The 2018 Ford Expedition is all-new this year, and like the full-size Ford F-150, the new Expedition boasts extensive use of aluminum in its construction. The benefits of the aluminum are well known: lighter weight, better fuel economy and an arguably better driving experience. Yet Ford didn't stop there, adding the comfort, convenience, safety and style that the full-size SUV segment has needed.
You'll Like The 2018 Ford Expedition If...
If you're a Ford die-hard and have been wishing the F-150's aluminum goodness were available in a closed body, your prayers have been answered. If you're brand agnostic and just want the best full-size SUV you can get, look no further.
You May Not Like The 2018 Ford Expedition If...
The Chevrolet and GMC folks probably haven't even read this far, as brand loyalty will keep them away. Otherwise, it's possible you just don't need this much SUV. In that case, a smaller midsize SUV like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or VW Atlas may serve you better...and save you money.
From where the tires meet the road to the roof rack, everything on the 2018 Ford Expedition is new this year. Still available in two lengths, note that the new long-wheelbase version is now called the Expedition Max.
The 2018 Expedition's control layout is instantly familiar to anyone who's driven a Ford lately, but with a twist. For example, the volume-control, drive-mode selector and temperature-control knobs all feature a knurled surface that looks and feels premium. The gear selector for the 10-speed automatic is a similarly knurled knob that's easy to use, with manual-control buttons below. There's no shortage of features, especially in the high-end Platinum model. Second-row passengers get an equally delightful experience, with comfortable seats that adjust fully; 3rd-row passengers get plenty of room, especially in long-wheelbase Max versions. There's good cargo room, and if you need more, power-folding 3rd-row seatbacks are available, albeit with a slightly confusing interface.
Sensibly, the 2018 Ford Expedition hews more closely to the company's lineup of crossover SUVs than the F-150 pickup truck upon which it's based. The headlights, taillights, general profile, and trim all look like larger versions of what you'd find on a Ford Explorer or Flex. Yet that's no bad thing, as the Expedition is a good-looking SUV, with just the right blend of boldness and sophistication. Platinum models ladle on the chrome a bit too heavily for some tastes, we're sure, but there's enough sheer acreage of sheetmetal that it's mostly lost. Expedition Max models boast even more, with a longer wheelbase and additional cargo space.
Driving the 2018 Ford Expedition reminds us in some ways -- all of them good -- of how we felt when we first drove the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150. The lighter material makes the entire vehicle feel less bulky and massive, quite a feat considering that this is, without doubt, still a massive and bulky vehicle. Yet with the twin-turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic, the Expedition feels almost sprightly, with plenty of power in reserve for passing at highway speeds. The steering and suspension likewise feel sharper than you might expect in a vehicle this big. It's by no means a sporty drive, but there's more of a spring in its step than you may imagine. For parking-lot maneuvering, we highly recommend the around-view camera, since sightlines aren't exactly a strong suit of big vehicles like this, and even though the rearview camera is standard, you'll want all the help you can get.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for a 2018 Ford Expedition XLT rear 2-wheel drive starts at a little under the $53,000 mark, or about $55,600 for the Expedition Max. That price actually gets you a pretty decently equipped full-size SUV, but if you want more, you'll likely move up to the Limited or Platinum trims. The standard-length Limited starts at about $63,800, while the Max is about $66,650. If you want all the trimmings, the Expedition Platinum starts at about $74,000, or $76,600 for the Max. Four-wheel drive will add about $3,000 to the total. Obvious competitors are the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the Expedition Platinum exceeds those prices, but it is in line with the other competitor, the GMC Yukon Denali. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid. Resale values for the Expedition have traditionally trailed its GM competitors.
The base-model 2018 Ford Expedition XLT comes standard with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with start/stop connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Air conditioning with rear controls, an audio system with AM/FM, MP3, CD, SiriusXM and nine speakers, plus audio, Bluetooth and USB inputs. That's all pretty expected, but we were surprised to see power-folding 3rd-row seatbacks, push-button start and keyless entry on the standard features list as well. On the safety front, the 2018 Expedition comes with a rearview camera with backup grid lines and a washer, multiple airbags, a post-crash alert system for emergency help, and trailer-sway control.
Many options are added as you go up the model ladder, with leather seating, multi-zone automatic climate control, dual-headrest rear-seat entertainment, heated and ventilated seats, 10-way-power driver's seat with memory and more available on the options menu, or higher trims. Limited models get Ford's Sync 3 system which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a Bang & Olufsen audio system. Additional safety systems such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist and alert, and collision warning and mitigation are also available. Platinum models load up the luxury, with even nicer leather, an available panoramic sunroof, retractable running boards, and active noise cancellation.
INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION
Some things just don't change, and thankfully, Ford didn't change the Expedition's independent rear suspension. Not only does it smooth out bumps -- especially compared to the Chevy Tahoe -- the fancy suspension helps increase cargo and rear-seat area, giving the Expedition a distinct advantage there, too.
Similar to the Ford F-150 pickup, the new Expedition uses aluminum extensively in its construction, helping to shave about 300 pounds, compared to its predecessor. That helps drivability and fuel economy, and provides a host of other benefits.
Under the Hood
The only engine available in the 2018 Ford Expedition is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine that we've come to love in other Ford products. Here it's producing 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, or in Platinum models, 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. That's a lot of grunt, even for a full-size SUV, and thanks to the 10-speed automatic the Expedition makes good use of it all. Of course 4-wheel drive (4x4) is available in addition to 2-wheel drive (4x2), with a terrain-select system to maximize traction on different surfaces. Fuel economy is pretty good, considering the size of the vehicle, with economy averaging up to 24 mpg on the highway.
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
375 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm (400 horsepower Platinum)
470 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm (480 lb-ft Platinum)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (4x2), 17/22 mpg (4x4), 17/23 mpg (4x2 Max), 16/21 mpg (4x4 Max)
The 2018 Ford Expedition is about as all-new as a new vehicle can get. Sharing virtually nothing with its predecessor, the new Expedition advances the state of the art in full-size SUVs in the same way its cousin, the Ford F-150, did for pickup trucks: extensive use of aluminum. The benefits are tangible. The new Expedition offers excellent towing and hauling capabilities with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine, yet manages to return fuel economy more commonly associated with smaller, car-based midsize SUVs. It does all this while still offering what we've come to expect from the full-size Expedition: tons of interior space, great cargo room, and the kind of smooth ride you can only get from an independent rear suspension...and can't get in a solid-axle Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon.