12 Best Family Cars: 2018 Ford Expedition
A newcomer to this year’s list is the 2018 Ford Expedition, thanks in no small part to its first major overhaul in a decade. While it’s taken awhile for Ford to finally upgrade this full-size SUV, the results have us thinking that it was well worth the wait. This thoughtful remake has plenty of room, style and functionality to make it a definite add to the shopping list for anyone in the market for a full-size SUV.
The biggest initial draw will be the styling. It’s very contemporary, with crisp lines and a new grille with a look that wouldn’t be out of place on a Land Rover. The vehicle’s tailored looks help disguise this truck’s massive dimensions — the standard Expedition rides on a 112.5-inch wheelbase and measures 210 inches in overall length. For those needing even more space, there’s the Expedition Max, which is positioned to go up against the Chevrolet Suburban. The Max has a 131.6-inch wheelbase and measures 221.9 inches nose to tail.
New take on an old standby
While the Expedition still uses traditional full-size SUV body-on-frame construction similar to that employed by the automaker's F-150 pickup, it incorporates some of the new thinking Ford used when it redesigned that best-selling truck. The big change is a shift to aluminum body panels, which are designed to reduce weight by some 300 pounds. In the powertrain department, the Ford Expedition loses V8 power in favor of turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engines. The XLT and Limited models have engines tuned to produce 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The top trim Platinum versions make 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. Both motors are paired with an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ford says the new Expedition has class-leading fuel economy with the two-wheel-drive models netting EPA figures of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and a combined average of 20 mpg. That’s not bad for a vehicle tipping the scales at 5,433 pounds that’s capable of towing up to 9,300 pounds. Another interesting feature is the stop/start technology that is among the most seamless you can find on a vehicle this size.
What also sets the Expedition’s architecture apart is its independent rear suspension. That setup not only pays benefits in a smooth ride and controlled road manners, but its more compact layout allows for more space in the Expedition’s third row. Although there is no front bench seat that would allow for nine-passenger seating, the vehicle does offer two rear benches that have plenty of room for three each (contributing to a total of eight) and a second-row captain’s chair option for a seven-passenger configuration. Climbing in and out of the third row is enabled by a tip-and-slide second row that also provides for additional legroom in the way back, making it a suitable place for two adults and more than enough for three kids. With the third row up, there is 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space available, which expands to a massive 104.6 cubic-foot space when both second and third rows are folded down.
Wide open spaces
It’s not just the third row that’s comfortable. The whole cabin has a wide open, relaxed feel to it. The front bucket seats are comfortable and there’s a large center console dividing the two seating positions up front, which allows for ample elbow room. The high seating position and large glass area combine to provide a great view out. The dip in the belt line just behind the mirrors provides additional visibility, which is useful in spying those pesky cars that have a habit of sneaking into your blind spot.
The dash layout is straightforward. There are plenty of large, clearly marked knobs and buttons. The rotary gearshift in the center of the console is easy to use and intuitive and there’s a smaller rotary dial next to it to select drive modes. The new Sync 3 infotainment system has a large screen and its operation has been simplified and made more intuitive. Ford also offers an available 4G LTE hotspot for up to 10 devices and an entertainment system that incorporates a SlingPlayer app that hooks into your personal Slingbox account to watch live television on the twin screens attached to the front headrests.
Plenty of equipment and options
All Expeditions come with standard air conditioning, 6-speaker audio, keyless entry with push-button start, power windows and door locks, 6-way power driver’s seat, rearview camera with washer, traction control, a rear trailer hitch and trailer sway control. Options, some of which are standard on Platinum models, include four-wheel drive, adaptive cruise control, hands-free power rear liftgate, panoramic sunroof, lane keeping assist, remote start, power running boards and 22-inch wheels.
Pricing for the 2018 Ford Expedition begins at $51,695 for the two-wheel-drive XLT, with four-wheel drive costing an additional $3,010. Limited models are priced from $62,585 for rear drive, plus $3,120 for four-wheel drive. The top of the line two-wheel-drive Platinum goes for $72,710 and $75,855 in four-wheel drive. The 2018 Ford Expedition has both size and technology on its side in making it an ideal candidate as a family hauler.
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