First Look: Up-Close with Ford’s New 2018 Expedition Full-Size SUV

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Ford Prepares Two New Offerings For The SUV Arena For 2018, including the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition full-size SUV

EDITOR’S NOTE: We now reviewed the all-new 2018 Expedition – check out our full review here.

The Ford Motor Company seemingly dominates the SUV market in Canada, and there position will only get stronger with the introduction of two new models for 2018.

At the top of the pecking order resides the company’s largest offering, the Expedition, which is getting its first complete overhaul since its introduction 20 years ago. At the other end of the spectrum is a new player for the Canadian market, the EcoSport, a subcompact SUV that has been making a name for itself for over a decade in other world markets.

Drive impressions will have to wait, as the two examples Ford representatives had on hand were early prototypes, but I did have the opportunity to crawl around the cabins and explore the various nooks and crannies of both vehicles.   

2018 Ford Expedition Overview

The Expedition, Ford’s largest SUV offering, has been serving family hauling duty for two decades strong, but the gargantuan body-on-frame vehicle has been in need of a major redo for a number of years.  Times have changed, as have consumer expectations, but it looks like Ford’s design and product planning teams have outfitted the all-new Expedition with enough equipment and styling and ergonomic tweaks to satiate the model’s loyal customer base.

Updated Exterior Styling

While exterior styling had been tastefully updated and modernized, the look is familiar, albeit the vehicle’s dimensions are slightly larger. In fact, the Expedition’s wheelbase has been stretched a full  four inches and it is also an inch wider overall. However, by using aluminum and high-strength steel  (much like the venerable F-150 pickup with which it shares a platform), Ford engineers have managed to cleave off more than 300 pounds (136 kg) from the Expedition’s overall weight, which translates into enhanced efficiency and better handling.

2018 Ford Expedition Interior

Extra-large SUVs like the Ford Expedition feature body-on-frame designs so that they will have the strength to carry large loads of people and cargo as well as handle towing duty when required, and the latest example has seating for up to eight passengers and their gear.

Ford is marketing the all-new Expedition as the first full-size utility to feature a sliding second-row seat with tip-and-slide functionality. A quick demonstration of this feature proved that it provides easy access to the third row without the need to first remove a child safety seat. This little consideration will go a long way to facilitating passenger loading for families dealing with accommodating the needs of small children.

Once inside the cabin it is evident that this vehicle is adult friendly from stem to stern, meaning that there is plenty of head-, hip-, and headroom in all seating positions, as well as the added bonus of reclining seat backs. 

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Cargo Abilities

For those occasions when hauling cargo rather than people is the order of the day, Expedition’s second- and third-row seats can be quickly folded flat with the simple  push of a button revealing a cargo area large enough for most furniture and wide enough to handle 4×8-foot sheets of plywood. That’s an impressive feat, but the tall cabin also leave plenty of airspace to fill with bulky items.

Performance and Power

For those family trips to the cottage or ski hill the Expedition will prove a dependable shuttle as it is equipped  with an all-new Terrain Management System that lets the driver choose from several dedicated drive modes-Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, Eco, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut – to optimize vehicle handling to best suit road and weather conditions.  There is also an electronic limited-slip differential available which will allow the driver to quickly adapt to changing conditions when driving either on- or off-road.

375-hp, 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine

Behind the wide swath of chrome that serves as a grill on this extra-large hauler you will find Ford’s proven 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine fitted with the company’s all-new 10-speed automatic transmission also found in the new 2017 F-150.   This combination will produce 375-horsepower and 470-lb.-ft of torque in all trims except Platinum, the latter which will get a boost to 400-hp and 480 lb.-ft. These figures make the 2018 Expedition  the most powerful model ever, but also expected to deliver improved fuel economy (partially due to Auto Start-Stop technology which is now standard). 

The all-new Expedition is also expected to offer consumers best-in-class towing but actual ratings have yet to be released.  The good news however,  is that the vehicle offers Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes backing up a trailer a far less stressful operation, and 360-degree camera views will help boost driver confidence in this area as well as during regular parking manoeuvres.

2018 Expedition Price and Trims levels

When the all-new Expedition arrives this fall it will be available in three trims – XLT ($59,999), Limited ($72,999), and Platinum ($80,999), and a slightly longer Expedition MAX model will also be available should you require more cargo room. A special FX4 Off-Road Package can also be ordered on the XLT models.

Specs and New Connectivity

The Ford design brief sought to create the smartest, safest, and most capable and versatile Expedition ever; a vehicle that would provide more space, connectivity and smart new technology to meet the needs of the modern family.  As a result there are more than 40 new features and driver-assist technologies debuting on this model, including advanced safety features such as active lane control, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitors, a surround view camera system, and the aforementioned trailer assist system.

Comfort and accessory highlights include an advanced cargo management system, available dual head-rest entertainment system, wireless charging,  Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, a wide array of charging ports (six USB  / four 12-volt / one  110-volt household-style power plug), and  Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system which can be enhanced with a 12-speaker, high-performance audio system engineered by Bang & Olufsen.

Other available niceties include SYNC Connect, which lets owners connect with the vehicle remotely using FordPass, and an oversized Panoramic Vista Roof.

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2018 Ford Expedition Release Date

The 2018 Expedition you see here is a pre-production model not yet for sale. Expect the new Expedition to arrive at dealerships late 2017, along with official pricing. We’ll share more as soon as we receive info.


Although the EcoSport and Expedition have been designed for very different clientele, I suspect that both of these vehicles will prove popular in the SUV-friendly North American market and help the Ford Motor Company continue to grow a vehicle segment that they are largely responsible for creating in the first place.

Learn more – 2018 Ford Expedition

2018 Expedition Photos:

Russell Purcell
Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.