Ford's Expedition EL is a huge SUV capable of carrying nine passengers, their luggage and still tow a heavy trailer. For the most part, the EL succeeds. It has a roomy third-row seat, it handles reasonably well, and it accelerates strongly while towing our 5,000-pound test trailer. However, the Expedition's ride is stiff, it gets low fuel economy and the engine frequently sounds coarse and strained.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
NA
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags available 2001-2002, standard from 2007. Head protection air bags and ESC available from 2003, standard from 2007.
Road Test

Ford's Expedition EL is a huge SUV capable of carrying nine passengers, their luggage and still tow a heavy trailer. For the most part, the EL succeeds. It has a roomy third-row seat, it handles reasonably well, and it accelerates strongly while towing our 5,000-pound test trailer. However, the Expedition's ride is stiff, it gets low fuel economy and the engine frequently sounds coarse and strained. A rear-view camera is optional.

Seating
3 front, 3 rear, 3 third
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
extended SUV
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 5.4-liter V8 (310 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Ford Expedition owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

"Paint chipping on tailgate and on fromt bumper"

Dori W., IN (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

"Rear hatch paint peeling off"

Paul B., MB (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

"Second Expedition we've owned with paint pealing on the hood and back liftgate"

John V., NY (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Paint along the trim area is gone - small amount"

Raymond F., MI (2012 Ford Expedition XL 5.4-L V8)

"Paint crumbling off trunk lid"

Charles H., MN (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)
Rust

"The back tailgate is rusting and paint is beginning to flake and peel"

Russell M., FL (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

"Rear tailgate door rust found on chrome trim and lower perimeter of door. Occurred within two years of ownership repaired under warranty"

Anonymous, MB (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"rust is forming under the paint on back door , next to handle. This vehicle is ALWAYS garaged"

Ronald O., WA (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"There is an area of rust on the tailgate that we will have to fix soon"

Anonymous, NE (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat belts

"Ford always seems to have trouble with their seat belts not retracting when you get out of the car. As a result, they get caught in the door and wear more than they should"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"corrosion on the tail gate. 3 different areas"

James R., IL (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

"Some of the paint at the rear lift gate is gone small areas"

Raymond F., MI (2012 Ford Expedition XL 5.4-L V8)

"Trunk lid paint peeling off"

Charles H., MN (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)
Windows

"The regulator in both the driver's and passenger's side has gone out and had to be totally replaced"

Dori W., IN (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

"Driver side front window regulator failed. Dealer fixed in one day without issue"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Heated or cooled seat controls

"The seats quit working. The light would flash on and off.It took 3 trips and many hours at dealer to get fixed. The module had gone out plus something had burned and melted and had to be relaxed under the seat. It cost about $500 total to fix"

Dana M., LA (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Failed at 2 years of ownership. Out of warranty so had to pay myself. Ford dealership was not very responsive, so had independent shop perform replacement"

Anonymous, OK (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Automatic climate control

"Passenger side blows cold air when heat is on"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"The motor that controlled the dual climate flow was replaced"

Raymond S., WI (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Just starting in the past couple of months, the rear heater fan often won't turn on. Every once in a while it does"

Anonymous, WA (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)
Heater system

"Damper motor failed and would only blow cold air"

Delmer A., AL (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Power steering leaks

"Not urgent - caught during routine service"

Anonymous, NM (2012 Ford Expedition Unsure 5.4-L V8)

"Small leak fixed under warranty"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Shocks or struts

"They failed at 36,050 miles and ford claimed no responsibility under warranty because we had 50 miles over 36,000. Would never buy a ford product again"

Russell M., FL (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

"strut broke"

Ronald O., WA (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Leaking. Failed inspection"

Anonymous, ME (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Premature brake wear

"Brakes wore out at about 30000 miles. The car is very heavy and the brakes do not seem built for the car"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Rotors

"Pulsating when braking"

Anonymous, NM (2012 Ford Expedition Unsure 5.4-L V8)

"Rotors warped prematurely and there is a wobble during breaking to indicate this"

Michael G., CO (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Calipers

"Uneven break wear"

Anonymous, IN (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Had to replace the left exhaust manifold and left catalytic converter; in addition to Oxygen sensors"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"The check engine light came on. The oxygen sensor was replaced at no charge"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Replaced sensors twice"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Check engine light resulted in replacement of oxygen sensors covered by warranty, currently check engine light requires replacement of more sensors not covered by warranty"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Ford Expedition XL 5.4-L V8)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

"failure of side step to activate when door is opened"

Alice M., TX (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)
Wiper motor or washer

"Both the right front (passenger side) and rear wiper transmission assembly (motors) have failed and the entire assembly had to be replaced. Not a major serious issue but I thought the failure was a little premature"

R I., NY (2012 Ford Expedition XLT 5.4-L V8)

"Back window wiper motor "seized up" and stopped working completely. Back cargo window sensor continually said back window was ajar"

Anonymous, ME (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"Sounds like something loose in head liner on both sides of sun roof rear track. Almost directly above front seat head rests. Possibly air duct or wiring for electronics in headliner. Pressing up on head liner causes noise to subside"

Anonymous, IA (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

"passenger window rattles when driving with the window partially down"

James R., IL (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Voice control commands

"Sound quality of sync / Bluetooth system has been worse than expected"

Ken M., NC (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Engine would not accelerate, Computer was reprogramed. That solved the problem"

Mario P., AZ (2012 Ford Expedition Limited 5.4-L V8)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Exhaust leaks

"Vehicle has an overpowering smell of gas upon starting. Dealership has been unable to diagnose"

David J., TX (2012 Ford Expedition King Ranch 5.4-L V8)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

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