Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 22, 2018
CALGARY, Alberta - Significant revisions in the full-size SUV segment are seldom. Just look at the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Nissan Armada. These people-hauling castles have barely changed in the past ten years. The Expedition is no exception, until now.
In a nutshell, the new 2018 Ford Expedition takes cues from the F-150 pickup truck, sheds 136 kg of weight with a more aluminum-intensive architecture, adopts a handsome design with sleeker sheetmetal, gains every piece of modern tech in the textbook, and aims to be more fuel efficient than ever with a more compact engine.
The Expedition comes in three trims: XLT ($60,149), Limited ($73,149), and Platinum ($81,149), each offering more features than the last. An extended wheelbase version dubbed MAX is also available for Limited and Platinum models. This $3,000 premium stretches the wheelbase by 230 mm and is sent straight to the rear trunk space.
The new exterior design does not appear nearly as bulbous or behind the times as before, and the clever use of chrome to spruce up the overall shine and polish works wonderfully for this large piece of machinery. Platinum models receive a different grill with more chrome netting, and falls in line with the Denali-specific grill on the GMC Yukon.
The interior receives a significant revision, though Ford did not go crazy with digital screens or fancy pop-out features. There is nothing over the top in here – that is saved for the Lincoln Navigator – but that means the price tag does not swell up with it either. It is full on functional and succeeds in this intended purpose. That means big block dials and buttons that are easily utilized even with thick gloves on, analog gauges with clear fonts and readings, and a massive center glovebox that is heavily padded above for elbow comfort and was even able to swallow my entire camera bag.
Unlike the F-150, the Expedition utilizes a rotary dial shifter like the Ford Fusion. Though still easy to use, it is just not as intuitive as a proper gear lever and forces me to do a quick glance to make sure I am rotating to my desired gear.
The front seats may not be as spacious or as wide as the Tahoe, but the Expedition did surprise me with its massive rear cabin. The third row is almost as spacious as the second row, a rare attribute even in the full-size SUV segment. That’s mostly due to the fact that the Expedition uses an independent rear suspension instead of a live axle, meaning the floorbed can be kept flat, offering more legroom for the back row. The second row also tilts and slides forward for easy ingress, a segment-first feature that I have only seen in minivans like the Honda Odyssey. Furthermore, the third row can electronically recline a significant amount for even more comfort. That pays out in spades for those wishing to carry a full house on long distance journeys.
Revitalized with modern features such as SYNC 3, Apple CarPlay, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring, the Expedition keeps its head up in the game of technology. Ford has even stepped up their game with a Bang and Olufsen speaker system on Platinum models. The customizable cargo management system in trunk is optional as well but becomes a neat little way to organize trunk space – you can transform it from a two-shelf system to a sectional area to prevent items from rolling.
The Expedition drives like an F-150 on easy mode, so do not let its daunting size frighten you. Body motions are kept in check with its wonderfully tuned adaptive suspension, and even at triple digit speeds, it exhibits impeccable road manners and a clean and quiet ride. Vertical motions are not as noticeable as they are in the Tahoe, and it floats over bumps better despite its large 22-inch wheels. Though it can feel unwieldy and top-heavy when entering a corner too quickly, its steering is light and accurate, meaning you can place it where you want without giving yourself a forearm workout. Just don’t ask it to dance.
The only engine available is a 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6, and we’ve seen it before in the F-150 Raptor and Ford GT. In the Expedition however, it is tuned to deliver 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, and Platinum models get a boost up to 400 hp and 480 lb-ft courtesy of a software tune and premium fuel. The Expedition offers a towing capacity of 4,219 kg.
Much of the weight loss is offset by its gain in heavy equipment, but the Expedition still manages to give you a rollercoaster ride with that enormous torque wave without ever needing to shift gears. Power comes on almost immediately after pushing the gas pedal and never seems to let up. Even in the long wheelbase MAX trim, the V6 never struggles to get moving. It even lets out a convincing growl, though not nearly as thrilling as the V8 from the Tahoe. The Expedition doesn’t have the same kickback as you would get from the V8 either, but it offers just enough speed to forget wanting more cylinders. It is a smooth operator but not an exciting one nevertheless.
The 10-speed automatic transmission (also used in the Tahoe) seems to be tuned for efficiency rather than performance, which isn’t a bad thing. It just wants to hit the top gear as soon as possible, but will kick down gears rather quickly when acceleration is demanded. Sport Mode on the other hand forces the gearbox to hold gears a little longer. Fuel efficiency isn’t bad either, and much improved from before – we averaged 12.4 L/100km on highway stretches from Calgary to Banff National Park.
Ford set up a quick two-minute off-road course for us to take the Expedition through its paces. Its excellent ground clearance allowed us to navigate past even the deepest of snowy ruts, the adaptive suspension soaked up much of the edgy undulations, and we made use of Hill Descent Control to guide us safely down steep 15-degree inclines. An off-road package dubbed FX4 ($2,000) is available for XLT models, but we only had Platinum trims available. This adds even more off-road ability with an electronic rear limited slip differential, retuned shocks, all-terrain tires, skid plates, 18-inch wheels, chrome running boards, and rubber floorliners.
Resurrected and revitalized, the Expedition climbs to the top of the full-size SUV ladder and dominates with unquestionable road manners, modern tech, and cavernous rear seats. The V6 powertrain may disappoint those looking for a bit of V8 performance, but I doubt that 90% of Expedition buyers will treat that as a priority. In my eyes, the Expedition ticks all the boxes of a do-everything SUV, from ferrying eight passengers through muddy back cottage roads to hauling trailers with ease. It may hold the keys to the throne for now, but don’t think that General Motors and Nissan will keep their heads down for long. As a wise person once said, a rising tide raises all ships.
型号 Model: 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum 4x4
顏色 Paint Type: Stone Gray Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $81,149
引擎 Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 480 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 10-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.7
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 285/45R22