Sheer, utter disbelief is perhaps the best way to describe the emotions that welled inside me as I opened an e-mail correspondence regarding a personal invitation to join Ford Motor Company at an exclusive media drive program. The focus of the event: an up close and personal viewing of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and new 2018 Ford Mustang. The 2-day event entailed a private media dinner at The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan; presentations from the chief program engineers for both vehicles; and the opportunity to experience both vehicles on the road. And what an opportunity – a truly unique opportunity – this proved to be; driving around metro Detroit during winter would surely place both vehicles under detailed scrutiny.
Fortunately, for the event, Mother Nature was merciful and blessed the day with temperatures in the 40 degree range. If the event had been two weeks prior, we would have been in serious trouble. Nevertheless, copious amounts residual slush and unforgiving potholes still remained to present a suitable challenge. But, with an opportunity to network, capture my experience with some cool photographs, learn about these two new additions to the Ford family, and test them on the urban landscape – I could not help but accept the invitation. So, lets dive directly into the experience.
First impressions of the 2018 Ford Expedition: It is simply a behemoth, and an elegant one. Nevertheless, despite its massive body, the all-new Expedition sheds nearly 300 pounds because of a redesigned high-strength steel frame and aluminum-alloy body. The sexy result is a fuel efficiency that delivers 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. A combination of both yields approximately 20 miles per gallon for the gentleman. Now, such a reduction in weight does not equate to diminished power, actually, quite the opposite. The Expedition’s new 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed automatic transmission is capable of producing up to 400 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque. Towing capability boasts up to 9,300 pounds that can be hauled around the countryside if required.
Now, being a father of one handsome son and one beautiful daughter (much love to Ava & Miles), my natural gravitation towards the Expedition was unsurprising. An aficionado in all things concerning car seat installation & removal, diaper bags, stuffed animals & baby dolls, and any other children-related accouterments; the spacious interior teased a comfort and ease that every parent wantonly covets. And clocking in at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, the Expedition affords space that any robust gentleman can truly appreciate, especially when climbing into vehicle and securing the aforementioned car seats. The doors even open at nearly a 90 degree angle. The second row tip & slide seating allows the seat to move at a slanted pivot to grant access to the third row without removing the car seat entirely – excellent!
With pleasing interior ergonomics & aesthetics, the 2018 Ford Expedition is designed for the everyday gentlemen that appreciates utilitarian luxury. A user-friendly console provides an intuitive touch that neither confounds or confuses the gentleman. And for the technology-savvy crowd, the 2018 Expedition features wireless phone charging, a 110 volt outlet, four 12 volt power points, a 360 degree camera system, a Wi-Fi hot-spot that supports up to 10 devices simultaneously within 50 feet of the vehicle, and an entertainment system that accommodates an effortless smartphone integration. Optional: dual front row headrest entertainment system that can play Choo Choo Soul for Miles or PJ Masks for Ava.Again, a gentleman can drive this vehicle right off the lot without detailed instructions.
So, speaking of driving the Expedition off the lot, I decided to take it into the city to test the urban terrain. The model I selected was the Max XLT 4×4. With its partially plowed side streets and punishing pot holes, I wanted to gauge the smoothness of my commute when faced with a brutal landscape. Powered by their Terrain Management System™ (4×4 only), a gentleman can select between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive depending on your preference and the road. There are seven special drive modes between 2WD and 4WD for your selection: normal, sport, tow/haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/rut. As for my travel, the ride was surprisingly smooth. Surprising, because if you have not visited inner city Detroit, the pot holes and even road can be vicious. Nevertheless, the big-body Expedition confidently absorbed every jolt that was thrown its way. It also handled the slush and snow very well with no sliding or slippage at all.
