The Ford Expedition is a great full size SUV that continues to rival its General Motors SUV competition. Ford is hoping to offer something the GM lineup doesn’t, however, with a new Expedition XL STX trim level that hopes to bring some added style and lower price to the base level truck in the 2021 model year.
The 2021 Ford Expedition XL STX gets a blacked out look with black mirrors, a gloss black five bar grille and Magnetic painted 18 inch wheels. There’s also some STX badging on the C-pillar. More than anything, this new model doesn’t look like a base level offering, which was almost certainly Ford’s intent. It also looks more rugged than a typical low trim model, and it has more of an emphasis on style than base level Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs. That being said, most of it is just appearance, and there aren’t any off-road bits to go along with it. If you want an Expedition with some off-road credentials, you’ll need to wait for the upcoming Timberline version.
For 2020, Ford didn’t sell an Expedition with a base price under $50,000, but the new XL STX comes in just $5 short of that threshold, at $49,995. An in order to keep the price down, it only has a few available options, and isn’t available in an extended wheelbase Max variant.
One is 4×4, as rear drive is standard. The other is a Heavy Duty Trailer Tow package that now comes with Pro Trailer Backup Assist. The package gives a 3.73 rear axle, trailer brake and heavy-duty radiator. These parts result in a best in class tow rating of 9,300 pounds on two wheel drive models and 9,200 pounds on 4×4 models.
The one aspect of this 2021 Ford Expedition XL STX that is sure to divide opinion is the lack of third row. To keep that price under $50k, Ford is only offering it in a five seat configuration. For families that rarely use the third row, it’s probably a good thing, giving more trunk space all the time. But if you need the extra seating, you’d better fork up a couple thousand more for the XLT model.
Overall, the XL STX is a compelling Expedition for it’s attractive price and styling, and it’s great to see an automaker putting in some effort to making their base model interesting.