Aluminum-Bodied Expedition Arrives Next Year, Says Ford

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
aluminum bodied expedition arrives next year says ford

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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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Sep 18, 2016

    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".

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 19, 2016

      you could have skipped all the rambling by saying "I hate aluminum Fords".

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 18, 2016

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Frylock350 Frylock350 on Sep 19, 2016

      @Big Al from Oz "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.

  • BC BC on Sep 18, 2016

    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.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 19, 2016

      @BC - I was impressed with the EB 3.5 F150 rental I had for 10 days.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 19, 2016

    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.