2018 Ford Expedition Standard Specifications
- 8 person seating capacity – 3 passenger rows – front cloth bucket seats – Second-row 40/20/40 split bench manual reclining fold-flat seat with CenterSlide® and Outboard Slide Seats -Third-row 60/40 split bench fold-flat-to-the-floor seat
- Miles per gallon – up to 17 city/24 highway – 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine – Transmission – 10 speed automatic
- Best-in-Class 9,300 pounds maximum towing capacity
- ABS with Brake Assist and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
- Auto Stop-Start Technology
- Rear-Wheel Drive
- Fully boxed frame
- Suspension-Multilink Independent Rear suspension
- Electronic Power-Assist (EPAS) rack-and-pinion steering
- Front and rear stabilizer bars
- AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ (RSC® )
- Electronic Stability Control
- Non-limited-slip 3.15 rear axle (4×2 only)
- Selectable Drive Modes
- Traction Control
- SYNC® – Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications and Entertainment System – Audio-AM/FM Stereo, Single CD Player, MP3 Capable, SiriusXM® Radio and Nine (9) Speakers
- Expedition: A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose. The 2018 Ford Expedition is household comfort mounted on 4 tires. Your commute is not merely travel from Point A to Point B, it is an experience in understated class and convenience.
- Despite its large frame, the 2018 Ford Expedition is pleasantly nimble and agile when cruising on the highway. And because of its large frame and Terrain Management System™, bruising roads are handled with confidence.
- Bold & robust presentation without appearing too bulky and boxy. Its lines are clean and tailored; resulting in a handsome, refined appearance.
- Large cabin for occupants in all three seating rows. The second row tip & slide seating is especially useful for access to the third row (the third row also reclines as an added bonus). In cases of installed car seats; they do not have to be removed. The LATCH System is available in the second and third rows. The dual moon-roof is a beautiful finishing touch.
- Seamless and smart integrated technology with Wi-Fi hot-spots for up to 10 devices within 50 feet. I loved the touch screen functionality and ease of navigation.
- Automatic lift-gate with generous cargo and storage space. With the push of a button, the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat, offering ample space to accommodate a gentleman’s bulky purchases from Home Depot, 60+ inch flat screen television sets from Costco, or just about any bulky item that requires transport. Groceries are kept secure from both forward and backward motion. A rear bulk head folds out and up to prevent items (basketballs, watermelons, etc.) from rolling out. And rear camera spray wash to clear obstruction from the elements outside.
- True to form, the 2018 Ford Expedition is quite massive. For the uninitiated, wielding such a large vehicle could prove to be a daunting objective. Smaller vehicles on the road may go unnoticed, however, the Blind Spot Information System can be helpful. However, the driver assist feature should not displace attention to one’s surroundings and judgement. As a personal preference, I would have loved the inclusion of integrated blind spot mirrors, as it is my instinct to look first.
- Narrow stretches of road could also prove to be a challenge, especially in spots where vehicles park roadside. A gentleman must be totally cognizant of his spacing while driving. Navigating 6 Mile was an exercise in caution because one must be aware of individuals parked roadside and exiting their vehicle before waiting for traffic to clear.
- As far as parking goes, it would be wise to park far, or at least moderate distance away from concentrated areas of parking. Maximizing parking lot real estate, I can imagine other vehicles swinging their doors open haphazardly and denting your doors.
- The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, even at the most base level, may be slightly stressful on the bank account. If a gentleman begins to add options, the sticker shock may trigger a cardiac arrest. Advice: Exhibit some financial self-awareness and proceed wisely.
To be perfectly certain, the 2018 Ford Expedition will decidedly resonate with the professional gentleman that values performance & functionality in tandem with grace & sophistication, appreciates comfort, recognizes that the amalgamation of entertainment & technology affords a premium driving experience, and most importantly, demands a vehicle that satisfies the many facets of family life while commuting. Sure, the MSRP, approximately $51,695, will give momentary pause, but this full-size sports utility vehicle should grant many years of service and grow with a family. If you are in the market for a large SUV to accommodate the daily travels of your busy family, and you can do so in style without monetary stress; I strongly recommend the 2018 Ford Expedition for your consideration.
For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/models/expedition-xlt/for details.