2018 Ford Expedition

2018 Ford Expedition Review

With massive passenger, cargo and towing capability, the 2018 Ford Expedition is aptly named.
7.7 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

More rugged than a typical three-row crossover, the 2018 Ford Expedition, a traditional truck-based SUV, is a top pick if you need a vehicle that can haul families, toys or both. It seats up to eight people, has a powerful turbocharged V6 engine and can tow more than 9,000 pounds.

Available in three trim levels, each with multiple options, the Expedition can be seasoned to taste and made as modern as any family sedan. Its expansive interior gets a welcome update this year with more modern-looking vents, dials and faceplates, addressing our earlier complaint about inferior trim elements in an otherwise sharp setting. The cabin matches the relative serenity of the Expedition's ride as well, which delivers a surprising amount of comfort and stability.

The Expedition's more powerful turbocharged V6 engine this year (375 horsepower, or 400 hp for the Platinum trim) also gives the SUV impressive gusto and makes it one of the quickest in the class. We tested an earlier Expedition — a four-wheel-drive, long-wheelbase model, no less — and clocked it from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds. And that was before this year's power increase. Fuel economy estimates haven't been released yet, but last year's Expedition returned between 16 and 18 mpg combined. The new 10-speed automatic transmission should help elevate both fuel economy and acceleration.

There aren't many traditional body-on-frame, full-size SUVs that compete with the Expedition. The Chevrolet Suburban and its GMC Yukon mechanical twin are the most obvious rivals. Both have lower towing capacity and less cargo space, but they can seat nine passengers.

The Toyota Sequoia is another strong candidate with similar fundamental capabilities, but we've found the Sequoia simply isn't as well-equipped or modern as the Ford and Chevy. The Nissan Armada is a dark horse, recently updated with a new V8 engine and an impressive suite of safety features.

In the end, if you need seven- or eight-passenger seating, a lot of towing capacity and a lot of room, the 2018 Ford Expedition is a great choice.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Ford Expedition gets important upgrades, including increased engine horsepower and torque, a new 10-speed automatic transmission, a redesigned instrument panel, and a handful of new stand-alone options and packages. The extended-length Expedition is now called the Max.

We recommend

Unless 22-inch rims or wood-grain interior trim are priorities, we recommend an Expedition XLT or Limited. An XLT with the optional 202A package offers nearly everything necessary for daily driving and long-haul comfort. Moving up to the Limited adds nice touches such as heated second-row seats and an upgraded sound system. The Platinum takes SUV motoring to lavish heights, but we think the XLT and Limited offer the best blend of features and cost.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Ford Expedition is available in three trim levels: XLT, Limited and Platinum. The XLT offers a balanced mix of comfort and utility, and plenty of available options, while Limited models introduce premium elements such as leather upholstery, driver safety aids and a Wi-Fi hotspot as standard equipment. The top-trim Platinum loads on the luxury with features including 22-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and a group of driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and a self-parking system.

An extended-wheelbase Expedition, which has a bigger cargo area, is called the Max. It's available for the XLT and Limited.

The XLT starts with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine (375 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of torque) paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Standard equipment includes seating for eight passengers, 18-inch alloy wheels, running boards, roof rack rails, rear parking sensors, push-button ignition, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, heated side mirrors, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat (with manual recline), power-adjustable pedals, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat, and a "one-touch" 60/40-split fold-flat third-row seat.

There's also a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Ford's Sync voice-control system, a 4.2-inch central display, second-row USB charging ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and a nine-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, USB interface, auxiliary jack and rear audio controls.

The XLT offers two optional packages: 201A and 202A. The 201A package adds first- and second-row leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with two-way power lumbar), and a power-folding third-row seat.

The 202A package builds on those items with a hands-free power liftgate, chrome running boards, keyless entry, remote engine start, power-folding mirrors (with a driver-side auto-dimming mirror), heated and ventilated front seats, driver-position memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient cabin lighting, the Sync 3 tech interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, Sync Connect (which includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless phone charging), a 110-volt household style outlet, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, roof rail crossbars, a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, a heavy-duty trailer tow package, and a suite of driver assistance features (adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, auto high beams and automatic wipers).

