2018 Ford Expedition – The new King of the Hill
2018 Ford Expedition is the Megatron of the SUVs
2018 Ford Expedition has just started to unload from the ships and before they could reach the showroom floor, Ford Middle East invited us for the media drive experience with the hashtag #UltimateExpedition drive. Usually, under the category of SUV, the expectations changes. You don’t consider Kia Sportage or Renault Koleos sold as SUV are any real SUV. And this sprouts an argument – what really is an SUV? So by today’s market standards, anything car or wagon with raised height, at least AWD system for slippery roads. I guess these are just the elementary requirements. Yes, there are still black holes in the argument itself as there is no proper subdivision in the SUV domain. So if anything which meets the aforementioned requirement fulfills the criteria of being an SUV. Again it’s only conforming to today’s marketing strategies and so it is stretch to the limit where the bandwidth is bigger than the internet superhighway.
However, there are many things that are going in favor of the newly 2018 Ford Expedition. First I had an opportunity of driving the 2015 Ford Expedition which also happened to have the first gen of 3.5l-V6 Ecoboost engine, and clearly, I remember the gleeful moments. Other factor includes that all Expeditions are essentially every American’s workhorse the Ford F-150 pickup! So if anyone is unaware of the fact that the current gen F-150 which is the actually the 13th generation came out in 2015 was a revolutionary pickup in many senses. It was a groundbreaking pickup to have all aluminum sheet metal instead of high-strength steel which allowed the pickup to shed off nearly 750lbs. Following the suite, the 2018 Ford Expedition also having the same lightweight aluminum body. Considering the barebones and the legacy of Ford-150, I was pretty much sure where it’s going the lead.
To give you a fair idea about our #UltimateExpedition drive experience the usual drive time from our assembly point – the Desert Palm Resort and Hotel, Dubai, it takes just an hour or so to reach the destination point – Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah covering 84km. However, the route which was selected leads us to the exotic and never seen before scenery to almost no man’s land. We’ve arrived at our same destination in 3 hours and 45 minutes as shown on the map as I secretly dropped the breadcrumbs all over the route. Yes, there were few breaks of 10 – 15 minutes breaks perhaps totaling about 45 minutes top.
Talk about the Hardware
This all-new fourth gen 2018 Ford Expedition was subjected to the toughest terrains and conditions, which I would put in fairness: had it been my own car, I would never opt to go on the same route. The idea was to use every function Expedition has to offer in today’s highly demanding day and age: from technology to hardware, and the combination of both.
However, before I go further, let me share some vital details with you. The 2018 Ford Expedition is equipped with second-generation 3.5l -V6 twin-turbo (Ecoboost) which is same as the Ford GT supercar the engine is tuned to produce a remarkable 375 hp @ 5000 rpm and 637 Nm torque @ 3500 in all trim levels expect if you desire for the Platinum trim level Ford gifts you an additional 15 more hp for a total of 400hp and 650 Nm @ 3250 that best in class.
As a comparison, Toyota Land Cruiser 5.7l -V8 bests at 362hp 529 Nm. The country cousin Nissan Patrol 5.6l-V8 tops at 400hp and 560Nm. Lastly followed by its US counterpart Chevrolet Tahoe with, 5.3l-V8 making out a 355hp and 518Nm of torque (except the limited run edition Tahoe RST equipped with a 420hp and just a shy above 460 nm of torque). Again unlike any other competitor in this group. All Expeditions comes with standard, in fact, an industry first, the 10-speed select-shift automatic transmission except for the special edition Tahoe RST as both GM and Ford co-developed this transmission.
In continuation with above 2018 Ford Expedition comes with standard Independent suspension at all four corners ensuring car-like ride and handling and the Platinum is further blessed with CCD Continous Control Damping which adapts to the road conditions within milliseconds and enhances the driving dynamics with three driver-selectable driving modes: comfort, normal and sport. Ford Expedition is the only vehicle which has most 9,300 lbs towing capacity, the best in this large SUV segment making it the most capable Expedition ever.
Now the Driving Experience
In the coziest of setting at the Desert Palm Resort and Hotel we were having a luxury breakfast overlooking the lush polo fields where the finest Arabian thoroughbred horses were grass grazing in the soft sunlight with temperatures around 25ish Celcius, my mind was was still locked with the expectation from the SUV and our journey as disclosed in the email would last no more than 75 minutes max, maybe perhaps after reaching Ras Al Kahima we’ll embark on another journey to test drive the Expedition. However, my thoughts were broken by Fraser Martin – a person who has actually carved out the routes in the Middle East, that even Google map would not show. He’s the captain and would be piloting us. During his pre-drive briefing, we were only told that there will be a lot of driving and a lot of driving to an extent that before leaving the assembly point, he was warned to us to flush out our bowels as there will be no proper facility otherwise nature is all open. This sparked my eyes, yet I wasn’t sure what route he has carved out, however, I know it would be exciting.
