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.
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).
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.