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Ford's new 2018 Expedition packs enough tech to double as a mobile office

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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.

More: For 2018, Ford turns the Mustang into a meaner, more high-tech horse

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.