This year The Ford Motor Company gave us a long awaited, fourth generation Expedition. Continuing the body-on-frame full sized SUV legacy, the all new Expedition shares a frame, 10 speed automatic transmission, and 3.5L ecoboost V6 with the F150 pickup truck. Exclusively in Platinum trim a slight power tweak equates to a plentiful 400 horsepower, 480 pound feet of torque, with an EPA rated 19 miles per gallon combined.
From the driver’s seat the first thing I noticed was the abundance of leather and other soft touch surfaces. Fitted with the “Medium Soft Ceramic” interior, it develops a very welcoming feel with the contrast black dash, and carpets. The rotary gear selector and drive mode dial, including 4WD selections and locking rear differential control, adorn the left side of the center console. We’ve seen this dial before, and it isn’t bad, but our complaint is that the only way to select forward gears manually is done by two cumbersome buttons immediately behind it. We would really like to see steering wheel mounted paddles, as you do on the Lincoln Navigator.
The Sync 3 system with 8″ touchscreen display is not earth shattering, but highly effective. Ford figured out the right combination of layout, easy to navigate menus, and ample hard buttons for frequent tasks. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and the experience with my iPhone was very positive, integration worked very well. Deep inside the Sync system are hidden gems like the multi contour seat adjustments, a series of adjustable air bladders, as well as massage features for both front occupants. We did note the seats being a bit noisy while the massage feature was active. Device charging is easy with a Qi wireless charging pad, USB ports galore, a few 12V outlets and 110V home style plugs.
Bright bits of polished aluminum add to the overall exterior allure, a pleasant change copious amount of chrome and chrome clad plastics from yesteryear. The remaining high gloss bits are well executed, and not in excess. The metallic Stone Gray paint felt a little too earth tone initially, but became a pleasant and safe alternative to the usual sea of black, white, and silver people movers.
Two different seating configurations offer seating capabilities for seven or eight. The seven seat configuration is without a doubt my preference, but would have liked to see an available center console for the second row, likely also selectively reserved for its cousin, the Navigator. My Platinum trim includes heated outboard second row seats that slide, and recline.
A two pane panoramic roof with opaque shade covers the front, and most of the second row of seats. We were very satisfied by the opening portion of the roof, one of the largest we’ve experienced in quite some time. Wind noise was minimal with the roof open, at varying speeds.
The thoughtfulness in the Expedition continues with the 360 degree camera system. My enjoyment doesn’t come from the way it assists in parking situations, but how Ford equipped the cameras both front and rear with washer nozzles, and that they clean themselves independently. I found it great for clearing away snow and road salt residue, a common annoyance here in the North East.
The vast majority of the consumers considering the full-sized sport utility market are doing so to move things around. A standard power 60/40 split fold 3rd row seat (that reclines electrically!), and power released second row seats (in either configuration) make cargo loading a breeze. Thanks to the independent rear suspension, the last row of passengers have a remarkable amount of comfort and there is a much lower load height provided by the ability to keep a lower floor. Expedition also offers a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,300lbs, a figure that dwarfs the competitors.
There is no possible way for me to leave the elephant in the room covered any longer, and that’s the price… As equipped, my 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum had almost every box checked (sans $1,995 rear seat entertainment) and came in at $81,650 (after a $500 discount on the Monroney Sticker). Just shy of $82k I feel it’s a great option, but certainly a premium for a “non-luxury” segment automobile. The significant advantage I see is that there will be less stigma associated with the Ford compared to most of its competition, and offers far more functionality than most of the European and Asian options.
As always, a huge thanks to The Ford Motor Company for providing the Expedition for this review.