Motor Company's eyebrow-raising announcement last month detailing four-door
sedan sales will soon cease within the North American Market reflects evolving
consumer tastes towards Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and their lighter weight
cousins, the five-door crossover.
Ford's Chicago-built and
once mighty Taurus sedan ranked as the best-selling car in the U.S. five year
in a row from 1992 through 1996. Alas, in 2017, Taurus sales ended in the
33,000 range, a far cry from the Halcion days of the 1990s. By contrast Ford's
Explorer crossover (also built at Ford's long-standing Torrance Avenue assembly
plant) tickled 238,000 units during the same 12-month period.
sedans including the subcompact Fiesta and mid-size Fusion have U.S. end
dates. The Focus name remains, but only as a five-door hatchback, as
the compact four-door waves by-by.
While Sport Utility
Vehicles and crossover may share visual cues, underpinning differences are
notable. Traditional SUVs, built from body-on-frame designs, are workhorses
built for towing and hauling thanks to a truck-like body structure.
Lighter-weight crossovers, built from car-like uni-body construction, offer
smoother rides and better fuel numbers while still providing elevated seating
positions and versatility.
Enter this week's tester, the
mighty body-on-frame Ford Expedition with a segment-leading 9,300 pounds of
haul-ability. The 2018 Expedition's all-new underpinnings represent a
fourth-generation redo, going on a diet and shedding 300 pounds. It's
impressively executed with little carryover from Gen Three.
savings results from aluminum-type body panels, a bold move first incorporated
into full-sized Ford's F-150 light-duty pickup trucks during the 2015 model
year. Ford's higher-capacity SuperDuty trucks (F-250, F-350) debuted
aluminum body panels in the 2017 model year.
fourth-generation, three-row Expedition grows wheelbase (distance between front
and rear axles) by three-and-a-half inches, expanding leg room, notable in back
rows. The first-generation full-size Expedition arrived for duty in the 1997
Weight savings boost fuel economy to 17 miles
per gallon city and 24 mpg highway with two-wheel rear drive models.
Subtract one mile highway with the 'Control Trac' 4 x 4
configuration. These numbers surpass its closest domestic rival,
Chevrolet's Tahoe by one mile in each category. Expedition's fuel tank
accommodates a generous 23.3 gallons of regular, 87-octane fuel utilizing a
cap-less fuel lead. Just open the circular fuel door to reveal direct
access to a self-sealing tank feed.
rack-and-pinion steering coupled with an independent rear suspension creates
ambiance of vehicle much lighter than this beast's 5,600 poundage.
Chevrolet utilizes a solid-axle rear resign resulting in a more unforgiving
A sole V-6 engine selection powers all
three trim levels: (XLT, Limited, Platinum) a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost
generating 375 horsepower. EcoBoost represents the Blue Oval's
marketing missive for a multitude of in-house family engines teaming direct
fuel injection ('Eco') with tweaked up turbo charging ('Boost').
run off of recycled exhaust gases spinning a pinwheel-inspired turbine to pump
concentrated air into the engine. Turbocharging increases horsepower
output without adding undue weight while upping fuel economy.
3.5-liter engine also features fuel-saving start-stop technology, temporarily
shutting down engine activity at prolonged stops. Once the driver
steps from the brake to accelerator pedal, the engine springs back to action.
Many manufacturers utilize this science first popularized in gas-electric
hybrids. Some include a notable engine rumble when starting/stopping,
but Ford's is relatively smooth.
The engine now connects
with a 10-speed automatic transmission (replacing a six-speed variety) another
tweak increasing performance while easy on gas.
offered a V-8 power engine in the 2014 model year, before going all-in with V-6
EcoBoost technology. An extended-length Expedition version, adding 11 inches in
overall length, is also available in all three trims, marketed as the
Available power sliding side rails greatly
assist entering and exiting this rather tall-standing product, retracting into
the body once side doors shut providing a smooth lower body look. Inside 'A'
and 'B' pillar grab handles provide a handy assist.
truck-based Sport Utility Vehicles don't come cheap, with the 2018 Expedition
starting north of 50,000 at $51,790 for a two-wheel drive XLT. Add about $3,000
for all-wheel drive. Our Limited 4 x 4 started at $65,800.
borrows interior cues from F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for the
past 36 years, a notable accomplishment not soon surpassed at least in this
The upgraded 10-speed automatic
transmission monitors via an electric circular twist dial located between front
bucket seats. Also nearby, a dial for choosing a variety of drive
modes (sport, eco, normal, snow, mud, grass). Directly behind, a HUGE storage
bin, hinged at the rear, capable of swallowing laptop computers or small lap
dogs. Another sizeable storage opportunity, the two-tier glove box with both
flip-up and flip down doors.
The smartly designed posh interior
includes a workman-like instrument panel borrowed from the F-150's template
with two circular gauges and four smaller half-gauges along the top.
Limited trim included eight-passenger seating with a 40-20-40-split second-row
bench featuring a 'tip-and-slide' design. Backrests easily tilt forward,
allowing the seat/back combo to slide effortless while creating a decent-sized
passageway to row three. Power-deployed running boards help ease the
journey generated from the rather notable 9.8 inches of ground clearance. While
headroom is less than what's available in the first two rows, three adults will
fit in relative comfort. A pair of USB and auxiliary ports are
available in all three rows. Travelers enjoy class-leading second and third-row
With the hands-free power lift gate open
(utilizing a gentle foot swipe under the cargo region), enough clearance exists
for those six-feet four inches and shorter. The cargo area also has
access to left-side buttons controlling power-folding third row AND second-row
backrests, creating a flat floor and 104.6 cubic feet of cargo-carrying
opportunity with standard-sized Expeditions (121.5 cubic feet with Expeditions
Taking the place of vertical-style rear tail lamps
from previous generations, bolder C-clamp styled housing.
high-tech, stress-reducing option new for 2018 includes the class-exclusive
'Pro Trailer Backup Assist' working in tandem with the eight-inch in-dash
multi-function screen. The system, recently introduced in Ford's
F-Series, greatly eases the sometimes frustrating task of backing up an
The driver steers the trailer via a
dashboard control knob while viewing the rear camera feed. The
Expedition guides itself in reverse (with the driver's hands free of the
steering wheel) as the technology automatically and slowly steers the truck,
turning front tires in the proper direction for trailers travel.
Limited 4 x 4 starting price: $65,800
Overall Length: 210.0 inches
Height: 76.4 inches
Overall Width: 93.4 inches
weight: 5,692 pounds
Fuel Economy: 17
mpg city 23 mpg highway
Powertrain warranty: five
Assembly: Louisville, Kentucky