Ah, the Ford Expedition. When most people think of full-size SUVs, the Ford Expedition usually comes to mind. Launched in the late ‘90s to replace the Ford Bronco, the Expedition would be synonymous with all-American built trucks, and is currently on its fourth generation. Chances are, if you’re looking at bringing one of these Kentucky-built beasts into your garage, you couldn’t care less about fuel consumption or handling; you just want the very top of the eight-seater SUV crop.
Let me tell you, however, that spending almost a week with one of these behemoths can surprise you. In a very good way.
Here, in no particular order, are the top five features that I found very interesting in the 2018 Ford Expedition 3.5L Limited MAX 4WD.
1. It’s unmistakably American
The 2018 Ford Expedition that we get in the country is the Limited MAX with 4WD, and it also happens to be the EL, or extended length, variant. That’s an additional 12 inches of length and nine inches of wheelbase over the already gargantuan non-EL. It’s also got a huge front fascia and dimensions that could dwarf any other vehicle on the road. It’s big, it’s bold, but it’s oh so lovable because you expect vehicles like this to be able to fit your extended family plus your household pets, anyway. It’s a full-size truck based SUV done right, from the country that created the idea to begin with.
From the front to the back, it’s a sizable vehicle, especially when navigating our usual roads and tight traffic jams. Despite its size, it also happens to have fantastic visibility, thanks to those windows and large mirrors with blind spot indicators. Just remember that you’ll clear up to two meters of vertical clearance.
2. Size means space
All that size was put to good use, however, as the 2018 Ford Expedition seats eight people comfortably, even if they are over six feet tall. Legroom for all seats is fantastic, and you can even recline and slide the seats to your heart’s content. Cargo space is very versatile, as the second and third rows can also be electronically folded flat so you can fit whatever you want for a roadtrip with your significant other, or have all seats upright to bring seven more people.
All seats also have proper seatbelts, and an abundance of cupholders and USB ports for keeping gadgets at full charge. A panoramic sunroof that extends up to the second row is also a huge plus, creating a sense of even more space.
3. It’s a capable land-yacht
The 2018 Ford Expedition comes with 4WD and has a number of off-road driving modes, similar to that of Land Rovers (co-development has its perks). You have the option to switch from 2H and 4A, plus the flexibility of Road, Sand, Mud, Grass, Sport, and Rain modes, to name a few. It also happens to be pretty brisk despite its weight, tipping the scales at just over 4,000 kilograms, thanks to its twin turbo 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine that generates a generous 375 hp and 638 Nm of torque.
Power to the wheels is courtesy of a 10-speed automatic transmission. Despite those numbers, we experienced five to seven kilometers per liter in urban driving, and an impressive 12 kilometers per liter on the highway. Couple that with a 90 plus liter tank that has a full range of almost 800 kilometers, and you get a vehicle that can definitely go on an, wait for it, expedition.
Need to tow something? No problem, as the Expedition is rated to accommodate 2,268 kilograms. A motorcycle trailer or even a race car on a flatbed trailer won’t be an issue. The Expedition also has trailer assistance systems to help in reversing and mitigating high speed trailer sway. Oh, and the Expedition sprints from zero to 100 km/h in under six seconds. Now that’s something.
4. Toys and creature comforts
The Expedition comes with a good number of technology bits that make each drive as comfortable as possible. The seats up front are ventilated, and allow for cooling or heating functions. Said seats are also electronically adjustable with memory, and the driver gets adjustable pedals, too. Air conditioning controls are automatic and are four zone, so passengers are free to set their own cooling preferences.
Ford Sync 3 is also on display here, together with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a breeze to set up your phone, and navigation is standard. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is a great touch, and a definite icing on the infotainment cake. This is alongside the fully-featured, multi-page information display found in between the instrument dials. There’s so much configurability and even a favorites menu, that you can display speed, torque distribution, and even trivial things like engine running hours.
Blind spot indicators and 360 degree sensors with a reversing camera help in maneuvering, and cornering lights and decent halogen projectors light up the night decently. We wish they were LED or HID units like in other countries, but maybe that’s for next year. You also get remote starting, retractable stepboards, and a power liftgate. Neat.
5. Effortless to drive
The punchy engine and good cruising manners are a staple of this 2018 Expedition. Steering is light and, while it can be too numb and disconnected for some, adjusts accordingly to vehicle speed. Once you get used to it and you trust your sensors and judgement, parking and running about in tight streets is not a problem.
On the highway the Expedition just stays absolutely planted and becomes extremely comfortable. Getting up to speed and overtaking maneuvers are effortless, and it even emits a good V6 rumble. Nothing beats just switching on the cruise control at 100 km/h and eating up those kilometers to your destination. Road imperfections are absorbed nicely and there’s even some fun to be had in the corners. This current Expedition is actually 200 kilograms lighter than the previous generation, thanks to some aluminum and high tensile steel, and can be nimble despite its weight and dimensions. It’s by no means a sporty crossover, but it does surprise you with some impressive road handling characteristics.