2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4 – Bottom Line Review

Malamute sled Arctic outings and Bathysphere deep ocean dives denote more than a modicum of spartan endurance, strength and agility.

Excursions both on and slightly beyond the pavement demand ever more civilized conveyances. For 2018 Ford has trotted out a completely re-designed body-on-frame light truck based 3-Row sports utility vehicle.  Just how much the 2018 Ford Expedition has shed in flab and gained in agility and civility is the subject of this Roadblazing.com query.

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WHAT: 2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4 3- Row off-road capable, full-sized sport utility vehicle.

Std. Power: intercooled twin-turbocharged 3.5L DOHC 24V DI gas V-6 w/ idle Start/ Stop = 375 hp / 470 lb-ft @3500 rpm + 10-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transaxle + (AVAIL.) 2-speed e-transfer case four-wheel drive + (AVAIL.) E-clutch pack limited slip differential.

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: 5th generation, code name U553, built on the current F-150 half ton pickup truck T3 hydroformed boron steel frame, adopting similar weight saving aluminum alloy body on steel frame architecture.

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Raked back face, finer detailing = adopts crossover demeanor

Belt line spanning crease melding into dual side valley hood emboldens the fenders; Full spanning upper “Bi Horizontal Bar” chainlink integrates slight wrap-around headlamps;  Incline rising lower to mid fascia imparts jutting lower chin split by simulated metallic skid plate; Belt line rises, outline by chrome band, while roof line tapers culminating into spoiler;  Darkened D-pillar emulates floating roof;  Chrome mid-liftgate bar spans into wrap around boomerang taillamps;  Lower bumper finished in matte metallic skid plate.

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: For there is high-low engage on the fly 4WD & dedicated snow drive mode

Optically fit, trim and expressive for such a large box.

WHY: The Blue-Oval already had superb aluminum-bodied on frame pickup donor for a much improved full-size SUV.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Summer 2017

WHERE: Ford new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

WHERE TO: available electronically on-the-fly selectable two-speed transfer case four wheel drive; Open front & rear differential, available electronic clutch pack limited slip rear differential;  ABS Hill descent control; 5-Mode Terrain Management;  9.7″ clearance = Snow commanding, mud + sand raking & light off-roading.

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Drive Modes w/ Terrain Management

HOW ROADWORTHY: Ecoboost twin turbo spools quickly off each cylinder bank wastegate; Longer accelerator travel abets a quick upshifting joint Ford-GM effort 10-speed automatic (variant of Camaro ZL-1 gearbox) limiting off the line abruptness; By 35 miles per hour the transmission has tagged 8th gear, leaving two more for tall ratio overdrives, but abruptly lay off the throttle and a honey smooth three or four gear kickdown ensues. -1 Depressing the transmission position dial = clumsy manumatic shifting.

300 lb. aluminum alloy body diet lowers the center of gravity for a reduction of understeer plow entering bends; Available electronic dampers have capability of quick compression and slower rebound, ruffling occupants more rarely, working honestly with a fully independent suspension; Electric steering assist is overboosted for enthusiasts’ tastes, requiring over-corrections in lane changes; Large disc brakes at four corners, fortified by twin piston front calipers develop linear feel but bite fades at end of pedal travel; Minimal cross wind buffeting; Road, wind and powertrain noise are rather obscured.

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Off road status = attitude, side pitch, power distribution

HOW FAR: 18 combined miles per gallon = 13% > Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3L V8

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: 7 Occupant seating = full-size 2+3+3  SUV style: Row 3 = Sufficient knee & head room for 2 adults < 5’10” & 1 juvenile; Optional 2nd Row captain chairs pare occupancy by one; Rows 1 & 2 chairs and benches are generous of width; Panoramic moonroof with power sunshade = hurts that 3rd Row headroom; Cavernous cargo hold is envied by nearly all of the competition;

Cargo Volume (max.) = 10% > Chevrolet Tahoe; 24% > Mercedes Benz GLS 450

018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Power 2nd & 3rd Row seat back fold for cargo expansion to 104.5 cu. ft.

HOW USEFUL: Comfort approach variable height power liftgate; Power flat folding 40/20/40% split 2nd Row tilt, sliding outboard seatbacks w/ twin cargo bay release latches;  Power remote cargo area 2nd & 3rd Row seat fold; +1 Flip-open liftgate window; +1 Truck size 1st & 2nd Row door pocket & center armrest space; +1 3rd Row wall storage, USB x 2; -1 Distant reach to glove box; -1 Marginal sub cargo floor storage; Tow Rating: +1 9200 lbs.

HOW SAFE: 6 airbags; NHTSA 5 Star rated; Rear camera w/ sonar front & rear audible park guidance;  Roll mitigation; AVAILABLE = Automatic high beam headlamps;  Surround view camera;  Active parallel and perpendicular park assist;

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Perpendicular & parallel active park assist

Partial Autonomy (AVAIL.):   Blind spot & lane departure warning; Rear cross traffic warning, avoidance braking; Lane keep assist;  Full adaptive cruise control partial autonomy;  Forward collision, pedestrian avoidance braking;

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY:  Power retracting running boards; Leather seating – heated Rows 1 + 2, cooled Row 1; Wide berth front buckets; 10-way power front seats, w/ 3-setting driver memory; Heated leather steering wheel with spoke integrated tactile redundant controls;  Large center console ribbed rotary metallic transmission position and Terrain Management dials;  Overhead console retracting sunglasses bin;  -1 Limited steering wheel reach adjustment; -1 Low lateral & knee front bolstering; -1 Short 2nd Row seat cushions; -1 Power liftgate switch on liftgate [rather than cargo area panel].

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Power retracting running boards offer step up

Cool Gizmo(s): 2nd Row remote audio controls; Panoramic glass roof; Variable color foot well, center console & door panel ambient lighting.

Details Done Right Rich imitation burl blonde cockpit woodgrain panels; Fine grained soft-material dash top;   Leather center console padding and door panels Matte aluminized trim.

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Coarse grain below waist-height plastic cabin trim; -1 Steering wheel spoke controls lack tactile distinctiveness; -1 Switchgear lacks jeweled finish and premium feel.

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Ford MyTouch Sync3 8″-inch capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; Bluetooth & voice command hands-free communications; GPS HDD Navigation w/ 3-D map, voice guidance;  SMS text messaging; Android Auto / Apple Car Play smart phone overlays; 12-speaker, 1100 watt B&W Play audio shrills the highs; Sync3 Apps; USB x 6, 12V x 4, 115V AC x 1; +1 Concealed forward center console wireless device storage; +1 Extensive Sync3 voice command lexicon understands plain language.

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4: Cockpit while driving

By Subscription: Sirius XM Traffic & TravelLink apps (5 yrs. included); Wi-Fi hot spot (by Verizon Wireless);

HOW MUCH: $69,930 = 2018 Ford Expedition 4×4 Limited, as tested. -1 Similar available autonomous drive features = standard in competitors $20k compact cars.

WHAT’S MISSING: Less accelerator pedal dead spot; Steering wheel shift paddles

ANY COMPETITION: Chevrolet Tahoe: +1 Steering response; Mercedes Benz GLS 450: +1 CVT fuel economy, cabin fit & finish.

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