Top-Rated 2012 SUVs: Performance & Design
Each year, J.D. Power and Associates conducts an Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) to ask vehicle owners about the performance and design aspects of their new cars, trucks and SUVs. Through this industry-standard survey, tens of thousands of people tell J.D. Power about how their vehicle performs, how comfortable it is, how well the interior is designed and functions, and how they feel about the vehicle's design. This 2012 SUV buyer's guide is based on the overall APEAL rating, listing in alphabetical order those SUV models that are top-rated for performance and design in the 2012 APEAL Study.
The Ford Expedition is a full-size, 8-passenger SUV sold in regular- and extended-length wheelbases, the latter model referred to as the Expedition EL. Buyers select from XL, XLT, Limited, and King Ranch trim levels, all equipped with a 310-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 engine and a choice between rear-wheel (2WD) and 4-wheel drive (4WD).
One unique aspect of the Expedition is that the SUV has an independent rear suspension. This more compact suspension design adds third-row passenger room and allows the third-row seat to be folded into the cargo floor like a minivan whereas some competing models require removal and storage of the third-row seat to maximize cargo space.
In 2012, Ford added new side mirrors to the Expedition, designed to help the driver better see in the SUV's blind spots. Additionally, heated second-row seats are available when the XLT Premium package is ordered, and front park-assist sensors complement rear park-assist sensors on the Limited and King Ranch trim levels.
According to Ford, the Expedition can tow 9,200 pounds, while the Expedition EL is rated to pull 8,900 pounds of weight. With all rear seats folded, the Expedition holds 108.3 cubic feet of cargo, while the Expedition EL swallows 130.8 cubic feet.