When is a truck not a truck? Give up? When it’s a dinosaur! Confused? Don’t be. Allow us to explain. Back in the 1990’s there was a bit of a maniacal obsession with having an SUV. Everyone had to have one, and the bigger the better. So, the public demanded it, and car companies were more than happy to provide with bountifully big and beautifully fuel-thirsty modern day Jurassic Park-sized super haulers. The peak of this craze came when the Ford Expedition lumbered onto the scene to do battle with the long-standing king of the beasts Chevy Suburban. These two massive monsters duked it out, each winning different rounds, while Mother Nature always seemed to come away the loser thanks to woefully pitiful fuel mileage numbers that would have made the BP Deepwater Horizon spill look like something they could’ve fixed using some Flex Seal and some duct tape.

But while the days of gas-guzzling like alcoholics in a brewery are gone for the most part, the desire for big trucks that can haul a small town and a boat has not gone anywhere. And because of that fact, the Ford Expedition is far from extinct, and in fact, has somewhat adapted to the modern day world. Now don’t be confused, as the Expedition, specifically the Max Platinum edition hasn’t lost any of its size. With a wheelbase of 131.6 inches and an overall length of 221.9 inches, it can still be confused for a semi, RV, or Brontosaurus. The Max is the extra-big version of the standard Expedition, which adds an extra 15 cubic feet of storage space. The basic suspension setup is still from a few million years BC, but there was a significant upgrade to an independent rear suspension in 2003. The big news for the Max Platinum is that most of the body is actually made out of aluminum comically enough. The aluminum does help reduce some the Expedition’s heft and mass, but at 6,047 pounds, that’s like handing a stegosaurus a Diet Coke.

The biggest advances that have helped the Expedition catapult light years into the future comes through the drivetrain. Gone are the prehistorically outdated V8 and V10 engines, and in their place, comes a twin-turbo DOHC aluminum V6 replete with direct injection. And while the cylinder count may be down, those two turbos more than make up for the loss of displacement. This motor puts down a very serious 375 horsepower on regular gas (400 on premium), and a massive 480 pound-feet of torque at a barely-over-idle 3,250 rpm. Opt of the HD Trailer Tow Package, and that torque can help you haul up to 9,000 pounds. Backing up that power is a very impressive 10-speed automatic transmission that always seems to make good decisions, and is never caught searching for the right gear like some CVT-hobbled SUVs we could name …

That power and torque combined with the turbos ability to ramp up to speed quickly and a transmission that knows what it needs to do, the giant Expedition rockets from 0-60 mph in Raptor quick 5.9 seconds. The quarter-mile comes and goes in only 14.6 seconds at 94 mph, while 0-100 mph takes 20.5 seconds, not that you should be going that fast in something this size. That mass does take a toll on the brakes however, as 70-0 mph does require 192 feet, and the skidpad is a bit challenging for the Expedition, as its 0.78 g posting can confirm, although that still isn’t a bad mark all things considered. The modern revolution continues with push-button all-wheel drive, which helps the Max transition from hauler to, hauler almost instantly.

When it’s all said and done though, the Max does hark back to its ancient past when it comes to fuel economy, and while a crocodile may look like a dinosaur that has figured out how to exist in our modern world, it still has a serious appetite, just like the Expedition. It’s fuel mileage chimes in at 16/21 city/highway mph with a combined EPA of 18 mpg, which isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, but you’ll never confuse it with a Prius.

With a base price of just under 80k, the Expedition needs to be a choice. Choosing it means choosing a truck that doesn’t pretend, and doesn’t make excuses. It is a shining symbol of ‘Merica, in so many good and bad ways. It is a link to the past, and something of a fossil in a digital world. But when you’re hauling a four-ton boat and five kids, sometimes it’s okay to have an SUV that may just also be part dinosaur.