We have been waiting for the aluminum-bodied 2018 Ford Expedition automaker to expand the weight saving strategy from the pickup suv to share their foundations.
The result was an eight-passenger SUV, which rides on a new frame that extends the 3-inch wheelbase, an inch in overall length, and an inch in width, throwing in more technology, still up to 300 lbs.
Ford is unveiling an SUV event in Dallas that will show up at the Chicago Auto Show later this week.
The show debuted in 1997, although it has been upgraded, which is basically the second generation of full-size SUVs competing with Chevrolet suburbs, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Fleet, and the future Jeep Wagoneer.
Ford says it has added 40 features and driver-assist technologies for the 2018 model year. The automaker didn’t have to shut down the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville to retool the body shop for the shift from a steel body to aluminum, which is good because utility vehicles of all shapes and sizes are still hot right now.
In fact, 44 percent of the today’s auto industry is SUVs. That’s up from 33 percent in 2009, with millennials and baby boomers driving the shift from cars to utilities, said Michael O’Brien, Ford SUV group marketing manager. Globally, SUVs have grown 80 percent in the past five years, up to 1.7 million in 2016. Within that, the full-size SUV segment grew 22 percent in 2016.
The new Expedition goes on sale in the fall and will be offered in XLT, Limited, and Platinum trim levels for regular customers and an XL for fleets. There is also the extended Expedition Max, which is about 8 inches longer.
The 2018 model carries over the 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine with auto stop-start, but it has been tweaked to squeeze out more power and is mated to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission operated via a rotary knob.
Performance and fuel economy will improve slightly, but Ford has not released specs yet. Executives are not talking about hybrid or diesel options at this point, but those are powertrains offered or planned for the F-150.
The available four-wheel drive and electronic limited-slip rear differential better adapt to road conditions, and the Expedition also adds the Terrain Management System from the Explorer.
The 2018 Expedition has a new, more rigid frame and retains its independent rear suspension and continuously controlled damping, which was originally exclusive to Lincoln. The Expedition is the only Ford-branded product to get the active shocks. There are 18-, 20-, and 22-inch wheels available, and 17s are an option for fleet vehicles.
Because 58 percent of buyers say towing is important, Ford is improving the capability from 9,200 pounds currently to ensure it is the best in the segment—but Ford is not providing figures yet. The Expedition also gets the F-Series’ trailer backup assist, which makes launching a boat seem easy.
Visually, the beltline is higher. Not only is this for aesthetics but also to give the appearance of an even safer vehicle, especially with the new C-pillar design, which suggests more strength supporting the roof. The headlamps are nicely integrated into the grille.
Engineers said the 2018 model offered an opportunity to fix things such as entry to the third row, which is made easier with a second-row seat that manually tips, slides, and can perform its tumbling act even with a car seat in it. Having an independent rear suspension keeps the third-row seat low—and for 2018, the seat reclines. That’s good because redefined families that transport three generations often require all eight seats, said Craig Patterson, Ford’s marketing manager for large SUVs. Generation Xers are the top Expedition buyers, having moved up from the Explorer.
Ford has given the Expedition a panorama roof above the first two rows and a flat load floor below, which can accommodate a 4-by-8-foot piece of plywood with the push of a button to fold both rows flat. A cargo management system creates compartments with bins underneath and shelves above for gear, and a lip keeps items from rolling out when you open the rear hatch. Up top, a well-disguised space under the roof racks is ideal for looping a rope through to tie down a Christmas tree.
Inside, it has two small room spaces, a huge central storage box, two glove boxes, and 17 insulated screws.
Car Wireless Work 10 devices and signal extenders 50 feet-perfect campsite. Passengers can be in all seating locations; the vehicle has four 12 volt power outlets, six USB ports, 110 volt sockets, and wireless charging.
Adventure is equipped with Sync 3 and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Car. It also provides a sync connection to your phone using FordPass to start, remotely lock, or position your vehicle.
Install the screen on the front row of the second row of entertainment. In the last line you can use your own equipment by watching live TV with a sling or watch.
360-degree cameras can provide blind spot detection, cross-traffic vigilance, lane maintenance, adaptive cruise control to stop and go.
Ford is adding five new suvs by 2020, including the introduction of the US EcoSport Mustang, the electric car, and some of the Lincoln models.