Who hasn’t wanted to ditch the grocery shopping and hit the trail instead? Well, now you can make that spur of the moment decision easier than ever thanks to the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition.
Sure, taking the Expedition off-roading isn’t new, after all Ford says more than 20 percent of owners use their large SUV for off-road adventures. What’s new is that Ford bills the all-new Expedition as the most off-roading capable Expedition ever thanks to the FX4 off-road package.
Ford flew me out to Malibu last week to check out its off-roading prowess for myself and I have to say my XLT FX4 model tackled the challenges of our charted course on Calamigos Ranch in Malibu without missing a beat. In fact, I found it as easy to drive on the trail as I did on the open road.
Hill Descent Control is a handy feature I put to use. It allows the vehicle to crawl down steep grades for you after you set the speed. The driver, of course, does the steering and hits the brakes. All in all, it was a remarkably comfortable ride given the terrain.
All of your off-roading stats and grade levels are easy to read on my model’s eight-inch digital cluster. (I’m a big fan of the Expedition’s all-new digital display which is easy to read with colorful graphics.)
FX4 Off-Road Package Overview
The new FX4 Off-Road Package adds technology and 4×4 hardware that includes off-road-tuned shocks, all-new electronic limited-slip rear differential, skid plates, side steps and FX4 badging. Ford Expedition Brand Manager Joe McCarty talks us through some of the features.
FX4 Off-Road Package Features
- Patented electronic limited-slip rear differential to help improve off-road performance in low-traction situations by automatically varying power output side-to-side, depending on which wheels need extra traction. With 3.73:1 gearing, the electronic limited-slip rear differential also improves towing performance and capability
- Off-road-tuned shocks more stiffly tuned to keep wheels in contact with the road
- All-terrain tires with thicker sidewalls to maintain a smooth ride while delivering the traction needed over rough terrain
- Seven different skid plates that serve as underbody armor and protect critical areas. They include a new sand shield to protect the turbocharger intercoolers from getting clogged when driving through tall berms in sand dunes, plus steel plates to protect steering gear, engine, transmission and transfer case and a full-length guard for the fuel tank. To help climb over tall or steep obstacles, the chin spoiler beneath the front bumper has been shortened to improve approach angles
- Unique 18-inch Magnetic Metallic-painted cast-aluminum wheels
- Chrome running boards
- FX4 badging on the liftgate and front fender
- New rubber floor liners featuring deep side sills that can be removed and cleaned of any mud, sand or water that gets dragged in on family adventures
The all-new Expedition also benefits on the trail from a new, more powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. It rates at 375-horses and 470 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an all-new 10-speed transmission to deliver best-in-class owing of 9,300 pounds (depending on the model.)
The Expedition also offers a new Terrain Management System. It allows FX4 drivers select from seven special drive modes that help Expedition automatically adapt to different road conditions. This includes normal for around town driving, sport for more spirited trips, tow/haul for improved towing and hauling performance, eco for enhanced fuel economy, grass/gravel/snow for loose terrain, sand for low traction situations and mud/rut for uneven surfaces. Expedition FX4 drivers also can manually select either 2WD or 4WD modes in a given drive mode, depending on their preferences and terrain.
For first driving impressions of the Expedition MAX Platinum click here.