Ford Back in Big SUV Game with 2018 Expedition

Automaker gives full-size ute a complete redo.

by on Feb.07, 2017

The 2018 Ford Expedition is new from the ground up, using an aluminum body and lightweight steel to shed 300 pounds.

Ford Motor Co. is bolstering its broad line-up of sport-utility vehicles with the introduction of a new, updated version of the full-size Ford Expedition, which weighs 300 pounds less than its predecessor and comes with an aluminum body and a new frame made of lightweight steel.

When it goes on sale next fall, the new version of the Expedition, which was unveiled in Dallas Texas, with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost Engine as well as a 10-speed transmission and a full array of new technology for keeping the vehicle’s passengers connected, Ford executives said.

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“When Expedition was introduced 20 years ago, it set the standard for active families who simply needed a big and strong SUV to take them places,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas.

“Today’s families want even more smart technology to help them cover more ground safely, more efficiently and more comfortably – all while staying connected to friends and family,” Hinrichs added.

In recent years, the Expedition has been something of an afterthought in Ford SUV line-up in recent years as the automakers seemed to cede the segment to the Chevrolet and GMC models built by General Motors.

The Expedition has been updated with modest interior improvements and changes to the instrument panel but this new body, new frame and chassis represent the most extensive overhaul of a product that had seemingly become almost invisible despite a loyal following that appreciated its roomy cabin and impressive towing capacity.

The new Expedition features the latest in infotainment and driver-assistance technologies.

(Spy shotes: Ford Expedition goes aluminum. Click Here for the story.)

Mike O’Brien, head of Ford’s global SUV marketing, said the revamp of the Expedition was driven by the broad growth in the popularity of SUVs, which has helped boost the sales of midsize and full-size SUVs as well.

The new Expedition is aimed squarely at the 40-something buyers of Generation X, whose growing children are engaged in activities and sports, O’Brien said. In addition, the movable second row seats, which makes entering and exiting the third row of seats easier, are ideal for multi-generational road trips, he said.

The 2018 Expedition will come in three different trim levels, including the XLT, Limited and Platinum and all three trims will also be available on the Max, or extended length version of the vehicle.

Ford also was facing pressure to bolster the fuel economy of the existing Expedition. Ford won’t release any fuel economy or horsepower numbers for the Expedition until later this year, but the improvement will be substantial, according to Todd Hoevener, the chief engineer for the Expedition,

The redesigned Expedition was tested in wind tunnels to help reduce the turbulence and drag around the vehicle. The front fascia has also been completely redesigned so it more closely resembles other Ford SUVs.

Overall, Ford is billing the new Expedition as the smartest, most capable and most adaptable Expedition ever – with technology to keep every passenger connected, more power for drivers, and more expected towing capability than any other full-size SUV.

(Luxury SUVs outselling sedans for the first time. Click Here for the full story.)

Hoevener said part of the weight saving from the all-aluminum saving was eaten up by the safety and technical improvements Ford made to the vehicles. Nonetheless, the all-new Expedition is lighter than vehicle it is replacing.

The team reinvested that weight savings everywhere it counts to give customers more technology and convenience features than ever before, he said. More than 40 features and driver-assist technologies new to Expedition help make the journey as enjoyable as the destination.

Among the features loaded into the new Expedition are a panoramic sun roof, enhanced active park assist to make it easier to pull in and out of parking spots, as well as available 360-degree camera technology to help customers see more around their Expedition while parking.

The all-new Expedition has a roomy, flexible interior with seating for up to eight people and their gear. It the first full-size utility to feature a sliding second-row seat with tip-and-slide functionality, providing easy access to the third row without the need to first remove a child safety seat.

Expedition’s second- and third-row seats can be quickly folded flat with the push of a button to open up a cargo area wide enough to handle 4×8-foot sheets of plywood and other gear, depending on cargo weight and load distribution, even with the rear liftgate closed.

The drive is also more adaptable, with Expedition’s all-new Terrain Management System that lets customers choose between drive modes for optimal vehicle handling in different conditions.

(To see more about the return of the Ford Bronco and Ranger, Click Here.)

This includes normal for around-town driving, sport for more spirited trips, tow/haul for improved towing and hauling performance, eco for enhanced fuel economy, grass/gravel/snow for loose terrain, sand for low traction situations, and mud/rut for uneven surfaces.

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