With the world just getting its first formal look at the stylish Navigator Concept (us included) its easy to forget that underneath its opulence and luxurious styling, is a veiled preview of a second model, the 2018 Ford Expedition.
Like the Navigator, the current generation Expedition is also starting to show its age, and has largely fallen behind the pace set by rivals such as the Chevrolet Suburban and the Toyota Sequoia both in sales and market relevance. A refresh in 2015 helped it catch up in terms of technology and performance, but it still was not enough to right the sales ship (again like the current generation Navigator.) So what will 2018 bring to the Expedition? And can it help revive sales?
The exterior styling of the 2018 Expedition will be radically diffrent with the big ute still sharing much of its inspiration with the company’s popular F-150 pickup truck. This will be especially evident in the front fascia where the front headlights, beefy grille, and front bumper will be largely transplanted according to recent spy shots. This will be a welcome change from the current generation Expedition (pictured) which looks clumsy and a bit awkward from some angles. Fuel economy has always been a weak spot for the Expedition, but look for that to improve with the family hauler fully embracing lightweight aluminum in its construction as well as lighter steel components. This would allow the big Ford to catch up to its rivals in fuel economy figures, while also improving its handling and acceleration.
The interior of the Expedition will also be completely diffrent with welcome updates throughout. Granted, it will not boast some of the posh factor that the Navigator Concept previewed (except on a possible Platnium model), but look for the cabin to boast more levels of functionality and versatility two key assets that make or a break a family oriented SUV. Like the exterior, the interior is also expected to borrow moves from the F-150 playbook in terms of basic design and higher grade materials, but look for the production cabin to branch out on its own in a few categories especially in passenger room and connectivity.
The Navigator Concept provided a compelling glimpse of the mysterious new chassis that will underpin it, and look for this chassis to make its way into the Expedition as well. It would not only be lighter than before, but also allow the big Ford to have a smoother ride, while improving its capability at the same time.
Expect the performance hardware to remain V8 free, with a host of EcoBoost engines that promise balanced levels of performance and fuel economy. A 2.7 liter EcoBoost engine could make its apperance as the base engine, which would be a perfect fit with the Expedition’s lighter weight, while also maintaining its reputation for towing. A naturally aspirated V6 could serve as the mid range engine with the 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 retaining its spot as the top engine. Handling would also be tweaked with the Expedition most likely retaining its segment exclusive independent rear suspension.
Ford for its part has remained quiet on specific details regarding the upcoming Expedition, but look for it to possibly arrive sometime in 2017 with an initial unveiling taking place later this year. When the new Expedition arrives on dealer lots, look for it to be a part of a double edged assault with its Lincoln badged cousin that aims to not only end a dire period of USSR style stagnation, but also reestablish both brands as formidable contenders in the full size SUV segment.