An FX4 4x4 Off-Road package adds trail-ready components such as all-terrain tires, off-road shocks, a 3.73 limited-slip rear axle and skid plates.

The Limited trim bundles the features from the 202A package and adds 20-inch wheels, front parking sensors, roof rack rails, retractable running boards, heated second-row seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a premium Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker audio system with HD radio.

Like the XLT, the Limited offers two optional packages, 301A and 302A. The former includes the panoramic sunroof, navigation and the driver assistance features listed above, while the latter tacks on 22-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, LED headlights and foglights, a 360-degree view parking camera, and an automated parking system.

Many of these features are available as stand-alone options, as are second-row leather captain's chairs (reduces seating capacity to seven) and a rear-seat entertainment system (with dual headrest-mounted displays). The new-for-2018 Special Edition package bundles the heavy-duty tow package, the self-parking system, and the LED headlights and foglights.

Finally, the Platinum trim builds on the Limited and 302A features with interior wood accents, enhanced front seats with massage function, upgraded leather for the steering wheel, leather door trim and active noise cancellation. Options mirror those of the Limited. Notably, the Platinum also offers increased horsepower (400 hp) and torque (480 lb-ft).



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full tests of the Ford Expedition and Expedition Max (turbo 3.5L V6 | 10-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.7 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking6.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort9.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out9.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess9.5 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

8.5 / 10

Small-item storage8.0 / 10
Cargo space9.0 / 10

Technology

8.5 / 10

Audio & navigation8.5 / 10
Smartphone integration9.0 / 10
Driver aids8.0 / 10

Driving7.5

Anything this large and that can tow this much can't really be this quick, can it? But that speed isn't matched by the brakes, which suffer from a soft pedal and low-grip tires. Overall handling capability is respectable.

Acceleration8.5

This full-size SUV has no right to be this fast, but it is. It's also fun to widen the eyes of passengers who aren't expecting this small building of a vehicle to cover 0-60 mph in just 6.9 seconds.

Braking6.0

Pedal travel is longer than we'd like, even under normal use. In full-panic braking, the brake pedal returns little reassurance that you'll stop. But consistency and stability are good. In our testing, the Expedition needed 133 feet to stop from 60 mph, an average result for this type of vehicle.

Steering6.0

The steering response is slow, and feedback is numb. Although it tracks straight, the Expedition also has a lazy on-center feel. The steering wheel feels overly big and trucklike in your hands.

Handling7.0

Due to its numb steering and brakes and copious amounts of body movement, it's best to drive this full-size SUV conservatively. Its slow steering ratio will keep your hands busy on twisty roads, too. But if you can tolerate the body motions, the Expedition can be hustled faster than you think.

Drivability8.0

The gas pedal's responsiveness is abrupt when you first get on the gas. Using the slower and smoother Eco driving mode is a decent workaround, though. Otherwise the powertrain keeps itself in the powerband all the time. The Expedition's turning circle is tight.

Off-road7.0

Shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, low-range gearing, a lockable rear differential and nearly 10 inches of ground clearance give the Expedition old-school off-road potential. But it's very large, and so-so articulation makes careful wheel placement key to negotiating your way over ruts.

Comfort7.5

The plush seats counteract the often jittery ride. The Expedition is one of the few vehicles that doesn't have a bad seat in the house. Even the third row is livable for adults.

Seat comfort9.5

Our test vehicle came in the eight-seat configuration. The front- and second-row seats are plush and have enough support for long-distance driving. The third row is adequate for adult use. All seats recline, and the second row can slide.

Ride comfort7.0

An unloaded Expedition can feel a little unsettled and busy when driving over rough pavement. The optional 22-inch wheels are a contributing factor, too. Avoid getting them if you can. However, the Expedition's ride does settle down a little when loaded up.

Noise & vibration6.5

Engine noise is minimal unless you're aggressively mashing the gas. Wind noise can be heard while driving on the highway, but it's never excessive. With the 22-inch wheels and tires, road noise is constant on coarse pavement.

Climate control7.5

The tri-zone climate system works well. The adjustable auto fan setting allows you to reduce the temperature a few degrees without causing the fan speed to ramp up too high. Front seats get heat and ventilation; second-row outboard seats get heat only. Airflow has good adjustability and reach.

