Ford Reveals 2018 Expedition in Texas
FTE Is On the Scene as Ford Introduces New Expedition That Packs Updated Power and Tech
When Ford invited us to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters in Texas to watch it unveil an all-new vehicle, we had little doubt about what it would be. Any lingering scintilla of doubt completely vanished when we arrived at the unveiling. The replica football field on display at the Tostitos Championship Plaza was flanked by large electronic banners that made it plain what would be charging out onto the turf: the 2018 Ford Expedition.
That came as no surprise. Neither did the fact that Blue Oval’s engineers shaved 300 pounds by making the Expedition’s body out of aluminum. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the new Expedition would be moved down roads and up off-road trails by a combination of the second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the 10-speed automatic already available in the 2017 F-150. We didn’t gasp when a Ford representative clammed up in response to our question about other potential engine options. (Our jaw won’t drop if Ford happens to announce at some point in the future that the revised 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 or even the tweaked 5.0-liter V8 will be an available power plant.) Our reaction to the news that the Expedition will be available with onboard WiFi that can be accessed within a 50-foot radius wasn’t one of amazement. It was a smile.
However, parts of the new SUV did cause our eyebrows to raise. In the days leading up to the reveal, we wondered: Will it just look like an F-150 with a roof over the bed? Will the front doors have the same dip in the beltline? The answers are: No and no. There’s a definite — and understandable — resemblance between the Expedition and the 2018 F-150, particularly in the design of their headlight casings and the way the grille juts into them. But the same can be said for the Expedition and other Ford SUVs. The shape of the openings for the foglights is reminiscent of the shape used on the Explorer. That goes for the taillights as well. Visually, the 2018 Expedition is largely its own vehicle, but it’s also definitely Ford’s vehicle, too.
Initially, we scratched our head when we were told that the Expedition will only be offered to regular buyers in XLT, Limited and Platinum trim lines. (Fleet customers will be able to buy it in XL form.) However, the more we thought about the popularity of the King Ranch package, the more we thought that it will — eventually — reappear in the fourth-generation Expedition lineup.
Although we had anticipated Ford going with the 10-speed auto, the shifter they use was a surprise. For the most part, the cabin of the Expedition looked like it was grafted over from a new F-150. We recognized the steering wheel, the air vents, the center screen and the various dials. One of those dials wasn’t from an F-150, though. The one in front of the buttons for the steering aids and four-wheel drive system controls the Expedition’s gearbox, just the way it does in the 2017 Fusion. It’ll be entertaining to see customer reactions to that not-so-little change.
Visually, the 2018 Expedition is largely its own vehicle, but it’s also definitely Ford’s vehicle, too.
We also found it interesting that Ford has dropped the EL suffix (at least for the U.S.-market, extended-wheelbase Expedition) in favor of MAX, which was previously used on stretched Expeditions sold outside of the U.S. market. We climbed into the Expedition MAX that Ford had on site. Leg room in the second row was abundant. More than that, actually. It was impressive. The ability to recline the seat back made us daydream about how comfortable being a middle-row passenger on a long road trip would be, especially at night, when the stars would poke their tiny points of light through the glass of the Panoramic Vista Roof. As Ford had mentioned, the tilt-and-slide second row seats made getting to the third row easy. While legroom wasn’t as plentiful as it was in the second row, the amount of headroom in the very back was delightful news. Tech-savvy drivers will be delighted by the available ports and chargers, which include four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers and a 110-volt power outlet.
Expect to see the 2018 Ford Expedition in dealerships starting in fall.
Story and photos by Derek Shiekhi