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2021 Ford Expedition Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2021 Ford Expedition Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: XL vs XLT vs Limited, King Ranch & Platinum
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2021 Ford Expedition Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Born with a competitive attitude, the Ford Expedition emerged in 1997 as a replacement to the nostalgic Ford Bronco model. As a full-size SUV, the Ford Expedition made its way into the auto market as a four-door modal and has maintained that identity ever since. Manufactured as both regular and extended cab layouts, the Ford Expedition has plenty of space for passengers and cargo. Replicated by rivals in the Chevrolet Tahoe and Lincoln Navigator, the Ford Expedition opened the door for success in large SUV models in decades past. Despite its historical prevalence, the Ford Expedition is not stuck in the past.

The new 2021 Ford Expedition seeks to combine modern amenities with a traditional style that incorporates all the features consumers love most. Now in its fourth generation, Ford Expedition models from 2018 onward have seen an uptick in intuitive safety features and advanced technology that offer much more to buyers than they could ever imagine. This new generation features an innovative body-on-frame layout that is comprised of high-strength steel to enhance its collision damage resistance. Also, using a newly-designed four-wheel independent suspension layout and upgraded powertrain options, you will find the 2021 Ford Expedition is smoother and more efficient for this model year. In fact, the 2021 Ford Expedition also sees the introduction of a modern hybrid powertrain option.

This SUV's strong, sculpted exterior contouring is paired with a more spacious interior to ensure this new Expedition is the best version yet. The 2021 Ford Expedition is available in five trim levels, including the XL, XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum. Each of these trim options offers a different take on the 2021 Ford Expedition. This guide is intended to help you discern between them all and decide which one may be the best option for you and your lifestyle.

Compare the 2021 Ford Expedition XL vs XLT Trim Levels. What is the difference?

The general expectation of an entry-level vehicle is that it will be basic with minimal amenities and economical interior facets. While this is partially true, the 2021 Ford Expedition XL surprises consumers with its version of value. With seating for five to eight passengers, the XL offers seven exterior color options. Two fewer options than its XLT counterpart does not get the base trim level down, though. The XL still has plenty of options, including a choice between a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive setup. It also offers a Heavy-Duty Tow Package optional upgrade.

Under the hood the 2021 Ford Expedition XL kicks off this model's lineup with a 3.5-liter V6 engine. Capable of producing up to 375 horsepower, this engine is standard throughout all trim levels with the exception of the high-level Platinum model. This engine is also paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, as is most other 2021 Ford Expedition models. This twin-turbocharged engine provides a sturdy basis for the power and capacity the Ford Expedition is known for. Sporting a choice between rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, consumers can choose just how far to take their rendition of this SUV.

While the 2021 Ford Expedition XLT boasts the same powertrain components as the XL does, it differentiates itself from the base-level model through its inclusion of superior amenities. Incorporating a motion-activated liftgate, the XLT makes it easy to load and unload at the rear door with innovative technology additions. It also offers a heated steering wheel, as well as heated and ventilated front seats for ultimate comfort. While a set of 18-inch wheels brings the XLT back down to other, the other facets of this model near premium quality.

Compare the 2021 Ford Expedition XLT vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

The 2021 Ford Expedition XLT is hard to beat in terms of value. It combines quality and convenience in a package that is like any other Expedition model offered. While the Limited adds in a few more premium features, the overall value of the XLT is impressive. To separate itself from the XLT expectations, the Limited trim adds in a few more tech-savvy amenities. A rear entertainment system to keep passengers in the back occupied is the first feature it adds that the XLT cannot produce.

Similar to the XL and XLT trims, the Limited offers a twin-turbo V6, standard rear-wheel drive, and a 10-speed automatic transmission. It can tow up to 6,000 pounds, which makes it a great choice for hauling a boat the lake or towing a camper for a weekend getaway. However, the Limited trim plays up its performance attributes a bit with optional adaptive suspension, 22-inch wheels, and fluid-filled shocks that can be magnetic. It also adds a feature called Enhanced Park Assist that is equipped with automatic parking sensors to reduce the likelihood of fender benders.

Aside from its changes under the hood, the 2021 Ford Expedition Limited also boasts a few additional modifications. Adding in a few more paint choices, buyers can choose from ten paint selections total. Black exterior accents are also optional on the Limited trim, which provide it with a more athletic appearance. Door handles that match the body color are also optional. A roof rack is also standard on the Limited trim, but its rails-only composure it more for looks than functionality.

