Ford Expedition — All-new family hauler

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Recently Ford CEO Jim Hackett released a plan that would overhaul three-quarters of its North American lineup by 2020 focusing primarily on sport utility vehicles of all sizes and pickup trucks including the new mid-sized Ranger. It seems to us that Ford's upcoming transformation into primarily a truck brand got off the ground with the all-new full-sized 2018 Expedition.

The Expedition, which was long overdue for a remake, was developed before Hackett arrived at the company providing a benchmark for the upcoming onslaught of new products. It seems the large SUV provides more space than a small city apartment. At the same time it can tow more than 9,000 pounds meaning even large travel trailers or boats can be moved from place to place with ease.

Ford did a commendable job giving the Expedition the performance necessary to effectively move a big truck even when it’s loaded using the latest version of the company's twin-turbocharged V-6 making 400 horsepower in the Platinum trim and 375 horsepower in the other trim levels. That represents 35 more horses and 60 additional pound-feet of torque over the outgoing Expedition. To make the engine even more effective, all Expedition trim levels are outfitted with Ford's new 10-speed automatic transmission.

If you still believe that a big rig needs a V-8 engine, mull over these statistics. The V-6-powered Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds and move from 0-to-60 in a swift 5.7 seconds and can complete a quarter mile 14.4 seconds at 97 mph. That translates into enough forward momentum to successfully merge into fast-moving interstate highway traffic.

Another thing the Expedition does well, every row is fully connected and comfortable, and there’s plenty of room for gear. There is scads of stretch-out passenger space in the third row because its independent suspension doesn't sap the space taken up by a solid rear axle as found in Ford’s chief competitors. The Ford comes in standard configuration with a second-row bench seat making room for eight. But we like the very comfortable second-row captain’s chairs that came in our Platinum edition and we would gladly sacrifice one seating position.

The Expedition stretches out 210 inches with a 122.5-inch wheelbase and passenger volume measures a huge 171.9 cubic feet. Cargo capacity with all three rows in place is a useable 20.9 cubic feet. With rear seats folded, cargo space increases to 57.5 cubic feet and to 104.6 cubic feet with all seats folded. If you need even more space, Ford offer's the Expedition Max that stretches out 221.9 inches with total cargo volume of 121.5 cubic feet.

Ford has brought the Expedition into the modern world of infotainment, connectivity and safety. Loaded versions like our Platinum test truck offer the latest Sync 3 infotainment system, a pair of USB ports for each row of seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that supports up to 10 devices. A full suite of driver aids is available, including front automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The interior has been remade into a handsome, welcoming place with modern-looking vents, dials and faceplates. And the cabin exudes a luxury feel offering a quiet and comfortable environment that goes well with the surprisingly smooth ride.

The Expedition comes in three well-outfitted trim levels — XLT, Limited and Platinum — starting at $52,985 in rear-wheel drive format. Four-wheel drive can be added to the base trim as well as the mid-level Limited for about $3,000. Looking over the standard items list we have concluded that the mid-trim Limited offers the best mix of features for the money. For a starting price of $63,870 including the $1,195 destination charge, the rear-drive Limited comes with such goodies as 20-inch wheels, front parking sensors, roof rack rails, retractable running boards, heated second-row seats, and a premium Bang and Olufsen 12-speaker audio system with HD radio.

In addition, Ford has made available an off-road package for people who really want to get off the beaten path. The package includes a patented electronic limited-slip rear differential, off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, seven different skid plates, unique 18-inch Magnetic Metallic-painted cast-aluminum wheels, chrome running boards, FX4 badging and new rubber floor liners.

The big prize is the Platinum edition at $74,225, which brings interior wood accents, enhanced front seats with massage function, active noise cancellation, and of course the bigger 400-horsepower engine.

Our Platinum test truck went even further with four-wheel drive, 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, a rear-seat entertainment system, and special Ruby Red metallic paint. The bottom line came to a whopping $80,105.

Base price: $52,985; as driven, $80,105
Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 400 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 470 pound-feet @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive: four wheel
Seating: 2/2/3
Wheelbase: 122.5 inches
Length: 210 inches
Curb weight: 5,793 pounds
Turning circle: NA
Towing capacity: 9,300 pounds
Luggage capacity: 19.3 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 104.6 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 23.3 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined
0-60: 5.7 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider:  Chevrolet Tahoe, Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia

The Good
• Strong turbocharged engine
• Adults can fit into third row
• Tows more than crossover SUVs

The Bad
• Hard to maneuver in tight spots

The Ugly
• Poor fuel economy