Ford claims that its quartet of E-class SUVs—Escape, Edge, Explorer, and Expedition—combined to record more 2016 sales than any competing group of utilities in the industry. However, the big boys of that foursome—Expedition and the long-wheelbase Expedition EL—don’t contribute as much to the claim as their smaller teammates, substantially trailing GM’s Chevy Tahoe/Suburban, as well as the Dodge Durango.

Ford’s response: a major Expedition makeover for model year 2018: All-new chassis, all-new body shell, all-new interior, increased dimensions, reduced weight, increased volume, more power, more towing capacity, improved fuel economy.

Ford staged an odd double debut for the new Expedition, first in Dallas, near the home of the NFL Cowboys (Ford Motor Company, including Lincoln division, has official vehicle status with the team), and a day later at the Chicago auto show

The all-new Expedition starts with an upgraded frame (predictably, more rigid, according to Ford)  and includes a longer wheelbase for the standard Expedition (122 inches versus 119 current) and an additional inch overall (to 207 inches). The EL wheelbase is unchanged at 131 inches, but overall length stretches by an inch, to 221.8 inches.

The width of both models expands by about an inch, and the net of all those increases is increased interior volume, according to Ford.

Also: Class of 2018 – New Cars Ready to Roll

Aluminum intensive body

Bigger usually means heavier, but the new Expeditions will be up to 300 pounds lighter, depending on model and trim, according to Ford. This could bring the curb weight of a basic rear-drive Expedition to under three tons. Although the makeover doesn’t go as far as the F-150—the frame and suspension components continue to be iron and steel—the new skin is all aluminum.

The engine is familiar—the 3.5-liter direct injection EcoBoost V-6—but output will increase from the current 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, according to Ford. How much remains to be seen.  However, the transmission is new—Ford’s 10-speed automatic, replacing the current 6-speed gearbox. The Expedition continues to be rear-wheel drive, with the option of 4-wheel drive; the system includes a 2-speed transfer case.

As noted, Ford anticipates improved EPA fuel economy ratings (currently ranging from 15 city to 21 mpg highway), and an increase in towing from the current 9,200 pounds.

The new aluminum sheetmetal gives the Expeditions a slightly more massive look than the current models, with a slightly higher beltline and a strong character line running from the head- to the taillights. There’s more rake to the windshield, a new chin spoiler, and improved aero, according to Ford. Roof rails are standard on all models, and unlike some there’s a gap between the roof and the bottom of the rail, allowing owners to employ them for tying down topside loads.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2017

Power liftgate

At the rear a new power liftgate features Ford’s toe-under-bumper remote opening, and Expedition first, there are under-body skidplates (some real, some simulated) available, and wheel sizes range from 17 to 22 inches, depending on trim level.

Interior materials have been upgraded, with enhanced infotainment and connectivity, including up to seven USB ports, four 12-volt outlets, and one 110-volt outlet. Second row seats feature fore-aft adjustability, the third-row seats offer the option of power fold-flat adjustability, as well as best-in-class legroom, and with its seatbacks folded flat the Expedition can swallow 4x8-foot sheets of building material lying flat on the load floor.

The Expedition’s 2018 model range will include XL, XLT, LTD, and Platinum trims. The handsome King Ranch option disappears, though it continues in the F-series pickups. Pricing, predictably, will be revealed closer to the fall on-sale date. Current Expedition MSRPs range from $47,420 to over $71,000.


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