On Tuesday, GearBoxTV attended a secret reveal by Joe Hinrichs Ford President of the America at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The Star Center is the 91 acre world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys encompassing athletics, shopping and lodging. Ford Center at The Star is a state-of- the-art, 510,000 square foot indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD. Our host was Dallas Cowboys COO, and Executive Vice-President Stephen Jones.
As we arrived the excitement built as Ford executives, engineers, media, and dealers gathered for the big reveal. Everyone was kept wondering what we were gathered to see, until “Expedition” lit up on two giant screens.
The current iteration of the Expedition has been on sale since 2007, which is a lifetime in the highly competitive and profitable full-size SUV segment. Chevrolet has completely redesigned the Suburban in 2007, and again in 2015. And to be honest, compared to Chevy’s latest redesign the current Expedition is looking quite plain and dated.
Full size SUV’s are indispensable for those of us like the Riley’s with bag families. We’ve got tons of people and stuff to haul around, and many of us frequently tow as well. Mama wants the kids quiet and content, Dad wants to hook up the camper, and get reasonable fuel economy. Grandma want’s room to stretch out, and the kids want to be able Instagram, tweet, Steam, and stream.
Not only is the 2018 Excursion now a stylish family hauler, but Ford has worked hard to accommodate the needs of the entire family. Full size SUV’s aren’t cheap, and who wants to buy something new that looks ten years old? Now don’t get me wrong. We’ve recently driven a new ’17 model, and it is an impressive vehicle by virtually any measure, except styling.
- Wireless charging; Expedition is Ford’s first vehicle to feature this system, which allows customers to place compatible mobile devices on an integrated charging pad conveniently located in the front center console
- Wi-Fi hotspot supports as many as 10 devices at once, up to 50 feet away from the vehicle
- Dual-Headrest Rear Seat Entertainment System provides a next-generation video experience that allows passengers to view their home cable programming on either of two video screens or hand-held devices
- SYNC® 3, with both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ capability, allows drivers to stay connected on the move
- SYNC Connect lets owners connect with the vehicle remotely using FordPass® to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle from anywhere, while also allowing access to important vehicle diagnostic information
- Power for passengers in every row, with four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers and a 110-volt power outlet that lets passengers stay charged and connected
- Available 12-speaker B&O PLAY premium audio system perfected by acoustic engineers for a sound experience even audiophiles will appreciate
- Advanced cargo manager with an adjustable shelf behind the third row lets owners create a storage space customized to whatever they’re hauling; even when parked on a hill, cargo won’t roll out the back of Expedition when the liftgate is opened
- Available Panoramic Vista Roof spans two rows, a feature not offered by any competitor Whew, that’s a mouthful!
We’ve covered Mom, Grandma, and the kids but what about dear old Dad? The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine continues in the latest iteration now mated with a new ten-speed automatic (I suddenly feel transmission-envy as my trusty Ram only has an eight-speed) and a claimed power bump. Ford isn’t releasing towing capacity number yet, but if it is truly to be best in class, as claimed, it will need to beat the Suburban’s 6,600 lbs.
Fuel economy numbers haven’t been released yet either, but Ford promises improvements there as well. The current Expedition isn’t exactly a fuel sipper at 18/21 mpg, but that’s the price of all that comfort and luxury. I only did slightly better on my trip up in Mama’s ’13 Durango. Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist is an option, as is Ford’s new off-road Terrain Management System. Following industry trends for full-size trucks and SUV’s, the Expedition is bigger and the cargo bay can swallow a 4X8 sheet of plywood.
As part of the reveal Ford treated us to a VR tour of the interior. Truth be told so dazzled was I by the technology I failed to jot down some pertinent facts. I believe I heard the earnest young man from Ford say the new Expedition will have 16 cup holders. If so I calculate a whopping big-gulp capacity of 512 ounces which handily beat’s Mama’s Durango’s puny capacity of a mere 192 ounces! Dad’s won’t be able to say any more, “you got to wait until I need gas” as that might be a while.
The Expedition will be available in XLT, Limited, and Platinum, as well as a plain-Jane XL fleet version. If that XL has rubber floor mats instead of carpet, count me in cause I can just hose that puppy out. The two models we was were most assuredly prototypes, but the real deal will be available sometime in the Fall, and will be produced in Ford’s plant in By-God- Louisville, KY.
As soon as we can pry an ’18 Expedition away from Ford, we’ll get busy towing, dragging, and generally hauling around all seven stinky Riley butts’ and gear, and let you know what we all think. I’ve said for years that light-infantry brigade travels with less stuff than our clan. After countless miles, and vacations in three mini-vans, two Suburban’s, and a Durango we all got pretty strong opinions on the subject.