2018 Ford Expedition
With the reborn Explorer and a host of other uni-body crossovers in their lineup, it’s easy to forget that Ford still make a big body-on-frame SUV…the Expedition. It’s been around for three generations now, and an all-new fourth gen Expedition delivers the biggest change yet, joining the F150 with an all-aluminum body. So, let’s see if lighter is righter.
Even in a utility world gone crossover, there are still plenty of people that need a big, truck-based SUV like this 2018 Ford Expedition. But, we’ve covered all of that before. So, what improvements does this all-new Expedition offer the power-hungry, trailer-towing, family-hauling utility buyer?
Well for starters, not only is styling more modern; but like the F150 it shares its basic full frame design with, body panels are now made of aluminum. That helps to shave off about 300-lbs. of weight.
But rather than with the F-150, the face of the full-size Expedition is more akin to the mid-size Explorer; while body sides are not quite as rounded as before, with a less obvious greenhouse. Indeed, from a distance, it appears very similar to its biggest competitor, the segment dominating Chevrolet Tahoe.
Expedition wheelbase is 122.5-inches, about 3½ more than before. And yes, a longer wheelbase Suburban fighter is available as well, at 131.6-inches, now known as the Expedition MAX.
Cargo capacity is up; now 20.9 cubic-ft. behind the standard 3rd row, 63.6 behind the 2nd, and 104.6 with all seats folded. Perfect for late night Walmart runs. 7 or 8 passenger seating is available, with 2nd row getting a new tip-and-slide function.
Thanks to the longer wheelbase, space is more plentiful all around, beating Tahoe in second row legroom by over 2 1/2 inches. There are ample options for plugging in, and you can even live stream satellite or cable TV to the entertainment system.
Platinum trim is tops for now, with materials fitting the name. But the bulk of volume will be made up by mid-level Limited; which includes a power folding 3rd row, heated seats for 1st and 2nd rows, as well as a heated steering wheel.
Gauges are very similar to the F150’s with a mix of analog with virtual gauges, along with a wide, configurable TFT display.
Expedition power still comes from a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost twin-turbo. But, it’s the F150’s latest variants. Standard output is 375 horsepower, a gain of 10, with 470 lb-ft of torque. Our Platinum trimmed beast however gains 35 horses to 400 even, with torque at 480.
Attached, is Ford and GM’s joint venture 10-speed automatic transmission; which allows for better power at launch, as well as lower cruising RPM on the high end, for improved efficiency. It’s one of the best modern automatics we’ve sampled; finding the right gear quickly without searching around like most rival’s 9-speeds we’ve driven.
Maximum towing capacity is 9,300-lbs., significantly more than the Tahoe’s 8,600; and by far best-in-class. The F150’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist is available as well.
The optional 4-wheel drive system comes with an updated version of Ford’s Terrain management system with up to 7-different drive modes, for helping you through just about any situation you may find yourself in.
There’s also an available FX4 Off-Road Package. And while it isn’t quite Raptor-spec, you do get an automatic limited-slip rear, off road shocks, 7-skid plates, and 18-inch wheels with A/Ts, for when you leave the trailer behind and venture further off the beaten path.
The independent front suspension is virtually identical to the F150’s, while in back there’s an updated version of the outgoing Expedition’s multi-link setup rather than a solid axle.
Ford has gone to great lengths to quiet the interior down, and it is indeed very calm inside; and without a doubt, road manners have improved greatly thanks to continuously controlled damping. But despite the weight loss and myriad of updates, it’s still hard to disguise the fact that this is a very big truck-like vehicle, and continues to ride and drive like a one.
And while there are certainly a few people out there that prefer that in their utility; the fact that very few body-on-frame SUVs remain, while crossovers have taken over the segment, would suggest that the majority of people don’t.
Thanks to that 10-speed automatic, Government Fuel Economy Ratings for a 4X4 Expedition are 17-City, 22-Highway, and 19-Combined; that’s up from 17-Combined last year. It still has a poor Energy Impact Score though, at 17.3-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 7.7-tons.
There’s no way around it, you’ve got to pay to play in this segment. Pricing starts at $52,890. Adding 4-wheel-drive varies with trim level, but adds about $3,000 more. So, you’re looking at around $75,000 for top Platinum trim, even more if you opt for the Lincoln Navigator variants.
So for 2018, the highly-evolved Ford Expedition improves in every possible way; whether you’re talking capability, interior space, fuel economy, and certainly style. Ford fans will love what they see, and no doubt this Expedition will create a few more fanatics for the brand as well.
- Engine: 3.5 liter
- Horsepower: 400
- Torque: 480 lb-ft.
- EPA: 17 mpg city / 22 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.7 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined