Malamute sled Arctic outings and Bathysphere deep ocean dives denote more than a modicum of spartan endurance, strength and agility.
Excursions both on and slightly beyond the pavement demand ever more civilized conveyances. For 2018 Ford has trotted out a completely re-designed body-on-frame light truck based 3-Row sports utility vehicle. Just how much the 2018 Ford Expedition has shed in flab and gained in agility and civility is the subject of this Roadblazing.com query.
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WHAT: 2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4 3- Row off-road capable, full-sized sport utility vehicle.
Std. Power: intercooled twin-turbocharged 3.5L DOHC 24V DI gas V-6 w/ idle Start/ Stop = 375 hp / 470 lb-ft @3500 rpm + 10-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transaxle + (AVAIL.) 2-speed e-transfer case four-wheel drive + (AVAIL.) E-clutch pack limited slip differential.
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: 5th generation, code name U553, built on the current F-150 half ton pickup truck T3 hydroformed boron steel frame, adopting similar weight saving aluminum alloy body on steel frame architecture.
√ Belt line spanning crease melding into dual side valley hood emboldens the fenders; √ Full spanning upper “Bi Horizontal Bar” chainlink integrates slight wrap-around headlamps; √ Incline rising lower to mid fascia imparts jutting lower chin split by simulated metallic skid plate; √ Belt line rises, outline by chrome band, while roof line tapers culminating into spoiler; √ Darkened D-pillar emulates floating roof; √ Chrome mid-liftgate bar spans into wrap around boomerang taillamps; √ Lower bumper finished in matte metallic skid plate.
Optically fit, trim and expressive for such a large box.
WHY: The Blue-Oval already had superb aluminum-bodied on frame pickup donor for a much improved full-size SUV.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Summer 2017
WHERE: Ford new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.
WHERE TO: available electronically on-the-fly selectable two-speed transfer case four wheel drive; Open front & rear differential, available electronic clutch pack limited slip rear differential; ABS Hill descent control; 5-Mode Terrain Management; 9.7″ clearance = Snow commanding, mud + sand raking & light off-roading.
HOW ROADWORTHY: Ecoboost twin turbo spools quickly off each cylinder bank wastegate; Longer accelerator travel abets a quick upshifting joint Ford-GM effort 10-speed automatic (variant of Camaro ZL-1 gearbox) limiting off the line abruptness; By 35 miles per hour the transmission has tagged 8th gear, leaving two more for tall ratio overdrives, but abruptly lay off the throttle and a honey smooth three or four gear kickdown ensues. -1 Depressing the transmission position dial = clumsy manumatic shifting.
300 lb. aluminum alloy body diet lowers the center of gravity for a reduction of understeer plow entering bends; Available electronic dampers have capability of quick compression and slower rebound, ruffling occupants more rarely, working honestly with a fully independent suspension; Electric steering assist is overboosted for enthusiasts’ tastes, requiring over-corrections in lane changes; Large disc brakes at four corners, fortified by twin piston front calipers develop linear feel but bite fades at end of pedal travel; Minimal cross wind buffeting; Road, wind and powertrain noise are rather obscured.
HOW FAR: 18 combined miles per gallon = 13% > Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3L V8
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ 7 Occupant seating = full-size 2+3+3 SUV style: Row 3 = Sufficient knee & head room for 2 adults < 5’10” & 1 juvenile; √ Optional 2nd Row captain chairs pare occupancy by one; √ Rows 1 & 2 chairs and benches are generous of width; √ Panoramic moonroof with power sunshade = hurts that 3rd Row headroom; √ Cavernous cargo hold is envied by nearly all of the competition;
Cargo Volume (max.) = 10% > Chevrolet Tahoe; 24% > Mercedes Benz GLS 450
HOW USEFUL: √ Comfort approach variable height power liftgate; √ Power flat folding 40/20/40% split 2nd Row tilt, sliding outboard seatbacks w/ twin cargo bay release latches; √ Power remote cargo area 2nd & 3rd Row seat fold; +1 Flip-open liftgate window; +1 Truck size 1st & 2nd Row door pocket & center armrest space; +1 3rd Row wall storage, USB x 2; -1 Distant reach to glove box; -1 Marginal sub cargo floor storage; Tow Rating: +1 9200 lbs.
HOW SAFE: √ 6 airbags; √ NHTSA 5 Star rated; √ Rear camera w/ sonar front & rear audible park guidance; √ Roll mitigation; AVAILABLE = √ Automatic high beam headlamps; √ Surround view camera; √ Active parallel and perpendicular park assist;
Partial Autonomy (AVAIL.): √ Blind spot & lane departure warning; Rear cross traffic warning, avoidance braking; √ Lane keep assist; √ Full adaptive cruise control partial autonomy; √ Forward collision, pedestrian avoidance braking;
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: √ Power retracting running boards; √ Leather seating – heated Rows 1 + 2, cooled Row 1; √ Wide berth front buckets; √ 10-way power front seats, w/ 3-setting driver memory; √ Heated leather steering wheel with spoke integrated tactile redundant controls; √ Large center console ribbed rotary metallic transmission position and Terrain Management dials; √ Overhead console retracting sunglasses bin; -1 Limited steering wheel reach adjustment; -1 Low lateral & knee front bolstering; -1 Short 2nd Row seat cushions; -1 Power liftgate switch on liftgate [rather than cargo area panel].
Cool Gizmo(s): √ 2nd Row remote audio controls; √ Panoramic glass roof; √ Variable color foot well, center console & door panel ambient lighting.
Details Done Right: √ Rich imitation burl blonde cockpit woodgrain panels; √ Fine grained soft-material dash top; Leather center console padding and door panels √ Matte aluminized trim.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Coarse grain below waist-height plastic cabin trim; -1 Steering wheel spoke controls lack tactile distinctiveness; -1 Switchgear lacks jeweled finish and premium feel.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ Ford MyTouch Sync3 8″-inch capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Bluetooth & voice command hands-free communications; √ GPS HDD Navigation w/ 3-D map, voice guidance; √ SMS text messaging; √ Android Auto / Apple Car Play smart phone overlays; √ 12-speaker, 1100 watt B&W Play audio shrills the highs; √ Sync3 Apps; √ USB x 6, 12V x 4, 115V AC x 1; +1 Concealed forward center console wireless device storage; +1 Extensive Sync3 voice command lexicon understands plain language.
By Subscription: √ Sirius XM Traffic & TravelLink apps (5 yrs. included); √ Wi-Fi hot spot (by Verizon Wireless);
HOW MUCH: $69,930 = 2018 Ford Expedition 4×4 Limited, as tested. -1 Similar available autonomous drive features = standard in competitors $20k compact cars.
WHAT’S MISSING: Less accelerator pedal dead spot; Steering wheel shift paddles
ANY COMPETITION: Chevrolet Tahoe: +1 Steering response; Mercedes Benz GLS 450: +1 CVT fuel economy, cabin fit & finish.