Interior8.0

The Expedition makes full use of its massive wheelbase and gives every passenger ample room and comfort to spare. It's not all perfect, though. The center console is a bit button-heavy, and thick roof pillars hamper outward visibility.

Ease of use8.0

Even with Sync 3, the Expedition's dash is festooned with buttons and knobs. In a way, this is welcome since you can operate just about any control using them rather than having to go through menus on the touchscreen.

Getting in/getting out9.0

Gigantic door openings, well-placed grab handles and broad running boards make it easy to get in and out. The second-row seats tilt and fold forward. Combined with the tall cabin, they allow easy walk-in access to the third row. But keep in mind those big doors require space to swing out.

Driving position8.0

Thanks to the Expedition's tall ride height and seating position, drivers get a commanding view of the road. The wide range of adjustability for the driver's seat and steering wheel ensures most drivers will find an ideal position.

Roominess9.5

A vehicle this big should have acres of room, and the Expedition does not disappoint. Every row can seat adults with plenty of room. Even the third row, which is usually a penalty box in most SUVs, is decent enough to seat two adults for long distances.

Visibility7.5

The view straight ahead and directly to the sides is excellent. But the front corner view is limited by thick windshield pillars and a wide hood, and the rear corners are obscured by huge roof pillars. The rear window seems like it's a mile away. The rearview camera is helpful but not enough.

Quality8.0

It may not be a luxury sedan, but the Expedition does a fair impression of one. Interior panels and parts were squeak-free on our test vehicle and exhibited excellent fit and finish. Leather quality erred on the side of durable versus supple. But given the application, we think it's the right move.

Utility8.5

The Expedition's cargo volume, plethora of storage nooks and flexible seating arrangements win the day. The stowable cargo shelf is handy, too. Towing power is icing on the cake for this big SUV.

Small-item storage8.0

It seems like there's a storage spot for anything you can think of. The door pockets are cavernous, as is the center console. There are small nooks along the sides of the center tunnel, too. Rear passengers also have storage space. Only the somewhat small front cupholders detract.

Cargo space9.0

With all the seats in the up position, the standard-wheelbase Expedition has 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space, similar to the smaller Explorer. With the third row down, there's 57.5 cubic feet and a gaping 104.6 cubic feet with all rear seats down. You get even more with the Expedition Max.

Child safety seat accommodation8.0

There are LATCH anchors for all six rear seat positions. Rear and side LATCH points are easy to see and access. The sliding second-row seats, power-actuated running boards and plenty of space make the process of installing car seats easy.

Towing8.5

Equipped with the Heavy Duty Trailer Tow package — which includes a larger radiator, 3.73 gears, trailer backup assist and an integrated trailer brake controller — the Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds. The Expedition Max is rated for 9,000 pounds.

Hauling

With its power liftgate, power-folding third-row seat, and flat load floor, the Expedition can be used like a covered pickup truck. Its side-mounted tie-down points mean you can load up boxes and equipment from wall to wall and still have them secured from movement.

Technology8.5

The Sync system has come a long way over the years, and the newest iteration is definitely the best. And with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, drivers have plenty of current technology at their fingertips. The available trailer backup assist and a 360-degree parking camera are great, too.

Audio & navigation8.5

The standard audio system is punchy, but it gets muddy at higher volume levels. Inputs include multiple USB, auxiliary-in and Bluetooth. The optional navigation system features pinch-to-zoom and voice recognition, but the graphics look dated.

Smartphone integration9.0

Pairing your phone to the vehicle with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is easy. In fact, you can use multiple devices at the same time. For example, have Android Auto handle navigation through the infotainment system, while Spotify streams through your iPhone.

Driver aids8.0

The Expedition offers a bevy of driver assistance features including a helpful 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, active park assist, and forward and reverse side sensing systems. Multi-surface traction control profiles are also available for off-road driving.

Voice control

Sync 3 with navigation recognizes basic commands. Following its syntax ensures maximum accuracy. Although for navigation, we found whichever smartphone map system we tethered to was generally more accurate. Voice commands can be used for navigation, audio and phone systems.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.