Tom Crosby: All new 2018 Ford Expedition seeks top in class

Tom Crosby

Ford dominates the pick-up truck market with its F-150 and seeks to dominate the large SUV market with an all-new Ford Expedition with power, plenty of cargo and passenger space, plus decent mileage. Priced higher than most competitors, the improvement in head-to-head comparisons will interest buyers with big wallets.

Our test drive was the Expedition Premium 4X4 costing $74,905 without major options. It sits below the Platinum MAX and above the XLT, XLT MAX, Limited and Limited MAX. (MAX expands the wheelbase, increasing cargo space). While awards are still coming in, U.S. News and World Report named the Expedition the No. 1 large SUV for 2018 and the No. 1 large SUV with three seating rows. It is tops in towing prowess at 9,300 pounds when equipped, best in second and third row leg headroom and gets decent mileage for a 2.5 ton vehicle.

Like the F-150 pick-up, Expedition uses aluminum to reduce weight with body-on-frame construction. Muscle comes with a 3.5-liter Eco Boost twin-turbo V6 engine that rides smoothly on 22-inch wheels atop independent suspension systems and roll stability control. A well-matched 10-speed transmission reduces fuel consumption, as does a stop/start feature that can feel clunky. Drive modes exist in both two-wheel and four-wheel configuration. The Premium can handle mild off-roading with 9.8 inches of ground clearance and a FX4 optional package upgrades off-roading performance. Handling is surprisingly easy and perimeter sensing identifies potential bumps when parking.

Inside, the Premium rivals a luxury SUV boasting high-grade leather materials, like tightly stretched black leather with white piping and one-touch power folding second and third row seats to create more than 108 cubic feet of cargo space – best in class. Technology tie-ins include Ford’s vaunted Sync 3, a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless charging, smartphone app connections and Ford Connect for devices in all seating rows. Eight adults fit comfortably with easy access to the reclining third row via a tilt/slide second row seat and retractable sideboards. Heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel with remote start are a plus. Excellent voice recognition handles many functions on an easily reached 7-inch touchscreen. Dashboard knobs control climate and audio. Knick-knack spaces include 15 cupholders.

The Expedition’s exterior remains somewhat similar with the 2017, sporting a meshed slat grille and different window configurations. Driver safety aids are cutting-edge. There is a spare tire and extendable visors. Crash testing has not yet been reported.

LIKES: Spacious, powerful, classy, technology, mileage.

DISLIKES: Pricey, stop/start is little clunky, wind noise.

BOTTOM LINE: If you can afford it, it’s well worth the price.

FACT FILE

2018 FORD EXPEDITION PLATINUM 4X4

Base price w/destination fee: $74,095

Vehicle weight: 5,642 lbs.

Wheelbase: 122.5 inches.

Length: 210.0 inches.

Width: 79.9 inches.

Engine: 3.5 liters, EcoBoost V6, Ti-VCT.

Horsepower: 375 hp. at 5,000 rpm.

Torque: 470 ft.-lbs. at 2,2500 rpm.

Transmission: 10-speed automatic w/ Selectshift.

EPA rating: 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

Range: 23.3-gallons, regular.

Performance: 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.

 

 

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