As the flagship of the 2012 Ford Expedition fleet, the King Ranch offers near Lincoln-esque appointments at a more down-to-earth price. This full-size SUV flaunts seating for 8 in 3 rows and just over 108 cubic feet of cargo capacity, not to mention standard torque-toting rear-wheel-drive (RWD).
Outside, expect 18-inch alloy wheels, a power-opening rear liftgate, a roof rack with side rails, molded step running boards, a heavy-duty towing package and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, look for upgraded premium leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, heated and reclining second-row seats, power-folding third-row seatbacks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather, simulated wood and simulated alloy interior trim accents.
Cruise control, tilt-wheel steering, power-adjustable pedals, full power accessories and driver's memory settings all come standard on this high-end ute, as does a universal remote garage door opener, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. All of this is, of course, embraced by tri-zone climate control, as is the standard Bluetooth/SYNC AppLink infotainment and hands-free communication technology.
Entertainment, finally, is presented via a 340-watt system that sports an MP3-capable single-CD player, 7 speakers, satellite radio, a USB port and separate rear-seat audio controls.
Believe it or not, this loaded-up ute offers such options as remote engine start, a power moonroof, hard-drive-based navigation, second-row captain’s chairs (for 7-passenger capacity), rear-seat DVD entertainment, HD radio, an auto-leveling rear suspension and/or a 3.73 non-limited-slip rear axle for those extra-tough towing jobs.
Like its lesser siblings, the 2012 King Ranch sports a Flex Fuel 5.3-liter V8 powerplant that boasts variable valve timing (VVT), 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. Under the management of its 6-speed automatic transmission, this big ute will tow some 9,200 pounds when properly equipped, with mileage estimated at 14 mpg city/20 highway.
The more notable standard safety features, meantime, remain 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and 3-row head airbags. Front fog/driving lights and turn-signal-integrated mirrors, of course, remain standard safety equipment, as do a post-collision safety system, rain-sensing wipers and a remote antitheft alarm. Finally, as with all its Expedition kinfolk, the King Ranch carries Ford’s MyKey programmable speed and audio settings, ensuring a little less tossing and turning when the kids borrow the ute for an evening.