CHICAGO, Ill. -- The Ford Motor Company's exhibit in McCormick Place at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show includes a new generational design for the humongous Expedition, Ford's full-size and 8-passenger sport utility vehicle (SUV) which comes together at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.
The Expedition line of 2018 consists of two versions -- a standard-length Expedition and a stretched edition (dubbed Expedition Max) with a foot-long wheelbase extension and vast room in the cabin including extra space in the cavernous rear cargo bay. Riding on a new platform, Expedition increases in size with the wheelbase growing by four inches and the overall length and width of the structure expanding by an inch in each direction.
A new ladder-frame chassis with high-strength steel boxed rails serves as the rigid foundation for the 2018 issues of Expedition to enhance the ride and handling with a strong suspension system and beefy brakes. The suspension system includes independent components suspending the rear wheels as well as the front ones. The suspension scheme also allows a more convenient fold-flat third-row bench seat and low load-floor height.
The body of the SUV incorporates high-strength but lightweight aluminum alloys for skin panels which make the body lighter, stronger and more resistant to dents. Ford estimates the new aluminum-body 2018 Expedition sheds some 300 pounds in weight compared to the previous steel-body 2017 Expedition and that weight loss enables the revamped SUV to tow and haul more, accelerate and stop faster, and operate more efficiently.
Face and flanks of 2018 Expedition models reveal streamlined contours and a bold 2-bar front grille spread from corner to corner across the broad prow with dazzling corner headlamp optics including white light tube brackets for daytime running lights. Grille patterns vary by trim level up to the top tier housing fancy chrome latticework.
Expedition 2018 segments into three primary trim grades: XLT, Limited and Platinum.
The powertrain for Expedition and Expedition Max is Ford's dual-cam and twin-turbo all-aluminum 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with direct-injection and performance-enhancing Ti-VVT (twin independent variable camshaft timing). It generates an estimated 375 hp plus 470 lb-ft of torque through a new 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift manual control.
Both Expedition and Expedition Max offer two traction modes (2-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-drive). The 4WD models use a 2-speed transfer case with electronic shift-on-the-fly capability as controlled by a dash-mounted rotary knob for dialing up a driving mode, from rear 2-wheel traction to 4-wheel high and low or automatic all-wheel-drive. An optional electronic limited-slip differential on 4WD models improves off-road capability.
For Expedition 4WD models Ford adds the selectable Terrain Management System with driver-selectable settings -- Normal/Sport/Tow-Haul/Eco/Grass-Gravel-Snow/Sand/Mud-Rut -- that automatically tune various vehicle dynamic systems to the type of terrain being covered.
Expedition's updated cabin components include an optional 8-inch touch screen for SYNC with MyFord Touch, and a passive entry with push-button start.
The cabin layout includes captain's chairs on the front row, a middle row with optional captain's chairs or standard bench split 40/20/40 with easy fold-and-flip outboard sections and the optional third-row 60/40-split bench that tucks flat into the floor with optional PowerFold electric power controls. The sliding second-row seat with tip-and-slide function provides easy access to the third row. Further, the second and third rows fold flat with the push of a button to expand the cargo bay for housing 4-by-8-foot sheets of wallboard and gear.
Ford lists more than 40 features and driver-assist technologies that are new to Expedition. These include enhanced active park assist and 360-degree camera technology, lane-keeping aid, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, collision avoidance detection system, blind spot information system, and wireless charging for mobile devices. There is also an optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-headrest rear seat video entertainment system, SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is a FordPass remote start/lock/unlock/locate, four 12-volt power points, 6 USB chargers and a 110-volt power outlet, 12-speaker B&O premium audio system and optional Panoramic Vista Roof.
We estimate MSRP figures for Ford's 2018 Expedition line to extend from $47,000 to $66,000.