The New Thriftpower? EPA Says Less-thirsty 2018 Ford Expedition Tops Its Class

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the new thriftpower epa says less thirsty 2018 ford expedition tops its class

There’s nothing quite as uncertain as that little number staring at you from the window sticker of a new vehicle. It’s two digits long (unless you’re fabulously rich), followed by the word “combined.” We’re talking, of course, about the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy rating, which often turns out to be an impossible-to-reach goal or — if you’re lucky — a lowballed figure.

Back in the days of lapels and flares, the hot gas mileage action was found in the compact and subcompact class. Economy cars, after all. Well, people these days prefer driving a vehicle that seats at least five adults in comfort while towing a boat and hauling 65 pounds of kid’s toys and a dog in the rear cargo area. With the heyday of the cheap little car long gone, the (fuel) economy battle rages anew among the largest, and most lucrative, vehicles on the road.

So, do you believe the EPA when it says the massive 2018 Ford Expedition gets 20 miles per gallon combined?

That’s the official rating for the regular length, rear-drive Expedition, which is wholly new for the 2018 model year. Adding wheelbase or four-wheel traction brings that figure down by 1 mpg in either case, or 2 mpg with both factors combined. Still, the entry-level Expedition’s fuel economy tops its main rival’s rating by 1 mpg, and that’s no small thing for Dearborn brass.

This rating makes it a class-leader.

With Ford, topping the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban’s base price actually quite comforting. In the Ford, there’s an upgraded version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 sporting an extra 10 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque, hitched to a 10-speed automatic. That brings the model up to 375 hp and 470 lb-ft.

In contrast, the Suburban’s mill generates only 355 hp and 383 lb-ft.

While it looks like Ford has its cake and is able to eat it, too, there’s a reason the saying “your mileage will vary” exists. We haven’t had a chance to spend a week in the new Expedition yet, but past reviews have made us suspicious of the lofty fuel economy ratings of certain body-on-frame Ford vehicles. Two F-150 pickups, in both 5.0-liter/six-speed and 3.5EB/10-speed guise, fell short of the advertised combined rating after a week of fairly forgiving driving.

In his recent test of the 2017 Suburban, Mark “Bark M” Baruth’s mileage was just 0.5 mpg shy of the combined EPA rating. Because of this, we’re taking the EPA rating with a grain of salt.

But who knows, Ford might surprise us all. Certainly, the new Expedition’s aluminum-heavy weight loss regimen points to an automaker that’s concerned about thirstiness. The 2018 model should start rolling off dealer lots later this year.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Join the conversation
4 of 36 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 01, 2017

    We know egoboost engines drink fuel in the real world. This will be lucky to see any better than 17.

    • See 1 previous
    • Olivebranch2006 Olivebranch2006 on Nov 01, 2017

      My 2015 Lincoln Navigator 4x4 L gets 17 MPG combined. I've been testing it for 5,000 miles. It has the twin turbo ecoboost v6 and 6 speed transmission. I could see a 300 pound aluminum body weight savings plus the 10 speed transmission saving some fuel. Maybe even 1 mpg more combined.

  • Mike1041 Mike1041 on Nov 02, 2017

    I think of EPA stickers as a guide for comparison only. Achieving the results is not going to happen. Too many factors affect gas mileage to come up with a number that will match your driving style and conditions

  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.
  • ToolGuy MUAWGA