Ford bets there is still a case to be made for big, old-fashioned body-on-frame SUVs.
Ford has completely reinvented the full-size Expedition SUV. The brand-new model will make its public debut later this week during the Chicago Auto Show.
The 2018 Expedition is built on a steel frame, but it’s up to 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing model thanks to the widespread use of aluminum in its construction. Its front end adopts a bolder design characterized by a strip of chrome trim that connects the headlights and the mesh-style grille, while upmarket variants receive fog lights surrounded by C-shaped trim. A crease right above the door handles reduces the Expedition’s visual mass.
Inside, there’s room for up to eight passengers spread out over three rows of seats. The second and third rows fold flat at the push of a button to reveal a cavernous cargo area big enough to swallow a 4×8-foot sheet of plywood. The standard Expedition is massive by most means of measurements, but buyers who need even more space can select a long-wheelbase model alled the Expedition Max.
Ford has also upped the Expedition’s tech game. The list of convenience features now includes a hands-free tailgate, a wireless phone charger, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Ford’s pro trailer backup assist feature, which makes backing up with a trailer a breeze. Four 12-volt power points, a 110-volt outlet, and six USB ports keep all your devices topped up. Properly equipped, the Expedition can easily serve as a mobile office.
Lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera make driving safer. Users can also remotely start, lock, and unlock the Expedition via a purpose-designed smartphone app named FordPass.
The only engine available is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that shifts through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost.
Ford is keeping performance specifications under wraps for the time being, so we don’t know how much power the six-cylinder generates. However, the company promises the Expedition will deliver best-in-class towing capacity even though it lags on displacement compared to Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban, which both offer a big V8.
Built in Kentucky, the 2018 Ford Expedition will arrive on dealer lots in the fall. At launch, the lineup will be broken down into three trim levels — XLT, Limited, and Platinum. Pricing information will be released in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.