For several years here in Texas there has been a saying that full-size SUV’s like Suburban and Expedition were essentially a “Texas Lincoln” favored by families with children and driven (it was said) by ‘soccer moms’ to just haul the gang and gear to and from activities in the city and suburbs.

That case was pretty much true until now.

With the arrival of the 2018 Ford Expedition and Expedition Max, the full-size SUV has been lifted to its full potential as a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).  No longer just a local people hauler, the new Ford Expedition now offers much more flexibility and utility for today’s soccer moms and soccer dads along with families or anyone who needs to haul a gang with lots of gear.  Add in a boat, trailer or recreational vehicles to go almost anywhere in search of fun and adventure.

Expedition for 2018 Raises the Bar
The new 2018 Ford Expedition has been engineered to be the smartest, most capable and adaptable full-size SUV ever says Ford, and we agree.

Following on the development of the latest F-Series trucks, Ford has delivered a new high-strength, aluminum-alloy body with a redesigned high strength steel frame.  There are new power trains, increased tow capacity, more space, more technology and new off-road capability not available from the competition.

As we found with the 2018 F-150 – you will hear us say this at least a couple of times here –  the new Expedition is reported to drive smaller than it looks, nimble on its feet, sure in its footing and powerful enough to take almost any load to anywhere.

There are upwards of 50 new features and innovations in the new – up to eight-passenger – Expedition taking it to a next level of utility for the modern family of today. .

Some of the more notable features include:

  • Sliding second-row seats with tip-and-slide functionality that allows child seat to remain in place while allowing passengers to easily access the third row.
  • Third row seating that handles real world adults with class-leading leg room and recline feature.
  • Full power absolute fold-flat seating second and third rows for optimum cargo handling and capacity
  • Panoramic Vista Roof that covers two rows providing visibility not found in competing vehicles.
  • Wireless phone charging (first for Ford) via an integrated charging pad in the center console.
  • Wi-Fi hotspot (4G modem) that can support up to 10 devices at once with connectivity up to a 50-feet from the vehicle which adds utility for the family once they have set up camp for the day
  • A dual-headrest rear seat entertainment system enables home cable viewing using the Sling Media feature that displays programming on either screen or two handheld devices connected through the hot spot.
  • For audiophiles, an available 12-speaker Harman B&O premium audio system.
  • Auxiliary power provided at all three rows through a total of four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers and a 110-volt outlet.
  • SYNC 3 with 8-inch LCD capacitive display screen and featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability for connectivity
  • Fifteen (count them) cupholders throughout the cabin including the third row.

In particular, there is the new Advanced Cargo Manager behind the third row with its multi-flexible utility shelf that enables stowing of cargo at variable levels and, with adjustable shelf lips, keeps cargo from rolling off front or rear.  There is a similar lip at the cargo deck level that keeps anything from rolling when the hatch is opened.  (How many of you have had a watermelon roll out on you?).  A plus is the flip up rear window that provides easy access to the top shelf of the cargo manager.

One Power Train – Two Power Ratings

The 2018 Expedition is powered by a new 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine with two power ratings.  The XL, XLT and Limited model version will produce 375 horsepower with 470 lb.-ft. of torque and run on regular fuel.  The Platinum model version will produce 400 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque running on premium fuel.

Both engines are equipped with Auto Start-Stop and are mated to the new Ford built and segment first, 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with rotary shifter first introduced on the 2018 F-150 pickup.

Ford says that the new Expedition 4x2 delivers fuel economy of 17/24 mpg city/highway and (best in class) 20 mpg combined.  With the standard fuel tank capacity of 28 gallons, Expedition has a combined range of over 550 miles. The extended version Expedition Max with its 33.5-gallon capacity will run over 650 files on a fill-up

These are the most powerful power trains ever in Expedition.  Given the new multi-utility (including tow and off-road) uses the new Expedition offers, the perfect integration of engine and transmission is vital to performance and driver satisfaction.

In addition, for optimal performance, the new Ford Terrain Management system offers on-the-road driver selectable drive modes of Normal, Sport and Eco along with Tow-Haul for towing plus three modes targeted to the off-road FX4 Package.

Best in Class Towing Made Easy

With the new and lighter aluminum body and enhanced powertrain delivering more horsepower and torque all-managed more efficiently by the new 10-speed automatic transmission, the 2018 Expedition can easily tow up to 9,300 pounds (best in class) of boat, trailer or whatever wherever you want to go.

Already equipped with Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control, the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package amps up the Expedition with a heavy-duty radiator, 3.73 electronic limited-slip differential and integrated trailer brake controller.

Also included is the Ford Pro Trailer Reverse Assist system that makes the daunting task of positioning a trailer on the campsite or the boat ramp – especially in a full-size SUV – pretty much ‘easy peasy’.   Developed originally for the F-150, it allows the driver to view the trailer through the rear camera and, using a rotary dial on the dash, easily control the trailer’s path to placement.

As noted, the Terrain Management System offers a Tow-Haul Mode for improved handling and powertrain performance when under load.

FX4 Package Enables Back Country Exploring

An FX4 package – available on the Expedition XLT – enables exploration of more rugged back county roads and trails.  Fair warning though, it does not make Expedition a rock climber or desert runner, but it does take you places the competition can’t.

Starting with the XLT in a 4x4 configuration and equipped the Terrain Management System, the Expedition power and drive train can adapt to different road conditions like Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Mud/Rut selected by the driver as they are encountered.  In addition, the driver can manually shift between 2WD and 4WD modes within the selected drive mode as needed.

The FX4 Package adds an electronic limited slip differential for transferring power between wheels for added traction, off-road tuned shock absorbers, all-terrain type tires mounted to distinctive 18-inch Magnetic Metallic-painted cast-aluminum wheels, chrome running boards, and rubber floor liners.

The ground clearance of the 2018 Expedition is just short of 10-inches which is decent ground clearance, but it is fixed and some back-country trails may present challenges to that clearance.  The FX4 Package includes seven unique skid plates underneath to protect key power train elements in such cases.

Some, having driven it, have noted that the Ford Surround View Camera option is not available on the XLT.  We think that is a ‘miss’ on the Expedition XLT FX4 Package.  Given that the Expedition is longer, wider and heavier than the typical off-road vehicle, cameras that enable a constant view of the terrain in front as well as along the sides would improve driver ability to handle more challenging terrain while reducing scrapes and dings from the trail.

 

2018 Ford Expedition Lineup

The Expedition lineup includes three well equipped and featured models in either a 4x2 or optional 4x4 configurations.  It comes in both a standard length or an extended length which Ford now calls ‘Max’.

MSRP for the standard models is:  XLT $51,695, Limited $62,585 and Platinum $72,710.  Going to the 4x4 configuration will add $4,200 to the price.

The Max versions– adding nearly a foot to length and just over 9-inches to wheelbase are $2,690 more.  The added length increases the cargo space behind the third row from 21 to 36 cubic feet – a gain of 15 cubic feet.

The 2018 Ford Expedition is available at dealers now.  You can explore it on line and even build one yourself – by going to https://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/