Automotive

Ford makes the next family Expedition smarter and lighter

Ford makes the next family Exp...
The new Ford Expedition has been on a crash diet
The new Ford Expedition has been on a crash diet
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The new Ford Expedition has been on a crash diet
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The new Ford Expedition has been on a crash diet
There's room for eight in the Expedition
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There's room for eight in the Expedition
Ford says the Expedition should be a more capable tow car
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Ford says the Expedition should be a more capable tow car
The ten-speed auto in the Expedition should help it when towing heavy loads
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The ten-speed auto in the Expedition should help it when towing heavy loads
The Expedition isn't what you'd call handsome
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The Expedition isn't what you'd call handsome
Behind the wheel of the new Ford Expedition
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Behind the wheel of the new Ford Expedition
The cabin of the Expedition is a more luxurious place than before
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The cabin of the Expedition is a more luxurious place than before
The four-wheel drive system on the Expedition can be controlled using a rotary dial
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The four-wheel drive system on the Expedition can be controlled using a rotary dial
Wireless charging is an option on the Expedition
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Wireless charging is an option on the Expedition
The second row in the Expedition slides around
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The second row in the Expedition slides around
A cargo organizer is optional on the Ford Expedition
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A cargo organizer is optional on the Ford Expedition
The new Expedition shares powertrain components with the F-150
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The new Expedition shares powertrain components with the F-150
A panoramic sunroof is optional on the Expedition
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A panoramic sunroof is optional on the Expedition
Third-row passengers on the Expedition should have more legroom than before
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Third-row passengers on the Expedition should have more legroom than before
The Expedition is a practical load hauler with the seats folded
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The Expedition is a practical load hauler with the seats folded
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They might have a reputation for being thirsty old dinosaurs, but big family four-wheel drives are getting smarter with every generation. The new Ford Expedition has grown in every direction, but an aluminum-intensive body and smarter powertrain options mean it uses less fuel, tows more weight and handles better than before.

Although it shares an EcoBoost badge with the current car, the new Expedition drops the old twin-turbo V6 for the smarter second-generation EcoBoost V6 found in F-Series trucks. It makes 375 hp (280 kW) and 637 Nm (470 lb.ft) of torque in that application, but given the different roles of the two cars, you can expect those figures to change slightly when Ford unveils the full spec. The new engine is hooked up to a 10-speed automatic gearbox, which is more capable with a load on the back thanks to short bottom ratios, but more efficient on the highway thanks to its three overdrive gears.

Efficiency benefits aside, the new powertrain should also be more capable off-road when it's hooked up to the optional electronic limited-slip differential and smart four-wheel drive system. Drivers are able to choose the type of terrain they're on using a console-mounted rotary controller, and the car will automatically set itself up to tackle it, shuffling power to where it's most needed in just a fraction of a second. According to Ford, more than half of all Expedition owners value towing, and 15 percent tow weekly or monthly, so adding the new Pro Trailer Backup Assist system was also a logical step. Then again if you're towing that often, maybe it's worth learning how to reverse a trailer?

There's room for eight in the Expedition
There's room for eight in the Expedition

The electronic trickery extends well beyond a trailer-assist system, because Ford has fitted the Expedition with its full range of active driver aids. Along with the requisite surround-view camera, there's a new active park assistant, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control for effortless highway cruising. When the driver is in control, they'll enjoy the blind spot monitoring and pedestrian detection systems.

They should also enjoy a sharper drive, thanks to weight savings of up to 300 lb (136 kg). High-strength steel and aluminum have been used extensively throughout the body structure, which should make for a stiffer structure as well – something that benefits ride quality, handling and crash safety.

Inside, the Expedition has been fitted with Ford's full bag of tricks, with wireless charging and a 10-device Wi-Fi hotspot joining the standard SYNC 3 touchscreen in the cabin. All three rows of seating are treated to power outlets, and a dual-screen entertainment system should help keep restless kids quiet on long road trips. Failing that, you could drown them out with the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.

With a car like this, interior flexibility is paramount, and Ford has gone all-out to make sure there's room for the whole family and their luggage, regardless of how many of the eight seats are filled. The second row of seats slides, helping to free up legroom for the unlucky third-row occupants, while folding all the rear seats leaves room for a 4x8 plywood sheet.

Ford has yet to reveal pricing details for the new Expedition, but the car will make its debut in Q3 of 2017. When it arrives, it will be built at the Kentucky Truck Plant. You can check out the car in the video below.

Source: Ford

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3 comments
guzmanchinky
We have an 04 Expedition. It has been, without exception, the most robust and reliable vehicle I have ever owned. It still runs and tows perfectly, and I will replace it in 4 years.
MartinVoelker
Wonder how much less bad the fuel economy is on this improved version. Vehicles in this class were exempted from having their fuel economy listed, so all we have to go on are owner reports via Fuelly which estimates average mpg having gone from around 12 in 2000 to ~14.6 in 2016.
Calson
What made the Expedition a pain to drive and even worse for towing was its coil spring suspension that made for a lot of play and one never feeling that much in control of the vehicle. I bought Chevy Tahoe's instead.
With its 8 passenger seating in 3 rows the cargo capacity of this large SUV is less than that of a Subaru Outback. I doubt 100% of people wanting an SUV need to seat 8 people but they are not given a choice with today's 4WD passenger vans.
What I find remarkable is that my last SUV that was produced in 1998 averaged 16 MPG over 180,000 miles around town and on the highway and off the road and yet that is exactly the fuel economy one gets nearly two decades later. Hardly what one can call progress.