By on September 16, 2016

Ford_ExpeditionEL_2016

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 shows 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 its best sales months in years). The model and its long-wheelbase EL variant competes 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.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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45 Comments on “Aluminum-Bodied Expedition Arrives Next Year, Says Ford...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    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.

    Man I knew the GMT K2XX platform was a cash cow but I hadn’t grasped the “license to print money” nature of it fully.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Holy-moly! I just pulled out my calculator. Assuming $15k profit per unit (I’m sure it’s much more on the Escalade and Denali trim trucks) That’s over 3 BILLION dollars. From one basic product line. I knew these where profitable, but I just never actually thought about HOW profitable.

      No wonder automakers are throw tantrums every time some brings up tougher fuel economy standards.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Hopefully they’ve figured out how to keep the aluminum from corroding and pushing the paint off after a few years. I like the Expedition, but I don’t think GM will ever lose sleep worrying about competition from them. Sure, they’re more technically advanced, with their IRS, but most buyers in that segment don’t care about that.

    • 0 avatar

      The factories are pushing out enough F-150s to meet demand. The tooling is probably paid for. I think Ford (and Lincoln) have a shot here if:

      – the Ecoboost drive-train is as smooth, powerful and seamless as a GM small block
      – the fit and finish is better than the GM trucks
      – the fleet marketing/management – a traditional Ford strength – is put to bear on this very profitable product.
      – the economy/oil glut holds steady as projected

      If all of the above are true, why wouldn’t Ford be able to get a substantial increase of buyers/lessees into more brand-new Expi/Nagravators?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @BklynPete, you are right, traditionally Ford’s fleet game has been strong. Out here in the West where there are lots of government agencies I see many many Suburbans and Tahoes but few Expeditions.

        • 0 avatar

          @PrincipalDan – Same here in the East. And the limo companies are almost always the GM biggies. Not that long ago they were Crown Vics and Town Cars.

          Maybe the new alum will change things. Interesting how you can have the best-selling pickup and its SUV doppleganger is an also-ran.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            The problem is that the SUV doppelganger’s platform is old. So old. It’s really a doppelganger for a 2004 F150.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            It’s certainly old now but Ford didn’t move too many when it was new and fresh either.

            2007, Expedition: 90K. Tahoe/Burban/Yukon: 338K.

            2016 YTD, Expedition: 39K. GM, 145K.

            That’s not quite apples to apples since GM didn’t break out the 3/4 ton Suburbans or the Denalis with no clear Ford analogue but it still wasn’t and isn’t even close.

            My take is that, IRS to the contrary, the Expedition has always been styled and marketed as the more truck-like of the two and the people to whom that appeals go the rest of the way and buy an actual truck. A Tahoe sells as a big car.

          • 0 avatar
            olivebranch2006

            @Adam Tonge
            The current Expedition utilizes the 2009 – 2014 F150 ladder frame.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            It’s a T1 vehicle based on the P2 platform, which started in 2003. The current Expigator is a refresh of the version that came out in 2006.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “The current Expedition utilizes the 2009 – 2014 F150 ladder frame.”

            it does not. The Expedition has independent rear suspension; the rear sections are totally different. for one, Expedition’s frame has pass-throughs for the half-shafts.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And, I saw my first aluminum Super Duty yesterday. Kinda cool looking.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    the 2.7 combined with the 10 speed should position Ford well for an increase in pump prices. It’s a good contingency plan that could see GM’s market share poached *if* it goes that way via oil or tax costs.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Dear Ford,

    Put a naturally aspirated V8 under the hood as an option and I’ll cross shop the Expedition EL with a Suburban when I replace my Silverado. Given the massive price differential, I’ll probably buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Dear Frylock,

      No

      Sincerely,

      Ford Motor Company

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I really wish they’d offer a V8. Even if only as some $4k special order option.

      And GM so severely restricts the 6.2L it might as well not exist.

      That new Armada sure seems nice though…

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        ajla – what i find interesting is when GM only had the 8 speed paired to the 6.2, I used to see a few on the dealer lot every month. Now that the 8 speed can be had with the 5.3 I have not seen a single 6.2 on my local GM/Chev lot.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Dear Ford, please spend a hundred grand or so, so I might consider possibly maybe buying your poroduct, one day.

      I don’t care that the EcoBoost offers more power, more torque at a lower RPM and with a relatively flat torque curve that GM’s V-8s could only dream of. I just need a V-8 like a 3 year old needs a security blanket.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t you get a Coyote V-8 in an F-150 SuperCrew? It must have a decent take rate. Doesn’t that essentially do the same thing as an Expedition withou?

