The 2018 Ford Expedition is new for the first time in ten years. The redesigned Expedition has a new aluminum body that makes it lighter and more fuel efficient, along with a new engine and a smarter transmission. Inside, the Expedition has a huge amount of room, with all of the modern amenities and styling touches required of a vehicle at this price point. In all, the new Expedition isn't just better than the SUV it replaces, it's the new benchmark for full-size SUVs in general.

Best Value

There is a large price discrepancy between the three Expedition trims, but the best value for an Expedition is the mid-grade Limited trim with standard leather seats. The Expedition is perfect for towing big loads on long-haul road trips, so we'd want to maximize this strength. We'll skip the long-wheelbase Expedition Max configurations, as the smaller version of the Expedition is still pretty big, with plenty of room in the third row for adults.

As for options and packages, we'd be sure to select the 301A Equipment Package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and driver assistance features to help on long highway drives. We'd also go for the Heavy Duty Tow Package to bump the tow rating up to 9,200 pounds (if you need best-in-class towing, go with the two-wheel-drive Expedition, for its 9,300-pound rating) and adds Ford's awesome Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes reversing a trailer as easy as twisting a knob. Finally, we'd spring for the leather-trimmed second row bucket seats for maximum passenger comfort.

Here are the details for our Expedition:

  • Model: 2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4x4
  • Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
  • Output: 400 hp/ 480 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Ten-speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options: Four-wheel drive ($3,125), 301A Equipment Group ($3,030, panoramic sunroof, navigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist), Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package ($1,570, upgraded radiator, 3.73 electronic limited slip differential, trailer brake controller, Pro Trailer Backup Assist), Second Row Bucket Seats ($740)
  • Base Price:$63,870 (including $1,195 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$71,245

Performance

Ford Expedition

The new Expedition gets a single engine choice, but it's a good one: a 3.5-liter V6 with a couple of turbos that produces 400 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, mated to a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. Both are borrowed from the F-150 pickup truck and are enough to make the big Expedition move pretty quick for a vehicle its size, and able to tow a payload of up to 9,300 pounds when properly equipped.

Two wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is optional. While it can't match true off-road heroes like the Land Rover Discovery or Toyota Land Cruiser, an Expedition equipped with the FX4 Package should be able to handle more than it's owners will ever throw its way.

The Expedition, like the rival Chevrolet Tahoe, is one of the few SUVs on the road that are built with a body-on-frame design, like a pickup truck. This allows the Expedition to blend the best qualities of trucks and cars into a large body, and it does this well. Supporting the Expedition is an independent suspension that allows for a smooth ride, but don't expect it to handle like a sports car in the corners.

Still, the Expedition drives smaller than it really is. Light, direct steering makes it easy to place on the road, although that praise is relative. This is still a huge vehicle – it just doesn't remind you of it every time you turn the wheel.

Style

The new Expedition really hits a home run in the style department. It looks strong and powerful in an old school way, but the softer edges and new grill help the SUV feel at home with the rest of the Ford line up. The dashboard and interior is very similar to that of the F-150 pickup truck, so the driver gets the feeling that they're behind the wheel of a blue-collar vehicle that's meant to work. This could be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on who is looking at it. Regardless, higher trims still have a choice of nice materials and the build quality feels befitting of something this expensive with wood trim and leather upholstery.

The real selling point of the Expedition is the sheer amount of room in the vehicle. The Expedition has up to 121 cubic feet of space with all of the seats put down, and there are endless places to put necessary supplies for road trips like snacks, drinks and devices. It also allows for very comfortable seating. The front seats are big and heavily cushioned, perfect for long hauls, while even the third row can hold adults comfortably. This is perfect for big families that understand the need for physical separation of children when driving long distances.

The Best and Worst Things

The Expedition's size and comfort is hard to beat. There's space for eight at a maximum, which may sound unnecessary for most people's needs, but it also means that six adults can get places without any personal space violations. It also has a class-beating 9,300-pound tow rating.

The biggest Achilles Heel has to be the interior design. The Expedition looks utilitarian in many ways, which can be hard to justify when bonafide luxury SUVs like the Land Rover Discovery are roughly the same price, are nearly as comfortable, and can tow almost as much.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Expedition

The Expedition is perfect for large families who like to road trip. You can put your kids a mile apart from one another, and it's so comfortable, you won't have to make frequent stops to stretch your legs. Only your bladder and the gas tank will force you to pull off of the highway.

On the other hand, if you don't have kids but want to haul things, you'd be better off with a traditional pickup truck. A bed adds quite a bit of practicality that might see more regular use than a third row of seats.

The Bottom Line

The Expedition is comfortable and can manage people as effortlessly as it can handle a trailer. A non-trivial group of people need what the Expedition delivers. Those needs are very specific, but few other vehicles can match with it. While it may not be as nice as some similarly priced luxury SUVs, the Expedition is a great choice for a large American vehicle, and buyers in that market should seriously consider it.