Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition

The Expedition and the longer Expedition Max have the cutting-edge tech, towing capacity, and buslike people space that exemplify this competitive class of mega-haulers. These two models, all new for 2018, feature aluminium-intensive construction that enables them to be both larger and lighter than before. Ford’s latest twin-turbo V-6 pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear- or all-wheel drive. Platinum versions have the most panache, with classier styling and countless standard features. While the comfy ride and spacious cabin are excellent, the Expedition is plagued by ponderous handling and some inferior interior materials. Likewise, the top trims are priced alongside premium-brand alternatives but lack the upscale aesthetics and build quality. Still, the Expedition covers every facet of modern luxury liners—it just fails to change the game.

What’s New for 2018?

Ford redesigned the Expedition from the ground up for 2018. Although the short- and extended-wheelbase versions are longer than before and have increased passenger space, they’re also lighter, a result of adopting aluminum bodywork. As expected, the new Expedition features the company’s latest technology. This includes an available Sync 3 infotainment system and countless active safety options. Likewise, the last-gen twin-turbo V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission have been ditched for contemporized replacements with more power and more gears.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

The least expensive model of the Expedition lineup costs a couple thousand dollars more than most rivals. Those who want added cargo space will pay another $2685 for the extended Expedition Max. Both versions have three trims: XLT, Limited, and Platinum. But only the top two models unlock better interior materials and options, including 22-inch wheels, a 360-degree camera, adaptive dampers, LED exterior lighting, heated second-row seats, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Every SUV in the humongous-hauler class can fetch luxury-vehicle pricing, which means the Ford actually competes with luxury-brand alternatives such as the Expedition’s upscale cousin, the Lincoln Navigator, and the exceptional Mercedes-Benz GLS-class. Unfortunately, the priciest versions lack the driving demeanor and affluent interior ambience of ritzier rivals. Instead, we’d choose the base Expedition XLT with carefully selected options, which is the best bargain here. We’d swap its measly standard 18-inch wheels for 20-inchers ($995) and add the comprehensive 202A package ($5605), which includes:

• Leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats with 10-way power-adjustable, heated and cooled front buckets (the third-row seats are vinyl)
• 8.0-inch Sync 3 touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot
• Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
• Passive entry and remote start

This setup totals $59,585 (all-wheel drive adds $3010). Still, the Expedition is defined by its purpose. It sinks as a quasi­–luxury liner and swims as a straight-up family hauler.