Fueled by higher expectations he piloted us took the detour and soon we were out of the city limits with roads stretching out to miles and the traffic was scarce. An opportunity was thrown to open the engine taps and see how 10-speed tranny reacts. Without any trace of turbo lag or 10-speed itself getting confused about finding the right cog, Expedition smoothly moved forward and without any hint, the big SUV was gracefully in the top three digits. The acceleration was linear as it would be in a 6.2l-V8. Thanks to the low-end torque, the speed needle continues the climb-up be it any gear your coasting at any speed. That’s the sign of pure confidence, a handshake between man and the machine. Should you like to cross lorries on a highway speed? The task can be accomplished without breaking a sweat!
Soon the childhood fun came to end and got serious as we started to tread off-road. The Expedition is well equipped with its 4WD armor. It comes standard with a 2H and 4A along with 4L. In addition to that, turning the rotary the dial of the SUV’s brilliant Terrain Management System, you can dial-in the sand mode – switches the vehicle’s characteristic accordingly. Admittedly it wasn’t a UTV style dune bashing and the dunes were not that bigger as well. The reason is Expedition is not a Raptor, Expedition front valance is low, still, the SUV went without any hassle, as basically, Raptor is also the variant of the same donor F-150 platform.
Yet the best part of the is all of the 4WD and the other pre-defined modes can be selected on-the-fly via Terrain Management System. I don’t have to stop the car and then wait for the system to prepare the chassis. It’s just instantly ready. Our journey continued into the bone-dry wadis and tire damaging terrains. The going gets tougher as we approached the gradient gravels and cut rocks turning them into slippery hills. Fear not as with a touch of button hill descend control is engaged and voila the section is dauntlessly conquered!
Fresh out of the oven, Expedition is laden with most modern technologies which make the journey pleasurable. The cabin space is huge and will accommodate 8 occupants in a similar comfort. At no given point any occupant can come up with the argument of choosing the best seat. as even the third row can adequately accommodate 3 large passengers that to the independent suspension setup the floor level is low and the knees don’t come to chin.. the middle row seating is smart. you can tilt and slide fore n’ aft every seat individually. Accessing the rear third row also possibly with a push of a button conveniently located next to the door opening inside the cabin. Likewise, there are no shortage cup holders you can find as many as fifteen, yes, I repeat 15.!
Coming back to the driving seat, the Expedition is ergonomically designed. with 8-inch bright and clear touchscreen now incorporating the most advanced Ford’s Sync 3 system which is fast and intuitive and comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Once can access the most functions from the smart steering wheel without out taking eyes off the road.
Even though the beltline of the car is high, however once inside the cabin, the driver enjoys the true commanding position or the real SUV position. The steering is light and provides a stress-free driving. Once you start driving you’ll forget how large is the car and it is quite easy to maneuver even in the tight spots and in mall parking area. The Expedition is facilitated with the 360-degree which provides all-an around view.
The 2018 Ford Expedition is made smart in every possible way. there’s cool 360 degrees camera which gives an all-around view. Now get this: you can have your Expedition with an available Wi-Fi hotspot which supports as many as 10 devices at once and the range is up to 50 feet from the vehicle. This means once you’re out in the wilderness you can stay in your camp and enjoy the Wifi direct from the car! Also, an available dual-headrest rear seat entertainment system provides a next-generation video experience that allows passengers to watch live TV via SlingPlayer on either of two video screens. The system represents the first time SlingPlayer – which connects to a user’s home Slingbox™ account – is offered in an automobile.
Four 12-volt power points, two USB ports in every row and then two smart-charging USB ports upfront along with the mobile wireless charging pad compatible with any size of the mobile Slide the console cover over it and its gone hidden as well. The center console bin that is large enough to store most laptop computers as well!!
The rear cargo liftgate can be split open. You can open the whole big liftgate even via key fob or just for the convenience, the glass window can be opened to chuck small staff in the back. There’s ample space of 19 cubic feet if the third-row seating is utilized otherwise once its down you can easily shift your whole apartment.
The all-new 2018 Ford Expedition comes with quite a kit that you would ever need in this day and age. Its loaded with all the bells and whistles that can make your journey super comfortable. From 12-speaker B&O PLAY premium audio system to LED headlights, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go to the countless safety features like lane assist, trailer sway control, and class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Blind Spot Information System) are all there and smartly packaged. And now here’s ticker – almost all other SUV available today are nearing their production cycle, If not generation then there’s dire need to update them to make them fresh and this means they would still at least two years to drop bring their products to the showroom floor, till then Ford Expedition is the only full-size real sport utility vehicle and the King of the Hill.
|2018 Ford Expedition||XLT||Limited||Platinum|
|Price Including VAT||220,395||204,645||293,895|
|Package Deal||Free Service||3 years / 60,000||Warranty 5 years / 100,000|