2018 Ford Expedition: Video Review and Road Test
It’s been about 10 years since we’ve last seen an all-new Ford Expedition and with the full makeover for the 2018 model year, the conclusion is that it was worth the wait. This brawny body-on-frame full-size SUV has plenty of 3-row room for the family, but with a twist. Using aluminum body panels to lighten the vehicle, the Expedition also employs a turbocharged V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission to deliver better fuel economy. The 2018 Ford Expedition is more than ready to take on the Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia as Micah Muzio explains in this Video Review and Road Test.
2018 Ford Expedition Review Transcript
Some people need a big SUV. Maybe they've got a big family. Maybe they've got big toys to haul. If your life is big, maybe you need a big SUV too, like that Ford Expedition right there. The Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV that looks the part: Long straight body lines and an imposing headlight/grille treatment give it a strong hulking presence that belies a substantial drop in weight versus the previous Expedition.
Like the F-150, the Ford Expedition rides on a strong steel frame. It features a light aluminum body. Inside that aluminum body is space for up to eight passengers divided between three completely un-cramped rows, yes even the third row. Unlike the Chevy Tahoe, the Ford Expedition uses an independent rear suspension that allows a lower floor and consequently more comfortable rear seat accommodations. Notice my feet are nowhere near my butt. With a wide pass-through and an integrated grab handle reaching that spacious third row is no problemo; a task made even easier with optional automatic side steps and One-Touch second row seat releases.
Speaking of the second row, these seats slide and recline you can move them forward for access to the third row. With the child seat installed, the center seat slides really far forward giving fussy children easier access to their guardians upfront or fussy journalists easy access to empty seats. Behind this rare but cool lift up rear window hides nearly 21 cubic feet of luggage space expandable from the rear via standard power-fold third row seats. Second row seat releases are also available making it incredibly simple to switch from people to cargo hauling mode. All seats folded, capacity increases to 104.6 cubic feet. That's good but only six cubic feet larger than the mid-size Chevrolet Traverse. And the Traverse actually offers more space behind the third row. If you like to avoid being upstaged by a midsize SUV, the $2,700 pricier long-wheelbase Expedition Max boasts 36 cubic feet behind the third row making it the superior choice for hauling people and their stuff.
The aesthetically speaking the interior has an upscale vibe especially on the range-topping platinum trim. Check out that stitching. Premium materials extend to the second row, but in the back seats hard plastic dominates. On the functionality front, the cabin provides a massive lockable center console dual glove boxes, five child seat latch points, intuitive knobs and switches, 15 cupholders and lots of storage bins. Front and center, a basic Sync infotainment unit comes on the lowest XLT trim, but we suggest upgrading to the latest Sync 3 system that's standard on all other trims. It sports an eight-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration by way of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has a straightforward layout. Sync 3 is a joy to use.
Visceral joys can be found with the EcoBoost 3.5 liter V6 that moves all Expeditions. Before decrying the lack of the V8, note the output figures. Go ahead, I'll wait. Choose the Platinum trim and Ford dials those already stout figures up a touch. I mean really, that should be enough power, right? To maximize that output Ford teamed the V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission that's controlled with this rotary knob and these gear-selection buttons. You might think the constant gear changes of a 10-speed would be annoying but they actually just fade into the background. The result is smooth strong acceleration for a large SUV.
The Ford Expedition is quite efficient. Supplementing that efficiency is a defeatable engine start/stop system that saves gas when you're stationary. Rear-wheel drive is standard but as you'd expect 4-wheel drive is an option and a great way to exploit nearly 10 inches of ground clearance though at $3,000, it is pricey.
Thanks to an independent rear suspension, the Ford Expedition rides with more refinement than its truck-based chassis would suggest. At the same time if you hit a big bump like this one you will experience a fair bit of bounce. But given its rugged capabilities, the Ford Expedition drives pretty great. Based on its size, you might think tight maneuvers with the Expedition would be tricky but that's really not the case. Okay, yes it would be easier with the Mini Cooper but you have a good sense from the driver's seat of the vehicles dimensions and light steering though it could benefit from a quicker ratio. It’s pretty easy to squeeze into spots, so there's no need to fear the parking lot. Nonetheless, a full-size SUV is a great platform for its excellent optional one-button automatic parking technology. Nervous about squeezing in or out of that spot? Let the car do the work. Tack on the optional 360-degree camera system and who knows how much parking-related carnage you'll prevent.
One thing people love when driving an SUV is a commanding view of the road. That's definitely true in the Expedition at least when looking forward. But when you look over your shoulder it’s not so good. What's crazy (and I'm talking about my left shoulder) is this super wide grab handle-equipped B-pillar placed near the driver's head blocking much of the view left. Once more technology intervenes. An optional blind spot warning and lane keep assist make it easier to stay in your lane or when you want move to another.
For a base price just shy of $53,000, a regular wheelbase rear-drive Expedition XLT includes six airbags, USB ports in the first and second rows, power adjustable pedals, backup sensors, a backup camera with its own washer and push-button start. If you want passive entry that costs extra but this little keypad does not. Other added cost niceties include a foot-activated tailgate, 22-inch wheels, deeply-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic roof, dual-headrest rear-seat entertainment, second row captain’s chairs, USB ports in the third row, wireless phone charging, full-speed adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning with active braking and pedestrian detection and a $1,600 FX4 off-road package with an electronic limited slip differential, underbody protection and upgraded shocks. Spend recklessly and you can spec an Expedition Max Platinum trim to the tune of $83,000.
Lastly do you want to tow? Good news, the Expedition can tow a hefty 9,300 pounds but to do so, you'll want the heavy-duty trailer tow package. It bundles a heavy-duty radiator, integrated brake controller and an electronic limited slip differential with Ford's Pro Trailer backup assist, a clever system whose knob-controlled steering makes backing of a trailer almost foolproof.
While well-equipped in base form pricewise, the Expedition and Expedition Max slot above their most direct competitors--the Chevy Tahoe and its larger Suburban sibling--as well as the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia. Perhaps a bigger question than price is whether you need a full-sized SUV at all. Be honest, you plan to tow big loads or venture off road? If not there are several midsize SUVs that while smaller, offer 8-passenger seating for thousands less than an Expedition. But if you really do live big and you need a big SUV to match, the Ford Expedition is a very capable choice.