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Leather-lined royalty: Ford Expedition King Ranch returns

Following a hiatus, the king of the ranch is back in SUV form.

2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch
Large and in charge: the king has returned.

Believe it or not, Ford has sold King Ranch models for 20 years now, following the F-150 King Ranch introduction back in 1999. In 2005, the Blue Oval expanded the successful trim to the Expedition, and after a recent hiatus, it's back and full of more Southwestern-inspired opulence than ever.

The 2020 Ford Expedition King Ranch debuted on Wednesday to slot just underneath the range-topping Platinum model. Ford said its return comes at a good time; Expedition sales have grown 56% in 2019 compared to last year. Americans, clearly, still can't get enough of their big SUVs.

And the Expedition King Ranch wants to give Ford SUV buyers more options and luxuries. Right away, the King Ranch differentiates itself with Stone Gray paint coloring the grille, power running boards, rear skid plate and other areas. The SUV also dons body-color upper bumpers, with the same Stone Gray finishing the lower portion of the bumpers. Matching its macho style are 22-inch six-spoke wheels with dark painted pockets. Just to remind onlookers of the ranch-derived royalty, the "Running W" emblem sits on the Expedition's sides, the rear and on the wheels' center caps.

The southern comforts are aplenty inside. Del Rio leather upholstery is awash over all three rows of seats and the door panels. The steering wheel, also leather-wrapped, includes stitching, while a Zirocote wood veneer aptly gives off a premium yet humble sense of luxury. The Expedition Platinum is loud and proud; the Expedition King Ranch takes a softer approach to luxury. Of course, the same Running W emblem is emblazoned on each seat in all three rows as well as the center console storage box.

Additional interior features common to all Expedition King Ranch models are power-folding second captain's chairs for the second row and Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety features.

Those looking for a little extra luxury will still find a home in the updated 2020 Expedition Platinum model. Now, the leather-lined SUV includes quilted bolsters for the second-row seats, new premium instrument panel wrapped in leather and -- you guessed it -- leather trim on a host of other interior touch points. Outside, an updated 22-inch wheel design keeps the big SUV looking large and in charge.

The Expedition King Ranch, like the Platinum model, will be available in both the standard wheelbase and supersized Max bodystyles. Prices aren't available just yet, but look for the cost to slot neatly between the Limited and Platinum Expedition trims.

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