Ford recently made headlines when they announced that they will be discontinuing almost their entire car line, to focus on trucks, crossovers and SUVs. The move seems to have the industry questioning the executives at the Blue Oval. But, based on my tester this week, it might be a good thing.
I slid behind the wheel of the 2018 Ford Expedition. This stout, big SUV is where Ford wants to focus their attention and put most of their resources, along with their line of crossovers.
Judging by how good the Expedition is, I’d say Ford may be onto something. It had been a while since I’d driven the Expedition, so I wasn’t sure how it’d match up to all the other large SUVs on the market.
I try to avoid exaggerations or fluffy superlatives, but the Expedition requires one. The 2018 Ford Expedition is my favorite vehicle of 2018 so far. There’s still many more vehicles to arrive in my driveway, but so far, I’m very impressed.
For this model year, the Expedition is completely redesigned including a new engine and much improved interior. The Expedition has a complex design. It’s stunningly better than the last model year. The front end has a bold look with a lot of different styling features including a mesh grille, LED headlamps and LED fog lamps.
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The styling on the side flows well from the front to the back and gives the Expedition a modern look that should remain current for several years. The angled C-pillar really adds pizzazz to the overall look. The chiseled lines make this SUV look fresh and modern.
The back loses some of its styling, or at least is less bold than the front and side, but the LED taillamps jazz it up. Roof racks show this is an SUV ready to do some work, and the 22-inch polished aluminum wheels also are stylish.
Ford uses its outstanding Ecoboost technology in the Expedition with the introduction of a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. This engine makes 375 horsepower but gets a boost in the Platinum trim (which is what I reviewed) to 400 hp, mated with an outstanding 10-speed automatic transmission. This is an ideal powertrain for this large SUV. It’s perfectly powered and has tremendous shifting, too. Off the line it’s great and the handling is good, for a vehicle of its size. It drives smaller than it is, and that’s a good thing.
The Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds, meaning you don’t need a V8 to have a well-powered, top-performing SUV. To make towing easier, Ford equips the Expedition with trailer sway control and a backing trailer camera. As such, the Expedition is ideal for those who own recreational vehicles.
Some of the best and most impressive updates occur inside the Expedition. Large SUVs need not only ample room, but also need a luxurious vibe, even from a non-luxury brand. Ford delivers this in spades with the Expedition.
For fans of the big trucks and how they’re loaded to the nines with luxury, you’ll appreciate the Expedition’s truck-like interior. It has the feel of a top-end F-150, with a little bit of a family-friendly twist.
My tester was the extra-long Expedition Max which adds more cargo room and a larger interior. The Expedition Max has 36 cubic feet behind the third-row seat and 121.4 cubic feet of overall cargo room. Plus, the third-row seat has more legroom than most other SUVs on the road, making this a comfortable seven-passenger vehicle.
The front seats are heated and cooled and there are soft touch points throughout the cabin. The second row has ample legroom and head room and the seats are heated. There’s a convenient power folding mechanism that makes getting to the third row easy. A panoramic sunroof impressed several of my passengers for the week, who said it felt almost like a convertible, with the open-air feel.
Ford’s new Sync III system is so much better than the previous incarnation. The 8-inch touchscreen seems a little small in relation to the layout of the vehicle, but it is responsive and intuitive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well with your devices.
The Expedition Max comes with a max price tag, which is even more expensive than a top-of-the-line F-150. My tester had an MSRP of $78,545; with options, including rear-seat entertainment, my tester’s final price tag was approaching Lincoln-level at $81,275.
The Expedition Max, with four-wheel drive (why even consider the two-wheel drive option?) has an EPA rating of 16 mpg/city and 21 mpg/highway. I did manage to average 20 mpg, which was impressive considering how big this SUV is.
OK, Ford, well played. Dropping your car line (mostly), I’m not so sure about, but if every vehicle you make will be as good as the 2018 Expedition, then maybe you’re on to something.