But part of this impressive performance is down to the work of the structural engineers that managed to craft the Expedition's body out of weight-saving aluminum. Like the F-150, the move results in a big weight savings—around 300 pounds, according to Ford, although the net savings is closer to 130 pounds in the base two-wheel-drive model—that also creates a more compelling SUV on winding roads.
In the canyons of Malibu and along Mulholland Drive, the Expedition Maxx—a questionable moniker for the long-wheelbase entry that will challenge the Chevrolet Suburban—I was driving felt smaller than its enormous size might indicate. The steering is relaxed on-center but tightens and builds weight progressively through the bends, with an undramatic character on initial turn-in. In general, the steering feels more car-like than a Suburban.
Ultimately, the Expedition is about hauling people, and it does that well. While the dash looks like a carbon copy of the F-150's, the front seats feel more comfortable and supportive, while the second-row captain's chairs and the third-row bench can accommodate adults and children with ease. At 6-foot-1 and with long legs and belly that's been addled by beer, I'd happily wile away a few hours in the third row. Head room is a smidge tight, but leg room is among the best I've ever experienced—minivans included. It's remarkably comfortable for six people; it's merely fine for seven.
The Expedition is not without its issues, though. For a start, it is huge. During my testing in southern California, the lane-departure warning system spent most of the drive buzzing at me as I struggled to not put a wheel into another lane. Threading a needle with a bulldozer would have been easier.
There's also a bizarre offset in the way the pedals are laid out—I'm a tall man and had plenty of space, but maintaining a comfortable foothold on the brake pedal meant uncomfortably angling my left leg outward in a contortion that'd grow tiring after a long trip.
Prices for the 2018 Ford Expedition start at $49,290 for a base rear-drive example and extend to nearly $80,000 for the range-topping Platinum trim with the long-wheelbase and four-wheel drive. In other words, Ford is essentially taking aim at everything from the base Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban to the GMC Yukon and its Denali trim (the third head of GM's full-size SUV dragon, the Cadillac Escalade, is the Lincoln Navigator's responsibility).
Ford got its act together with the 2018 Expedition. This is a three-row, full-size SUV that deserves to be considered alongside its rivals from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan. Pairing best-in-class fuel economy and towing with a smooth, powerful engine in a versatile body is a recipe for success. We just wish Ford would have gotten around to it three years ago.
Ford provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you the firsthand report.