        • 0 avatar
          True_Blue

          It’s available in all F150 cab configurations, approximately $800 more than the 2.7L and $600 cheaper than the 3.5L.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The Coyote has a 20% take rate the last I checked. The two EcoBoost engines account for more than 60% of sales.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Many of the 5.0 F150’s I see are sporting mild to moderate lifts and aftermarket exhaust. I’d go that route too if I wanted to modify my truck since “piped” EB 3.5’s sound pathetic.

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          @BklynPete,

          You can absolutely get a Coyote in an F150 SuperCrew, take rate is 1 out of 4 IIRC. I test drove a 2015 5.0L F150 before deciding on my Silverado. That said I want an Expedition EL because I need the third row. I’ve been taking two vehicles on trips that could be one vehicle with a Suburban or Expedition EL. GM has a stranglehold on that market and the prices reflect it. I will happily buy the Ford if they offer the Coyote.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “I just need a V-8 like a 3 year old needs a security blanket.”

        Pretty much.

        But it’s my money to spend and I want my 8-cylinder blanket.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I don’t care that the EcoBoost offers more power, more torque at a lower RPM and with a relatively flat torque curve that GM’s V-8s could only dream of.”

        If you towed something heavy enough to require a trailer with at least two axles you would. I know I’m broken record around here, but if your not towing something fairly big and heavy on a somewhat regular basis with one of these beasts your not doing them justice.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N,

        I’m sure you have preferences in your life. Its my money and I think the Ecoboost sounds like a a clogged shop vac. The Coyote in the F150 sounds magnificent. The real world power difference (ye olde ass dyno) between the Coyote and 3.5L isn’t much. The Coyote makes sound, the ecoboost makes noise. I care more about a nice engine note I’ll hear every time I drive than saving a few tenths on a dragstrip I’ll never visit. Y’all act like the Coyote isn’t a very powerful engine.

        I’m also particular about the fuel I buy. I prefer to use E-85 when possible and barring that I like 87 octance. I’m a big proponents of biofuels and I really would like to avoid purchasing a vehicle that can’t use them. The F150’s 5.0L has recommended fuel listed as 87 octane or E85. The 3.5L (and 2.7L) both make recommendations for premium and their power output is rated that way. You won’t get advertised power or mpg if you don’t feed it 91+. Would you rather an engine that loves the fuel you’re giving it or one that pulls timing to prevent engine damage?

        I also refuse to buy any power train that recommends premium in any way, where I live the markup is $0.70 – $0.90 per gallon and that markup still only gets me 91 octane, not 93. I will not support such price gouging with my money. Its 87 or E85 for me. I could have a 6.2L right now, chose not to because I refuse to buy premium fuel and its not FlexFuel.

        I want an extended length full-size SUV. Ford will absolutely win me as a customer if they offer a V8. The Suburban’s sticker price is exceedingly high, the Expedition EL starts out quite a bit cheaper. Its a market of two choices and right now the Suburban is the default choice for me. I hope Ford changes that.

        You would think considering the market dominance GM has Ford wouldn’t give buyers a reason to ignore them. They already have the 5.0 in the F150; how much effort could it really be to offer it under the Expedition’s hood? If anything it’d help amortize the cost of the engine. Make it a $1k upgrade, I’ll pay.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Holy crap they are gouging for premium in your area. Many times the Costcos around here are the traditional old 20 cent spread but when prices are dropping it can get up to 25 or 30 cents. Other stations are usually in the 25-30 cent range.

          I wish we could get E85 in our area other than a couple of stations where they charge the same or more as regular.

          My most recent purchase a 2009 E-series is flex fuel and I’d love to put some E85 in it. We had a FFV Taurus and when I brought it back from a trip with most of a tank of E85 my wife “accused” me of doing something to the car. I thought she found a dent, scratch or something like that. When I sheepishly told her nothing. She replied “you didn’t tune it up or something? because it seems to have more power” which of course it did have more low end torque with the increase in timing advance made possible with E85.

          I experimented with different blends of fuel in it. With about 50% summer E85 and 50% E10 I got some of the power increase with none of the mpg decrease.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            Today’s prices at the station I filled at are:
            E85: $1.69
            87: $2.23
            91: $2.93

            After a test drive I really wanted a 6.2L/8sp but I won’t run a non-recommended fuel and I refuse to support that level of price gouging. Also for some unfathomable reason GM dropped FlexFuel from the 6.2L for 2014+. I’m sure on E85 450hp would not be out of the question.

