Ford’s full-size SUV will adopt aluminum architecture when the next-generation model arrives in 2017 as a 2018 model, Ford has told investors.
With less weight and a full redesign on tap, the automaker hopes to make the Expedition more attractive to buyers, as well as environmental regulators.
Using aluminum body panels allows Ford to strip hundreds of pounds off of the Expedition’s curb weight, just as it did with the controversial (but successful) revamp of the F-150 pickup. Spy shots of the 2018 Expedition published by AutoGuide show a front end that closely resembles the F-150.
Lightweight architecture benefits the Expedition’s future fuel economy in two ways. Not only is there less weight for the model’s sole engine — a 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 — to motivate, it also allows the automaker to offer a smaller engine. Ford hasn’t dished any details on the future model’s powertrains, but the 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6 found in the F-150 and Ford Edge Sport seems a likely candidate.
A top-to-bottom update is the Expedition’s chance to boost its relevance. Unlike the smaller Explorer, its sales didn’t take off again following the recession. (Though extremely generous incentives have recently given the aging models their best sales months in years). The model and its long-wheelbase EL variant compete with General Motors’ Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, as well as the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
With 41,443 Expedition and Expedition ELs sold in the U.S. in 2015 versus the GM quartet’s 213,274, Ford sees a chance to lure buyers from the General.