Ford has some big news for the sport-utility market … a new full-size Expedition, and there’s a small size and a large size, if you can call any Expedition small.
Coming in fall 2017, the new Expedition will come in the usual Ford trim levels (XL, XLT, Limited and Platinum), all of which will also be available on the Expedition MAX version, and will also be custom built for law enforcement and other emergency service applications.
The reason is that this is the most adaptable Expedition ever, with flexible seating (for up to seven passengers) and storage options. Outboard middle row seats tip and slide to allow easy access to the third row, even when they have child seats fastened to them. The middle row also slides to create more legroom for rear row riders.
“When Expedition was introduced 20 years ago, it set the standard for active families who simply needed a big and strong SUV to take them places,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “Today’s families want even more smart technology to help them cover more ground safely, more efficiently and more comfortably – all while staying connected to friends and family.”
Power comes from a new, more powerful 3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6, teamed with a class-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine also features Stop/Start technology, while a new electronic limited slip differential on 4WD models enhances off road performance from the previous generation.
A new Terrain Management system allows the driver to choose the Expedition configuration that best fits the conditions — Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, Eco, Grass/Gravel/Snow (for loose terrain), Sand (for low traction surfaces), and Mud/Rut (for uneven surfaces).
Available driving aids in the new Expedition include active parking assist and 360-degree cameras, both to make it easier to judge the big guy in its surroundings for intricate manoeuvres such as parking in today’s tight parking spots. On the road, lane keeping assist and active cruise control allows the behemoth to keep its course while remaining respectful of smaller vehicles around it.
Pro Trailer Backup Assist makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a knob in the cockpit. Collision avoidance helps protect other road users, including pedestrians, while Blind Spot assist helps the driver detect vehicles in its massive blind spots.
The interior is also stocked with aids, including a wireless charging pad in the front console to keep Smartphones topped up (the first Ford vehicle to offer this technology) even after long hours on the road, power plugs (including a 110V plug) and USB slots available to all rows of seating, dual rear seat entertainment screens to keep rear seat riders entertained on road trips, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that will allow as many as 10 connections (even outside the vehicle).
SYNC 3 is, of course, on board (now with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities) as is the remote SYNC Connect that grants control of the vehicle via a Smartphone with the FordPass app (it also allows access to some vehicle diagnostics), and a 12 speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.
A panoramic roof lets in natural light for all rows of seating and a cargo management system allows owners to tailor the cargo bay to suit needs, while ensuring that nothing rolls out when the hatchgate is opened (especially helpful when using the hands-free feature, when you don’t have an extra hand to even work the liftgate, never mind grabbing that soup can trying to make a getaway). The second- and third-row seats all fold flat to bumper level at the push of a button to open up the floor space to accommodate the industry measurement of 4x8 sheets.