When you're in unfamiliar territory, the "miles to empty" display on the FX is a little nerve wracking. It does a fine job of counting down the range you have before the tank nears empty, but when you reach a number that's low enough (somewhere around 30 miles left on the tank), it replaces the number with three flashing dashes-just when that number is most critical. It's especially scary when you use the nav in search of the nearest station, only to discover that it went out of business and you're not sure you'll make it to another one.

Filling up at a truck stop in Arkansas on the second day, the tank took 22 gallons of premium unleaded (required). When gas next hits $4 a gallon, this will be a much more expensive SUV to own. After crossing the state line, we spent the rest of the day and a good part of the night driving through Texas. It's that damned big.

After our last stop for gas in Tacna, Arizona, we knew we had enough fuel to make it home and didn't stop for the last 330 miles.

We'd racked up over 6000 miles on the trip and rediscovered all the personality traits of this long-termer that staffers had noted throughout the year-aggressive throttle tip-in, terrific acceleration, rough ride, amazing technology. From California to Virginia and back, fuel economy averaged 19.1 mpg, with a high of 21.0 and a low of 17.1. Not bad, considering the EPA estimates are 14 city/20 highway.

During its term with us, the FX made three trips to the dealer for regular maintenance. The first, for its 7500-mile service, included an oil change, tire rotation, and full inspection, and cost $139.08. Adding 6000 miles to the odometer from our trip meant the 15,000-mile service happened a lot sooner than planned (two months later). For $413.10, the dealer replicated the 7500-mile line items but also replaced the cabin and engine air filters. The final service ($212.81), at about 22,500 miles, included an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection. Total maintenance cost: $764.99.