The 2018 Ford Expedition is offered in XLT, Limited and Platinum trims, with rear-wheel or front-wheel drive. An extended-length MAX version is available on all trims. (manufacturer photo)

The 2018 Ford Expedition is offered in XLT, Limited and Platinum trims, with rear-wheel or front-wheel drive. An extended-length MAX version is available on all trims. (manufacturer photo)

The 2018 Ford Expedition pumps up power and towing capacity

In a major redesign, the fullsize SUV gets an enormous cabin, technology updates and more.

It’s common for those of us getting through life without a big SUV to disparage big SUVs, but I was humbled by a niece who owns one.

She has three kids, along with all the carseats, soccer gear and Costco trips the job involves. “I use every inch of my car,” she told me, and I realized I couldn’t say the same about the cars I’ve owned.

She and her husband also have a boat and an RV, which makes towing capacity a major factor in their vehicle purchasing decisions.

The Ford Expedition is produced with people like my niece and her family in mind.

A huge redesign of the Expedition for 2018 gives it a stronger chassis but lower weight, the inclusion of technology’s latest offerings, boosts in power and towing capacity, and a high-class cabin with tremendous amounts of space for people and things.

There are three trim levels of the 2018 Ford Expedition: XLT, Limited and Platinum, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. An extended-length Expedition MAX model is available in all three of those trims.

My tester was the high-end Expedition Platinum 4×4 model, whose base price is $77,470 including a destination charge of $1,295. It had a seven-passenger seating setup, with bucket seats for the second row, which is a $740 option over the eight-passenger arrangement that has a second-row bench.

With all the space inside this jumbo SUV, even the third row is roomy and comfortable, and access to that row is easy. With all seats occupied, 20.9 cubic feet of space is still available for cargo. Fold down the third row seats and you get 63.6 cubic feet. Go all out and fold down the second row seats too and 104.6 cubic feet are at your disposal.

Maximum towing capacity for the new Expedition is 9,300 pounds. Ford has a Pro Trailer Backup Assist system that gives drivers some help with the tricky business of maneuvering whatever it is they’ve hooked up to the vehicle.

The Expedition Platinum piles on the standard features, including such things as a panoramic sunroof, automatic power-deploy running boards, heated second row seats with power folding (third row seats have power folding as well), a 360-degree camera, trailer sway control, and a Sync infotainment system with voice-activated navigation and a B&O Play premium audio system.

An SUV of this size could be given a bit of latitude for not taking twisty roads with alacrity, but the Expedition manages to feel quite nimble under those circumstances. On straightaways it couldn’t be a better performer with its quiet, comfortable ride.

Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost (turbocharged) engine powers the 2018 Expedition, joined to a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing up to 400 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Its acceleration amazed me, no exaggeration, when I had to get out of a tight spot on I-90 near CenturyLink Field. Without going into embarrassing details, the situation involved merging back into high-speed traffic from a near stop.

As with all big SUVs, fuel economy is the elephant in the room. For my Expedition Platinum 4×4 tester, the ratings are 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. Not great numbers per se, but they are better than those of other SUVs in this class.

The 2018 Ford Expedition is built in Louisville, Kentucky.

2018 FORD EXPEDITION PLATINUM 4X4

Base price, including destination charge: $77,470

Price as driven: $81,815

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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