2018 Ford Expedition Review +VIDEO, It's Big Quick and Nimble By Larry Nutson
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2018 Ford Expedition
Big, quick and nimble
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Large, full-size SUVs are quite popular out in the wide-open spaces of the U.S. In a crowded large city, however, they can be a bit of a challenge.
Ford has reinvented the Expedition to meet the needs of those folks who want lots of seats, haul lots of stuff or tow heavy trailers. The 2018 Expedition is entirely new. It keeps its truck-like construction but now features an aluminum-alloy body riding on a frame of high-strength steel. It’s 300 pounds lighter and yet is rugged for off-road use or towing a trailer weighing up to 9,300 pounds.
There’s no more V8 under the hood. Now a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with either 375 or 400-hp mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with Ford’s rotary shift knob does the job of powering the Expedition along the interstate. Rear-wheel or four-wheel drive is available.
The “standard” Expedition at 210 inches long is available in XLT, Limited or Platinum trims. An Expedition Max, on a 9.1 inch longer wheelbase, at just shy of 222 inches long adds more cargo space behind the third row and can also be had in the same three trim choices.
For my week of test driving I was in the Expedition Limited 4X4 with a base price of $65,705. An option package priced at $3030 included a panoramic sunroof, navigation system and driver-assistance safety equipment. Enhanced Active Park Assist for $400, a Cargo Package for $285 plus a cargo mat for $40 brought the bottom line to $70,155, including the $1,195 delivery fee and less $500 in buyer incentives.
Climbing up and in to the Expedition was made easy with power-deployable running boards. My wife especially liked them. Once inside you have a command view of the road. Adjusting the driving position is all done by power—the driver’s seat, the steering column, the pedal position and the outside mirrors. How easy!
I took it upon myself, as I should, to try all the seats. The fronts are plenty comfortable as you would expect. The 3-person second row is easy to enter through the wide doors and also afforded good comfort and plenty of leg and head room. Getting myself into the way-back third row wasn’t too much of a challenge and there too I found truly adequate adult seating.
There’s seating for eight in a 2/3/3 setup. Both the second row and third row seats are power-fold making it much easier to reconfigure the interior depending on the cargo of the moment. The second row can slide forward or rearward to vary legroom.
Cargo room can grow from just shy of 21 cu.ft. behind the third row to 57.5 cu.ft. behind the second row and up to 104.6 cu.ft. with both seat rows folded. The longer Expedition Max has 36 cu.ft. behind the third row.
Around my Chicago home I found that driving the somewhat large Expedition takes some planning. Running errands and finding a suitable size curb-side parallel parking space can be a challenge. I quickly came to learn that parking garages have height limits that usually are set around 77 inches, which leaves a bit of a cushion. Then I started to pay attention to some of the garage door openings on various condo and apartment buildings. A big full size SUV is really more easily housed outside of a congested and dense city.
I happened to be driving the Expedition in a heavy downpour and noticed the slightly different sound of the heavy raindrops hitting the aluminum roof. Ford did make the Expedition very quiet with lots of sound deadener and noise absorption materials.
Noise isolation is quite good on the new Expedition. The engine is quiet. I expected some tire noise but didn’t find anything of concern. Cruising down the highway the wind noise is minimal. The aero work Ford did on the new Expedition’s body paid off in this area.
The V6 with its 375-horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque felt like it could move mountains. I never really had the Expedition heavily loaded but in my around town and highway jaunts acceleration, highway merging as well as passing where all done with ease. The 400-horsepower engine is equipped on Platinum trim models.
A new Terrain Management System lets you select from seven special drive modes that includes normal, sport, tow/haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand and mud/rut. Handling this behemoth is quite comfortable. Good suspension compliance makes for a comfortable ride and confident handling.
Fuel economy is not the Expedition’s strong point, but what would you expect for a vehicle of this size. I averaged 13 to 14 mpg in mostly around town, stop and go driving. On a longer highway run I got 18 mpg.
EPA test-cycle fuel-economy ratings vary a bit depending on model The 4X4 Expedition Limited I drove is rated 19 mpg combined with 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. The rear-drive model is rated the same in the city and 24 in the highway. The longer Expedition Max 4X4 is rated at 18 mpg combined with 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. The rear-drive Max is rate 19 mpg combined with 17 city mpg and 23 highway mpg.
A notable feature offered on the Expedition is Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist that uses a rotary knob mounted on the instrument panel together with the rear view camera to let you easily steer a trailer. It takes all of the mind-twisting out of backing a trailer even for the novice. I’ve used the system on the F-150 and it works like a charm.
More information, specifications and details on the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition can be found at www.ford.com.
By the way, If you’re the off-road type, a FX4 Off-Road Package features an electronic limited-slip rear differential, off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, seven different skid plates, unique 18-inch Magnetic Metallic-painted cast-aluminum wheels, chrome running boards, FX4 badging and new rubber floor liners.
We had a first-gen Expedition in our family fleet back in 1997, the year if first hit the market. We got it for the 3-row seating for school car-pooling and the space for our dogs. This was before the Explorer offered 3-row seating. It will be interesting to watch how this new Expedition does in the market. It certainly is a very well designed and attractive vehicle.
The 2018 Ford Expedition is a candidate for the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Family Vehicle of the Year. In a recent first round of voting it was among the six top-choices.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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