2018 Ford Expedition Adds Technology Families Seek In An SUV
Ford knows its audience. When it was time to take the wraps off of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition, the Blue Oval automaker unveiled it last year at the Ford Center at The Star, in the Lone Star State, which is the top market for SUVs in the U.S. Sharing the limelight at the reveal were Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys chief operating officer and executive vice president and Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas.
“When Expedition was introduced just over 20 years ago, it set the standard for active families who simply needed a big and strong SUV to take them places,” said Hinrichs. “Today’s families want even more smart technology to help them cover more ground safely, more efficiently and more comfortably – all while staying connected to friends and family.”
All New Expedition First Drive Impressions
We recently drove the retooled sport ute that gets a motherload of enhanced capabilities and will carry seven-to-eight riders in a safer and more fuel-efficient manner. The newest Expedition wears updated looks that bring a greater family resemblance. It’s available in XLT, Limited and Platinum trims and in 2WD and 4WD powertrains, as well as an XL extended-length model dubbed “MAX” for fleet customers, such as law enforcement and emergency services.
Ford has upped its ‘light truck’ game since the third-generation Expedition came to market nearly a decade ago and Texans will love it! The newest model benefits from a collection of revisions, such as aluminum light-weighting and top-gun motoring technologies that help everyday drivers feel more confident and secure piloting its hefty mass and towing trailers and motorhomes up to 9,300 lbs.
Loaded With Safety & Connectivity Technology
Buyers will be impressed by a collection of new connectivity technologies and convenience features that include Wireless charging; a dual-headrest rear seat entertainment system that allows passengers to view their home cable programming on either of two video screens or hand-held devices; SYNC 3, with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and SYNC Connect that lets owners connect remotely to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle from anywhere and have access to important vehicle diagnostics. The three-row SUV has power at each row with four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers, and a 110-volt power outlet. Plus, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot supports as many as 10 devices at once, up to 50 feet away from the vehicle.
Ford says the 2018 Ford Expedition has more driver-assist technology than any other full-size SUV, with more than 40 features and driver-assist technologies, including class-exclusive enhanced active park assist; a 360-degree camera; lane-keeping; adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go; a collision avoidance system; and Blind Spot Information System.
Motivating the nearly three tons of mass is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that produces up to 400 hp. and 480 ft.-lbs. of torque and is mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 benefits from standard Auto Start-Stop and Ford says Expedition has best-in-class fuel economy getting an estimated 17 mpg city and 24 highway and top-in-class towing capacity. Also new is Pro Trailer Backup Assist that brings ease and sophistication with towing.
We tested a rear-drive Platinum model that starts at $72,710 and a 4WD Platinum with a base price of $75,855. Taking a page from Ford’s newest F-150 and Super Duty trucks, the sport ute is engineered with an all-new high-strength, aluminum-alloy body and a redesigned high-strength steel frame that enhance off-road and towing capabilities and bring a weight savings of 300 lbs. The most significant takeaways from our evaluation of over 150 miles of paved roads in the Malibu canyons region of southern California were the plentiful power on tap from the V6, the smooth-shifting 10-speed transmission that aids in torque distribution and sips fuel more slowly, and the stability derived from the re-engineered steering and suspension geometry that provided predictable handling–especially on serpentine roadways.
Our favored ride was in the 4WD XLT ($54,705) that was set up with Ford’s optional FX4 off-road package ($1,650). Expedition’s off road package adds a collection of enhancements that allowed us to travel competently over a rutted and rugged dirt track and keep traction on steep uphill climbs and precipitous descents.
Bundled in this package is two-speed four-wheel-drive system, a 3.73 limited-slip rear differential, special off-road calibrated shocks, a heavy-duty engine radiator, skid plates and protection for the fuel tank, and 18-inch aluminum wheels with 275/65R18 all-terrain tires. Also of note, the FX4’s new Terrain Management System lets drivers choose from seven drive modes, including normal, sport, tow/haul, sand, eco, mud/ruts or grass/gravel/snow. Included in the package is a voice activated navigation system, floor liners for the front- and second-row and chrome-plated running boards.
The family-hauler starts at $51,695 is the first full-sized utility to have a sliding second-row seat with a tip-and-slide feature that provides easy access to the third row without the need to first remove a child safety seat. Designed to be used, the third row has greater legroom and reclining seats. When second- and third-row seats are folded flat, the cargo area can accommodate 4×8-foot sheets of plywood. A new ‘cargo manager’ creates a storage space that can be customized and a Panoramic Vista Roof spans two rows, a unique feature in its class.
The 2018 Ford Expedition joins five new Ford SUVs that will come to market in North America over the next four years, as global sales for large SUVs has grown 80 percent. Ford has now sold 1.7 million sport utes in various sizes and trims, as sales of SUVs have now outpaced sedans. A Lincoln Navigator stablemate version is on the market now, as well.