We Check Out Ford’s Special-edition Rides at Texas Auto Show

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Ford Trucks gets a closer look at hotly-anticipated special-edition SUVs.

When you were a kid, did you ever daydream about being able to have a theme park to yourself and your friends? That’s what it’s like at the Texas Auto Show media day.

The first Texas Auto Show was held in 1913. In the past 105 years, the show has grown into a 24-day event (September 28 – October 21) that features approximately 400 models from manufacturers including Toyota, Nissan, Ram, Chevrolet, and Ford. Some of those fill acres of indoor space and the rest are spread out across the “Truck Zone,” 175,000 square feet of outdoor space where fairgoers can check out more new pickups and SUVs, and even drive some of them through compact off-road courses.

Before the Texas State Fair opens to the public, automakers host press conferences during the Texas Auto Show media day to reveal upcoming models to invited journalists. Ford Truck Enthusiasts was on the scene to check out the vehicles, and, of course, the first thing we did was head straight to the Ford display.

The Blue Oval set up a couple of new Rangers outside to pique the curiosity of potential customers. But the big reveals were inside one of the giant exhibition halls, where Ford had four new special-edition SUVs on display. The lot included the Ford Expedition Stealth Edition and Expedition Texas Edition alongside the Explorer Limited Luxury Edition and the Explorer Desert Copper Edition. These days, sport utility vehicles are vital to Ford as a national automaker, but they’re especially important to the brand in the Lone Star State because Texas is Ford’s largest market for SUV sales.

Ford-Trucks.com Ford Special Edition SUVs at 2018 Texas Auto Show

As much of an icon as the Explorer is, there’s no getting around the fact that the fifth-generation model came out for the 2011 model year. It’s received facelifts in the years since then, but the current version of the Explorer is at the end of its life cycle. That’s what makes the 2019 Explorer Desert Copper Edition a smart move. Special edition models can be an effective way of breathing a little life (aka sales volume) into an aging model.

Ford-Trucks.com Ford Special Edition SUVs at 2018 Texas Auto Show

The best part about the Explorer Desert Copper Edition is that it’s based on an XLT, which is one of the most budget-friendly Explorer trim lines, and gives buyers in that accessible price range some flash in the form of polished 20-inch wheels, chrome mirror caps, and copper interior accents. With its gleaming white and metallic exterior, and copper seat inserts, Ford’s show model was an attractive blend of urban sleekness and Southwestern flair.

Ford-Trucks.com Ford Special Edition SUVs at 2018 Texas Auto Show

One out of every four Expeditions Ford makes is sold in Texas. It looks as if Ford will continue the momentum started by the all-new 2018 Expedition with the upcoming 2019 special editions. The Expedition Stealth Edition looks as cool as its name sounds. Based on the Limited trim level, it features 22-inch two-tone wheels and a variety of glossy black accents, including the grille, mirror caps, and tailgate trim. The headlights and taillights also get the blacked-out treatment. Of course, the badges are murdered out, too. Ford’s white show vehicle was a giant Storm Trooper on four wheels. That black-and-white look may not be new, but it seems to be popular online, especially with custom pickup and Wrangler owners. Ford’s decision to offer that aftermarket appearance from the factory should prove to be a wise one. Given how many Expeditions Ford sells, it’s easy to picture buyers choosing the Stealth Edition so they have a rig that’s a little different from all the other Expeditions out there.

Ford-Trucks.com Ford Special Edition SUVs at 2018 Texas Auto Show

Ford based the Expedition Texas Edition on the Limited model with the Special Edition Package that adds features such as the Cargo Package, Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, and enhanced active park assist. Then they added 22-inch wheels and, of course, special badges. So, it’s an extra-Special Edition. We just started calling it the TexPedition. We imagine others will start calling it that, too.

Ford-Trucks.com Ford Special Edition SUVs at 2018 Texas Auto Show

The Expedition Texas Edition has a more subtle appearance package than the Stealth Edition, but we don’t think that that will lessen its appeal. Several manufacturers who produce trucks and SUVs, and sell them in Texas, offer a “Texas Edition” of some sort. That’s not just a domestic brand phenomenon; even Nissan builds a Texas Edition Titan. As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. Perhaps the only thing bigger than the number of Expeditions Ford sells down here is Texas state pride.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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