2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4x4 Platinum Review

Ford's big boy is now the cream of the large SUV crop


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Remarkably easy to drive for its size, EcoBoost engine is powerful, as spacious as the great outdoors, great infotainment tech, cushy digs and ride, can tow a whopping 9,000 lbs.
Negatives: A lot of size to navigate in parking lots, faux wood looks and feels plasticky, pricey even in base trim.
Bottom Line: The Expedition in Platinum trim is an opulent and capable body-on-frame SUV that's remarkably good to drive given its size. This behemoth has nearly all the creature comforts you could want and space galore. There's not much else this size that's this good.
The Ford Expedition is now in its fifth generation, and with the latest edition, they've really upped their game. Not only does it look far more sophisticated, it's also loaded to the teeth with just about every vehicular amenity you and your family would need. Sharing the platform with the pricier Lincoln Navigator, the Expedition and Expedition Max are Ford's biggest SUVs (the Excursion died back in 2005). They represent a segment that's very popular and one that Ford needed to get back after letting their 11-year old Expedition languish in mediocrity. We drove the brand new one in top Platinum trim for a week. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

9

 

The Expedition is surprisingly easy to drive for something that's this big. We were amazed at how well it drove in commuting traffic and around town.

Ride Quality: Big and cushy but not disconnected. It floated over bumps but still managed to provide some idea of road surfaces. It's truly comfortable.

Acceleration: The 400 horses in the Platinum trim's EcoBoost V6 are potent enough to move this beast to 60 mph in 6 seconds. That's pretty fast. The engine sounds great, too.

Braking: The brake pedal feels a little mushy, and stopping distances are about average for the segment.

Steering: The steering is remarkably sharp for a big body-on-frame SUV. It's more enjoyable to drive than smaller SUVs.

Handling: The lateral Gs are impressive, and the Expedition corners remarkably well for something this tall and heavy.

Technology

9.2

 

Technology in the Expedition is truly marvelous, from the infotainment system to the highly detailed gauge cluster. Everything's also very easy to operate, a boon for parents of large families.

Infotainment System: It's hard to believe the original SYNC system was so bad because SYNC3 is fantastic to look at and to use. Its responsiveness is lightning fast, and the visuals are crisp and easy.

Controls: All the physical controls in the Expedition are great. Big knobs for audio and climate are easy to grip without looking, and even the novel rotary shift knob is fast and easy.

Styling

8.8

 

Though the Expedition isn't nearly as noticeable as its more dramatic brother, the Lincoln Navigator, it's still a very handsome SUV that's more sophisticated than its predecessor. It looks good from pretty much every angle.

Front: We're surprised that there's virtually no chrome on the front end, a rarity. The wide grille and square fascia are attrative and nod to the Expedition's body-on-frame construction.

Rear: The size of the back is visually reduced by the tinted glass and the blackened D-pillars. It's a good look that's crisp and understated.

Profile: Though the boxy shape is toned down by the angled rear side glass and C-pillars, the profile is a bit less adventurous than the front and rear. It could probably use some chrome since there's virtually none.

Cabin: We're usually not big fans of Ford interiors, but the Expedition Platinum is very nice. The rich grey leather seats look nice. We could've done without the plasticky wood trim.

Comfort

9.7

 

This is where the Expedition knocks it out of the park. Every seat in the SUV is roomy and comfortable. Our tester didn't have the 2nd row captain's chairs, so it can pack 8 occupants in comfort.

Front Seats: They're big and supportive with soft leather and ample cushioning. Very comfortable for longer trips, which the Expedition will no doubt see with its owners.

Rear Seats: There's ample legroom and headroom for all three occupants, and 6-footers will have no problem with ingress and egress, as well as long durations of sitting. The third row is roomy, as well.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Expedition is whisper quiet. No intrusive noises, and not squeaks or rattles were noticed during our week-long drive.

Visibility: Big glass all around helps the visibility. The front end, however, is tall, so placement is good but not ideal.

Safety

8.5

 

Though the new Expedition hasn't been tested by the IIHS, it does very well with government crash tests.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: It earns five stars in crash testing from the feds, the same as its predecssor.

Standard Tech: Platinum trim comes stocked with a Blind Spot Information System, Class Trailer Tow Package, Hill Start Assist, rear view camera, Reverse Sensing System, SelectShift, an individual tire pressure monitoring system, and an SOS Post Crash Alert System that automatically contacts emergency services in case of an accident where the airbags deploy.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with Enhanced Active Park Assist.

Storage/Cargo

9.5

 

The Expedition is bigger than the Chevy Suburban when it comes to interior cargo capacity. There's enough room to cram in tons of luggage, even with the second row in place.

Storage Space: There's a plethora of cabin storage options in the Explorer including a long and deep armrest, a large center console cubby with a retractable door, big door pockets, and even a deep tray in the dash.

Cargo Room: There's a sizeable 20.9 cubic feet behind the last row and a huge 104.6 cubic feet with the 2nd and 3rd rows folded flat. The load floor is flat and wide, making it ideal for maximizing storage.

Fuel Economy

6.8

 

The EcoBoost V6 is supposed to be more efficient than thirstier V8s, but the difference seems to be marginal for the Expedition. It is a great engine with ample punch, but it's down two cylinders and delivers smaller gains than we'd hoped.

Observed: 17.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 400 miles

Driving Factors: We drove it in Sport mode, so our efficiency was compromised in the name of performance. That being said, we had hoped to see better efficiency from the Expedition.

Audio

9

 

The excellent Bang & Olufsen premium system shines, and it happens to come standard. The sound filled the big cabin with rich sound and plenty of bass without distortion. It's a great sound system that also looks good.



Final Thoughts

We loved our time in the Expedition and came away seriously impressed by its practicality, comfort, tech, and driving chops. It's probably the last part that surprised us the most. For something that's roughly the size of two compact cars end-to-end, the Expedition drives better than some crossovers that are much smaller. The roominess is ideal for big families, and the fact that it has just about every feature you could want means it's an attractive buy. Just make sure you realize that it's pretty pricey but still a value for the money.
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