Ride comfort in the Expedition is superbly smooth, and acceleration is surprisingly punchy yet linear.
After much hype and some initial first drive experience, the new Expedition has finally arrived at our office for a week’s worth of testing. For the past five years or so, the full-size SUVs from General Motors have been the benchmark in the body-on-frame segment, boasting road manners, comfort, and efficiency untouchable by anything else in the segment. With a high benchmark to beat, we set out in this 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum to see just how this all-new model from the blue oval would fare.
The eight-passenger Expedition boasts more hip room than its competition in the first two rows, as well as best-in-class second and third row legroom; all things passengers will surely appreciate. Even in short-wheelbase form, the big Ford packs ample space and thanks to an airy cabin, feels more spacious than a comparable Tahoe (reviewed here). Packed with tons of tech as well as luxury, the Expedition checks all the right boxes making it a very enjoyable experience inside and out. Comfort and luxury greet you immediately in this Platinum model, featuring a refined interior. Fit and finish are good, materials all feel nice to the touch, and massaging front seats make an already comfortable vehicle just that much nicer.
Fully redesigned from the ground up for 2018, the Expedition features a second-generation 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine that produces an impressive 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque; all of this is surprisingly achieved on regular 87-octane gasoline with no premium fuel required. Although if you feel the need for a little more power, you can get 400 horsepower and 485 lb-ft., simply by putting 93-octane gasoline in the tank. Considering competition from GM and Toyota all get V8s as standard equipment, a boosted V6 is a notable change in this segment and one that will take some getting used to for many buyers. Impressions are good; the EcoBoost has plenty of get-up-and-go, with a beefy 10-speed automatic shifting gears imperceptibly.
City fuel economy is rated at 13.8L/100km, and we were able to achieve 12.5L per 100km with some very disciplined driving. One of our colleagues took this Expedition for a day trip to Detroit for a Ford event, and saw an average of 10.5L/100km highway – seriously impressive. The fuel tank is 94.6L, which translates roughly to a little more than 600km depending on driving habits. The Expedition MAX gets the larger 136L tank that is shared with the F-150, which will help road-trippers and those who tow considerably.
Efficiency is also aided by an idle start/stop feature, which can be turned off temporarily if you choose. The 10-speed automatic is a joint venture between Ford and GM, and it’s worth noting that the 6.2L Yukon (reviewed here) gets this transmission now too, and thanks to cylinder deactivation, can actually accomplish better fuel efficiency numbers than the Expedition.
Ride comfort in the Expedition is superbly smooth, and acceleration is surprisingly punchy yet linear. The Expedition is the only Ford vehicle to utilize Lincoln’s CCD adaptive damper system (Continuous Control Damping). It still feels like a pickup truck, and that may just be due to the fact that it fundamentally remains an F-150 with seating instead of a box. Driver comfort is easily achieved with the 10-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, cooling and massage functions. The seating is plush quilted Nirvana leather, which is a very soft featuring “medium soft ceramic” colour on this test vehicle.
The new Expedition is 300 pounds lighter than the previous-generation model, and that’s thanks in part to the all-aluminum body, like we’ve seen in the Ford F-150 (reviewed here). Although it’s lighter than before, it’s no lightweight coming in at 5624 pounds for this Platinum model. A few notable features that are new to 2018 include a Bang and Olufsen 12-speaker sound system, panoramic vista roof, wireless charging pad, and lots more. One neat feature is when the tailgate is opened, the actual cargo area floor can be flipped up to make a shelf and help with storage.
The digital instrument cluster is very customizable, allowing you to set up display gauges to your preferences. It’s also very user friendly, as is as the infotainment system, powered by Ford’s SYNC 3. It’s very fast and responsive, easy to interpret and even has some fun customizable features such ambient lighting. A button above the touchscreen pulls up a 360-degree camera, or your front facing camera when moving slowly – extremely underrated features in a vehicle as large as the Expedition. This will help manoeuvre the truck through tight spaces or help line up the front end in garages where the vehicle barely fits.
There are a few interior niggles to find fault with, but they are very minor. There are handles on the A-pillars that protrude out, and even though they’re angled to not obscure your view, they still seem to obnoxiously stick out. Additionally, the wireless charging pad is tucked into the front storage compartment, which takes more effort than you would think to position your phone onto the pad.
Third row seating on the Expedition is the first in this class to have reclining capability, and at the touch of a button this row can fold down individually (60/40 split) or in unison, as well as fold back up into place. The second row seating also power folds, which is a nice touch, but must be unfolded manually.
All of this tech, comfort and size doesn’t come without a price – the 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum in short-wheelbase form fetches $87,794 as-tested with options, a bit of an increase from the base price of $80,999 for the Platinum. At this price it sits right in line with the GMC Yukon Denali (reviewed here), and is definitely a little bit upmarket than a comparable Tahoe. Those who desire yet more luxury and opulence will want to give the Expedition’s platform mate, the Lincoln Navigator (reviewed here) a good look, but for the average full-size SUV buyer – this just might be the new king.