            The break-even rule of thumb with E85 is (price of 87) x (0.8). Any cheaper than that and its lining your pocket.

            I find that E85 costs me 1-2mpg city and 2-4mpg highway. The increase in power is noticeable. Its good for 4 tenths in the 1/4 and to 60. I just wish GM didn’t give the truck such a crappy throttle response (though a 15+ is better than a 14), unless you’re running it hard it feels slower than it actually is.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    What a handsome and nicely styled front clip on this unit! If only they could offer something as reasonable on the F-150 line, maybe as an upscale ‘ I’m an adult now and OK with the size of my dick’ option.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree frozen I much prefer the front on the Expedition in the picture to the present F-150 front. Such a nice uncluttered clean look. Maybe Ford will offer this as a refresh on the 2018 model. The big rig grills with the large lettering are getting old.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Agree frozen I much prefer the front on the Expedition in the picture to the present F-150 front. Such a nice uncluttered clean look.”

      +1 – If Ford styled the current F150 to look more like this Expedition I’d jump ship on my next FS PU truck purchase. Love the aluminum body and TT V6 engines in the F150 but the styling/overall look of the truck does nothing for me. I still might buy one even if I’m not crazy about the way it looks. Can’t see the front end from the drivers seat!…….LOL

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I personally believe this is an ugly, slab sided vehicle. Ford has such a large canvas to work with here and blew it. The front end is worse than the F-150’s. Maybe some will buy this, but I think GM has it all over Ford in the style department with these larger SUVs ……….. and pickups. The Camaro sort of lost out in the style department.

    I suppose this is what occurs when starting out with a more exotic material to work with. Even the F-150, if one looks closely at it is made of many straight lines, bends and flat expanses.

    Ford even had problems with the forming of body panels with the aluminium F-150.

    But, I’ll give Ford credit where credit is due. At least it made a courageous decision with this “thing”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I actually like this front end better and would look much better on the current F-150 than the current front. This is a more minimalist and cleaner look that doesn’t shout out look at me I am a big truck and my grill and emblem are bigger than the competition. I long for a trend to get away from the big rig grills with large emblems and lettering. As for slab siding I prefer it to the cartoonish bulges and curves on the sides of some of the current vehicles. There is beauty in simple and clean lines. Look at Apple products with clean and functional designs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jeff S,
      What destroys the front end for me is that raised centre portion. This is unnecessary. I agree with you regarding those “little d!ck” syndrome pickup front ends/grilles. Boy, I thought some Asian styled vehicles are a disaster, but at the moment I think the US has “Out Asian’ed” the rest of the world with the it’s pickup grilles. I suppose it must be cheaper, why else would you design an overly animated front end?

      The headlights should be level with the top of the grille on this Expedition, especially if the raised portion wasn’t there. Doing what I just mentioned would of given a sleeker grille.

      The side of the truck looks worse than a Transit. No energy or design effort here.

      Ford should call this the “Modern SUV Edsel”.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        “What destroys the front end for me is that raised centre portion. This is unnecessary. ”

        Get used to it. It allows a hood to use thinner sheetmetal while retaining structural integrity.

  • avatar
    BC

    Ecoboost convert here. I drove a rented 2016 Expedition EL from Denver deep into the Rockies fully laden with 7 passengers and all of their stuff. It drove like it was on rails. Accelerating to speeds well above post speed limits. There was always power on hand. You knew you were driving a turbo because the rate of acceleration would steadily increase as you punched it but hardly any turbo lag. Round trip returned 19 mpg with regular fuel. 17 uphill, 21 going down the mountain. Anyone who drives one will quickly shed their V8 bias. The only metric it has not proven itself yet is in longevity which only time will tell.

    With an updated design, I would buy a ford ecoboost over GM any day. I sure hope Ford maintains the price advantage it currently holds.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The raised center of the hood is not that bad and beats some of the other designs. As for the lights they look fine the way they are. The side of the vehicle is refreshing after several years of bulging fenders and creases. I don’t mind a slab side especially on a truck or a truck like vehicle. The design of this Expedition looks clean and uncluttered and is very classic back to the 60s and 70s like the F-100s and the Chevy and GMC CK series trucks. I see enough curves on cars like the new Camaros and some of the Toyotas. Overall the design is clean and simple. Sometimes less is more and many designers get carried away with over designing the exteriors. There are only so many ways to design a box on wheels. A truck is a truck regardless of how much you gussy it up.


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