Like the F-150 it’s based on, the 2018 Expedition has an aluminum body to shed weight while adding room for people and gear
We’ve been waiting for the aluminum-bodied 2018 Ford Expedition as the automaker expands its weight-saving strategies from pickups to the SUVs that share their underpinnings.
The result is an eight-passenger SUV that rides on a new frame; extends the wheelbase by 3 inches, overall length by an inch, and width by an inch; threw in a lot more tech; and still came up as much as 300 pounds lighter.
Ford was to reveal the SUV at an event in Dallas, and it will be on display later this week at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Expedition made its debut for the 1997 model year, and although it has had upgrades, this is basically the second generation of the full-size SUV that competes with the Chevrolet Suburban, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, and future Jeep Wagoneer.
Ford says it has added 40 features and driver-assist technologies for the 2018 model year. The automaker didn’t have to shut down the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville to retool the body shop for the shift from a steel body to aluminum, which is good because utility vehicles of all shapes and sizes are still hot right now
In fact, 44 percent of the today’s auto industry is SUVs. That’s up from 33 percent in 2009, with millennials and baby boomers driving the shift from cars to utilities, said Michael O’Brien, Ford SUV group marketing manager. Globally, SUVs have grown 80 percent in the past five years, up to 1.7 million in 2016. Within that, the full-size SUV segment grew 22 percent in 2016.
The new Expedition goes on sale in the fall and will be offered in XLT, Limited, and Platinum trim levels for regular customers and an XL for fleets. There is also the extended Expedition Max, which is about 8 inches longer.
The 2018 model carries over the 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine with auto stop-start, but it has been tweaked to squeeze out more power and is mated to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission operated via a rotary knob.