redesigned 2018 Ford Expedition isn't as posh as the Lincoln
Navigator, but it balances truck-based capability with
interior refinements better than full-size SUVs such as Chevy
Suburba, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
between the 2018 Ford Expedition and the best-of-year 2018 Lincoln
Navigator is the difference in having an extra $20,000.
the redesigned Expedition canít be called a poor manís
Navigator. The full-size SUV nicely balances its truck-based
capability with family-hauler refinement.
similarities, Expedition doesnít have the finest touches of the
Navigator, yet it outdoes the Chevy Suburban, the Nissan Armada and
all of Toyotaís aged behemoths.
Itís not as
intimidating on the road as the F-150 on which it is based, from the
broader fascia on the outside to the quiet cabin on the inside.
Navigator has a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V-6, the 2018 Expeditions
are powered by a 400-horsepower turbocharged V-6 engine with a
10-speed automatic transmission in all-wheel drive. It accelerates
with the quickness of a full-size SUV, though itís quieter than
some midsize SUVs weíve tested, even with the panoramic sunroof.
The 10-speed was smooth and smart, sometimes staying in the
efficient high gear while cruising on the highway or coasting into a
distant stop light. We averaged about 23 mpg at 62 mph, which is
exceptional for a full-size SUV. In addition, the powertrain churns
out 480 pound-feet of torque for what Ford calls best-in-class
towing capability of 9,200 pounds in AWD.
test the towing in our week with the 2018 Expedition in Limited
trim, but we tried out the pro-trailer backup assist during the 2018
Chicago Auto Show. It simplifies the counterintuitive backing up of
a trailer, where you have to turn the wheel left to get the trailer
to go right. You donít use the steering wheel at all; put it in
reverse, push a dial on the center stack, then follow the guidance
lines on the split screen backup camera. Turn the dial right and the
trailer will go to the right. Itís like a video game. Unlike the
steep learning curve of traditional backing up of a trailer, it can
be learned on the first attempt.
The tester in
second-best Limited trim came with other advanced technology, such
as the $3,030 driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control
and lane-keeping assist. Adaptive cruise worked well even down to a
stop, but there were times the lane keeping veered drunkenly from
one edge of the lane to the other. On straight roads it was good for
about 20 seconds at a time.
With all the
technological innovations and upgrades, the fourth-generation
Expedition should come with something better than Sync3. At the very
least, a screen larger than 8 inches to match the general largeness
of the vehicle. Itís like a GameBoy screen in an arcade. Sync3 isnít
all that bad once you get beyond the reliance on the small and
cramped touch screen. The voice commands are excellent, as is the
navigation, though we wish we couldíve figured out how to avoid
splitting the teeny tiny screen when there is an upcoming
directional change. Please, Ford, either make the screen bigger or
let us access more info through the steering wheel controls in the
expansive instrument cluster.
cockpit there are six seats for six people. Putting three adults in
the third row would be good only for a gag, but for the team or the
family, there is ample room, six USB ports and plenty of cup
comes with power folding 60/40 seats in the third row, and power
folding 40/20/40 seats in the second row for six different seating
configurations. We had three tweens in the midrow seats with enough
room to avoid any bickering. The same midrow seats slide and tilt
forward to accommodate child safety seats; the passage to the third
row is about as large as it gets. Make sure to get the tip-and-slide
seat to click in its most forward position, otherwise getting it
back in place might require some pulls, pushes, presses, grunts and
a curse or two to get it right. We should have just used the power
button until it went "click." That same power button is
easy to access and use from the third row.
Navigator outdoes Cadillac Escalade as most refined family hauler
Cargo area is
5 cubic feet more than the Escalade and most other GM full-sizers
except for the Chevy Suburban. Thereís plenty of space for the
team, unless youíre filling every seat and the gear.
Expedition Limited worth $20,000 less than Navigator, or about the
same amount more than the base trim? Itís a big chunk of change
for a big vehicle, and itís the best deal out there until GM
redesigns its massive fleet, expected for model year 2020.
Expedition Limited at a glance
$68,960 (excluding $1,195 destination)
Mpg: 17 city,
22 highway, 19 combined
3.5-liter turbo V-6
Navigator, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, Chevy Suburban, Cadillac
Escalade, Toyota Sequoia.