Compare the 2021 Ford Expedition Limited vs King Ranch Trim Level. What is the difference?

Judging by the name choices in these two trim levels, one can assume the King Ranch is going to be a more rugged and work-oriented Ford Expedition model. Still yet, the powertrain setup of the King Ranch is the same of the underlying trim levels. However, an available Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package and Cargo Package are unique to this model. The Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package offers an HD radiator, Pro Trailer Backup Assist functionality, and a trailer brake controller that is integrated into its technology. The Cargo Package adds in rail crossbars that are black in color, making them both functional and stylish.

Though this model is ready to work or pull double-duty getting your family where they need to be, the 2021 Ford Expedition King Ranch is also good-looking and well-equipped. It offers locking via a keypad for easy and modern access, as well as auto-locking doors that make it easier to secure this vehicle. It also features a standard navigation system and memory seats that highlight the complexity of this vehicle's interior features. A proximity key and remote keyless entry makes this SUV standard with similar models from other automakers, and while other features help it stand out.

In fact, some of the ways the Ford Expedition stands out among others is a direct result of Ford's signature integrations. From the FordPass Connect 4G Wi-Fi to the Ford Co-Pilot360 safety suite, drivers gain access to features this vehicle is known for. From connectivity to safety, these Ford-specific attributes are dedicated to passenger well-being. In fact, a combination of these two elements is evident in the 2021 Ford Expedition's Sync 3 911 Assist integration, which is included in the King Ranch trim.

Compare the 2021 Ford Expedition King Ranch vs Platinum Trim. What is the difference?

Going from better to best, the 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum gives its all to buyers to give them the most comprehensive and equipped version of itself. Take note that the 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum is the only model to offer a standard engine that is different than that of any other trim. A 3.5-liter V6 engine that can produce up to 400 horsepower impresses potential buyers as an outstanding inclusion. Still relying on a 10-speed automatic transmission, the Platinum model can produce up to 480 lb.-ft. of torque. As with all other models, though, it does come standard with a rear-wheel drivetrain.

The use of space within the Platinum trim is more efficient than that of any other Ford Expedition model. With a full floor console and an overhead console with storage space, this trim level offers more space for stowing items than any other. In fact, it can even seat up to seven or eight passengers, which is one person more than other Expedition trims, too.

Aside from a more efficient use of space, the accents and amenities within the 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum are premium and of high-quality. Massaging front seats that are perfectly contoured, real-wood accents, leather trimming throughout, and a premium leather-wrapped steering wheel are just a few niceties offered in this trim level. Virtually everything within the 2021 Ford Expedition Platinum sets buyers up for what should be demanded from a premium-level SUV.

Which Trim to Choose?

The 2021 Ford Expedition is a unique SUV, because it can meet the needs and requests of a variety of consumers. It is not just luxury-minded or performance-based, but it balances all these aspirations evenly. Equipped with a variety of Ford-based technology and connectivity features, the Expedition manages to display its innovative energy while staying true to its traditional roots. In fact, the Expedition has made it through several generations and years of production by doing so in a way that is efficient and desirable to consumers.

With five different trim level options in its current 2021 lineup, the Ford Expedition caters to every type of consumer. From the budget-driven XL enthusiast to the top-notch Platinum buyer, and everything in between, the 2021 Ford Expedition makes it relevant to consumers from all walks of life. Interestingly enough, despite its multi-faceted approach at marketing, many of the features of the newest Ford Expedition remain the same throughout all models. For example, the Expedition's signature 3.5-liter V6 engine does not see any upgrade until it reaches the very top Platinum model.

While these trim levels are astonishingly similar, they also differ in small ways that are noticeable to consumers who seek them out. From connectivity to safety to comfort, each Ford Expedition model provides its own take on the level it prefers for each facet. Though none of the Expedition trim levels are too basic, even the base model XL knows a thing or two about comfort and convenience. Any consumer gains access to standards features that are somewhat enhanced in the 2021 Ford Expedition.

As a traditional SUV that incorporates premium features, the 2021 Ford Expedition is available to those willing to spend a bit more on a quality vehicle. Even in its base model, the Ford Expedition is not one to sacrifice quality for cost. Therefore, buyers can expect to pay a bit more for any 2021 Ford Expedition trim level. That is just fine for most, because the goal is to provide a comfortable and safe riding experience for all passengers. The real difference between the 2021 Ford Expedition and other full-size SUVs is that it manages to do so in style and is at a great value for all it encompasses.

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Compare the 2020 Ford Expedition Trim Levels