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A black 2021 Ford Expedition STX is parked in the snow with mountains in the background.

Which Ford Expedition is Right for You?

When you’re shopping for a vehicle, having a lot of options available to you can be a good thing since it gives you more freedom to find the model that’s just right. But sometimes, all of those options can get a little bit overwhelming or make it difficult to figure out which combination is really the best one for you. Looking at the 2021 Ford Expedition, for example, at first glance, it seems simple enough: it’s a full-size four-door SUV. Once you start looking at the trim levels available for the Expedition, however, then everything gets a bit more complicated.

Because, when you look at what’s available overall, there are nine different trims for you to choose from before you even get into available packages and other options. Trying to sort through all of these possibilities can quickly become frustrating, especially if you’re just trying to see what the Expedition has available. Fortunately, the options aren’t actually as complicated as they might seem at first, and you can pretty easily narrow them down to a few major decisions to get the right model.
Let’s take a look at everything the 2021 Ford Expedition offers and see which one is right for you.

2021 Ford Expedition Overview

Before we get into specifics, let’s quickly look at the features and design of the Ford Expedition in general. This is a full-size SUV with three rows of seating available, with four doors and a powerful design that gives it great towing and performance. There’s one engine for the Expedition, though two versions of it are available, so keep that in mind. Perhaps the biggest thing to note, however, is that eight of the nine available trims are actually two different versions of four trims – so first, decide on if you want a standard or MAX model.

A white 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum Max is towing a trailer down a tree-line road.

Standard vs MAX

The easiest thing to figure out first about the 2021 Ford Expedition is if a standard model would work for you or if you prefer a MAX version. They are essentially the same in terms of overall features and the systems you get with them, but MAX models are larger and have a longer wheelbase, which translates into more interior cargo space. For your passengers, there’s almost no difference between the two, so it really comes down to cargo space.

A standard Expedition model is 210 inches long, with about 20.9 cu.ft. of space behind the rear seats, up to 63.6 cu.ft. of space behind the second row of seats, and up to about 104.6 cu.ft. of total cargo volume behind the front row. The Expedition MAX, however, is nearly 222 inches long, with up to 36 cu.ft. of space behind the third row, 79.6 cu.ft. available behind the second row, and 121.5 cu.ft. of total cargo volume inside it. So you really just have to decide if you want that additional space and can fit the larger size into your life.

2021 Ford Expedition XL STX

This is a unique trim in the Ford Expedition lineup for a couple of reasons, which will probably make it easy to decide on if this one’s right for you or not. The XL STX has the standard engine and great safety features thanks to the Ford Co-Pilot360 package that includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and a Blind Spot Information System. This model has the lowest price of any Expedition, so you won’t find a lot of advanced features and extra luxury.

The two biggest factors to consider, however, are that a MAX version is not available, and this model only has two rows of seating. So you get seating for up to five people in this trim, rather than up to eight in some other models, but you have all the space behind the second row for cargo that the standard Expedition features. This is a great choice if you don’t care about a MAX model, don’t need three rows of seats, want a lot of cargo space, and you’re on a budget.

The black interior is shown from the side in a 2021 Ford Expedition XL SXT.

2021 Ford Expedition XLT

The first of the four standard trims for the 2021 Ford Expedition, the XLT was the starting option in previous years, before the XL STX was added. It has the standard 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine with up to 375 hp and up to 470 lb-ft of torque, with RWD though 4WD is available. You get an 8-way power driver seat, standard steering wheel, an 8-inch infotainment display, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Other features like heated seating, a heated steering wheel, and an 8-inch display instrument cluster are available for this trim but not standard.

2021 Ford Expedition Limited

If you’re interested in some more standard luxury features, this is a great option for the 2021 Ford Expedition. The Limited includes a 10-way power driver’s seat and 8-way power front-passenger seat, with third-row smart-charging USB ports, the 8-inch driver display, and heated and ventilated first-row seats, all standard. A remote start system, wireless charging pad, and interior ambient lighting are also all standard on the Limited trim. While a 6-speaker sound system comes on the XL STX and XLT trims, the Limited features a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

2021 Ford Expedition King Ranch

The King Ranch trim for the 2021 Ford Expedition has everything the Limited has to offer, plus a few unique features. For one thing, the King Ranch features Del Rio leather seating with mesa and ebony trim on the steering wheel and throughout the interior. It also has unique badging inside and out, with a stone gray grille mesh and other details that give it a distinct appearance. Ford’s 360-degree camera with a split-view display comes standard on the King Ranch, while it is part of an available package for the Limited and XLT.

2021 Ford Expedition Platinum

Finally, we have the Platinum, which is the highest trim for the 2021 Ford Expedition and is a great choice if you want the best performance possible. That’s because this model includes a Platinum Series engine that’s tuned for improved performance. It’s a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that delivers up to 400 hp and up to 480 lb-ft of torque, with a continuously controlled damping suspension for a smoother overall ride. The Platinum has a number of luxury touches inside and out, including real wood accents for the interior and a chrome grille with power-deployable body-color-painted running boards.

You pretty much get all of the bells and whistles with the Platinum trim, including a power, panoramic Vista Roof, first-row multicontour seats, enhanced active noise control, and a Wollsdorf leather-wrapped steering wheel. This is a gorgeous full-size SUV that surrounds you in luxury and sophisticated technology, including an 8-inch infotainment display, an 8-inch driver display, and the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Final Considerations

As you can see, a lot of these trims are what you’d expect: increasing luxury, technology, and similar features as you move up from one to another. The major considerations to keep in mind are whether you want the added cargo space of a MAX model compared to a standard 2021 Ford Expedition and if you want a third row of seating. With the addition of the XL STX trim this year, you have a new option that’s a great choice if you’re on a budget and require more cargo space than seating. Otherwise, the Expedition you choose will really come down to the features you want and the cargo space you need.

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