is only available in the standard length, so if you’ve got a tight budget, then the Max might not be for you. Of course, no matter what trim level you opt for, the Max version will cost a bit more. This makes sense since it’s larger and takes more materials to construct. Across the board, Max trims have an MSRP that’s $3,000 higher than their standard-length counterparts.
The most affordable Max trim is the XLT, which features eight-person seating, a power-folding third-row seat with power recline, and six smart charging USB ports throughout the cabin. One level up, the Limited features a two-panel moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated captain’s chairs in the second row. The King Ranch gets you leather seats, a larger touchscreen display, and a 360º camera view, among other goodies. At the very top, the Platinum trim comes standard with everything from a B&O premium sound system with 22 speakers to continuously controlled damping suspension with road preview for an extra-smooth ride.
If you’re looking for anything from a basic interior to a luxurious experience, you can upgrade to the Max wheelbase easily. However, if you want to take your three-row SUV off-road, then you’ll want to stick to the standard length. The Timberline trim, which features zone lighting around the exterior, off-road shocks, and specially crafted tech features like Ford Trail Control, does not have a Max equivalent. Those who want to hit the OHV trails will just have to pack a little lighter or make use of the roof racks to bring their gear along for the ride.
To Max or Not to Max?
So, is Max worth that extra few thousand dollars? That depends on whether you’re going to make use of that bonus cargo space. If you regularly make legendary Costco runs with the kids along for the ride or like to go antiquing and would rather take that armoire home yourself than pay extra for delivery, Max may well be worth it. This could also be true if you have a big family and will regularly need to fill all of the seats and will still want room for luggage in the back.
But keep in mind that the Expedition is already a large vehicle at its standard length. The extra foot of length probably won’t make much of a difference most of the time, but it could make maneuvering in tight spaces or crowded parking lots more annoying. So unless you feel strongly that you need that extra cargo volume, you’re probably better off saving your money and sticking with the standard length of the Expedition.