The Ford Expedition has been hauling families around America since 1997, when it entered Ford’s lineup as the replacement for Ford’s Bronco. Born into an SUV war, it survived the recession and continued to be a large full-size SUV for people not wanting a minivan. The fourth generation of the Expedition was introduced in 2018, an all-new design from top to bottom. I got a chance to spend a week with a new Ford Expedition 4×4 Limited, finding out how this new V6-powered SUV handles its full-size length, width and weight.
EXTERIOR: It’s handsome. A wrap-around chrome grille kicks off the body lines of the Expedition that flow all the way to the tail end of the truck. Although this is a long SUV, the streamlined styling makes it look slim and almost athletic for a family hauler. Walking around it gives you an idea that a lot of people invested their time and effort to redesign the 2018 Expedition with as much style as possible, without – of course – overshadowing the Lincoln Navigator.
The 2018 Ford Expedition used for this review was the Limited, a trim level just under the top-tier Platinum. It was painted in Ford’s Stone Grey Metallic (a light shade of brown), and came equipped with the optional 22-inch polished aluminum wheels. Usually I frown on large wheels, because that typically means thinner tires (which impact ride quality), but on the Ford Expedition I highly encourage them. They add a level of visual luxury to the Ford, and that will come in handy later on in this review.
INTERIOR: More space than a moonless night resides inside the new Ford Expedition. The big SUV does a good job of cancelling the outside world; you won’t have to yell for people in the third row to hear you. The optional Panoramic Vista Roof offers a scenic view of the sky for all three rows. The ebony black leather interior matched well with the metallic exterior color. However, once you’ve seen one black leather interior you’ve seen them all (with very few exceptions).
Safety comes in a variety of airbags, including side curtains that drop around the interior of the vehicle to protect passengers from side impacts. A 360-degree backup camera with park assist, blind spot detection, and trailer tow monitoring is also featured on the latest Ford Expeditions.
Some of the luxury creature comforts in the Limited trim include: heated and ventilated seats for front row, and heating for second row; power folding seats for third row; wireless smart phone charging; hands-free liftgate; automated running boards; and dual-zone climate controls. The 2018 Ford Expedition Limited used for this review also came equipped with automatic stop-start technology and adaptive cruise control.
ECOBOOST PERFORMANCE: Powering Ford’s flagship SUV is the 3.5 liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, delivering 350 horsepower matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Ford Expedition has a 9,000lb towing capacity (if optioned with Heavy Duty Trailer package). But how does it handle? The EcoBoost engine delivers its power in a smooth, constant flow of acceleration that’ll have you checking the speedometer to make sure you are not speeding.
Thanks to Ford’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC), the Expedition keeps you in check under fast maneuvers. If the Expedition sense that its body is rolling too far it will slow itself down. I found this out while driving it at speed over dirt roads, testing the various terrain driving modes and 4×4 settings.
The steering was my favorite thing on the Ford Expedition. Steering it is like inserting a sharp knife through warm butter – smooth and effortless. That is what you want when maneuvering a full-size SUV through parking garages and into suburban driveways. I tested the Lincoln Navigator last year and wanted to compare the ride quality. The Ford Expedition seems as good as the Lincoln Navigator in terms of road comfort. Nevertheless, Ford made sure that the Expedition did not outclass the Navigator. The Lincoln is more comfortable, but not by much.
Overall, the new Ford Expedition delivers smooth SUV comfort with a sedan’s brisk acceleration. However, due to size, weight, and ride height, it does feel top-heavy at speed. That might explain why it has a top speed limited to 113 mph.
Fuel range on the 28-gallon tank is nearly 400 miles, with a combined estimated average of 19mpg, with 17 city and 22 highway. Pricing for the Ford Expedition starts at $52K and can climb up into the $80K range with optional packages. The MSRP of the 2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4 used for this review was $75,655.00.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The new Ford Expedition continues its role as a full-size SUV that can haul, tow, and go off-road if needed. Starting at over $50,000 may be seen as expensive, but Ford offers a wide variety of SUVs to fit the needs of the many smaller pocketbooks. The only thing I did not enjoy in the Ford Expedition was the dial gear shifter, located close to the drive mode selector. During the first couple of days I accidently changed gears trying to change drive modes, so that is something to consider. Also, the Expedition’s performance borders on being unnecessarily quick for an SUV that will do an impression of a snake if you jerk the steering wheel at highway speed. Lastly, I wish the interior had more color and texture for its elevated price tag.
If you are in the market for an 8-passenger full-size SUV, the Ford Expedition is worthy of your short list.