Ace of Base: 2018 Ford Expedition

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Fifty thousand dollars is not exactly what springs to mind when one mentions the words “base model vehicle.” In fact, it’s likely to be precisely the opposite.

Thing is, this series isn’t solely about el-cheapo wheels. Sometimes, it’s about those rare occasions when an entry level trim for a particular model is the best one of the range. This is one of those times.

Ford shovelled mountains of cash into developing the new-for-2018 Lincoln Navigator. Plush trims, decadent trappings, and an overall sumptuous interior are going to give the Escalade a serious run for its money. Who knows; it might even regain enough cred to once again appear in rap lyrics. It’ll never appear on these Ace of Base pages, though, because I firmly believe the best Nav is the $100,000 Black Label trim.

As for its platform mate, the Expedition? That’s a different story. Just like the little brother who benefits from his parents’ decision to install a backyard rink (which his older brother will use to train for the local farm team), the Expedition sees its own star rise simply by dint of association.

A familiar 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine is under the hood, offering plenty of towing and hauling power for the majority of customers in this segment. Your author does truly enjoy the exhaust note emanating from the burly 6.2-liter brute at General Motors, but there’s no denying the EcoBoost is a great engine. Ford put a variation of it in the GT, fer chrissakes. Here, a 10-speed automatic and start/stop allow the big SUV to approach something resembling fuel efficiency.

Various electronic nannies like trailer sway control and all manner of stability controls are included and expected at this price point. A set of just-fine 18-inch rims are standard on the base XLT; moving up to the Limited simply bumps those to 20s.

Cloth seats are found in the $51,695 XLT along with a trick second-row 40/20/40 bench allowing fore/aft movement for the centre section. The $10,000 walk to the Limited brings leather seats and power action to the second row, arguably frivolous additions if the Expedition is expected to be a family workhorse. The third row is power folding on all trims, even the XLT.

Rear auxiliary climate controls keep the peanut gallery happy, while a quartet of USB ports (two up front and a pair in the middle row) keep everyone’s devices charged up. This stuff matters. Drivers of all sizes should be able to get comfy with a six-way power seat, power adjustable pedals, and a leather wrapped tilt/telescope wheel. Push button start means one doesn’t have to dig for keys.

I’m certain I’ll get raked over the coals for plunking a $50k truck in this Ace of Base series. However, given the equipment levels of its more costly brethren, the Expedition XLT represents the best value in its lot.

Just don’t get the cheapest Navigator. In that machine, Black Label (in a Chroma Crystal Blue with the Yacht Club theme, natch) is the only way to ride.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you’d like to see in our series? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer will probably sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 47 comments
  • Ernest Ernest on Feb 01, 2018

    We've owned three Expeditions- two regular length, one EL. We specifically bought XLT trim because of the cloth seats, not in spite of. I'm not understanding the comments about the lack of room. We took one cross-country trip (Oregon-Florida) with 3 kids in the first regular length ('03), and had plenty of room for people and gear. (Kids were teens at that time). The EL had more room, true. Sold it to the neighbors across the street a few years ago. Must be working- they have four kids, and it's still in the driveway. We don't need a SUV this size anymore, but if we did, it'd just be a question of Suburban or Expedition. Both have their advantages, and the Suburban outsells everything else in it's class COMBINED. They're expensive, but a big SUV for a family that tows, skis, and lives in snow country is tough to beat. They're expensive, true, but I see more value here @$50K than I do for a 4 cyl Sport Cute @$35K-$40K.

  • Ernest Ernest on Feb 01, 2018

    In other news, Navigator sales up 97% from last year, and Ford struggling to keep up with demand.

  • ToolGuy First picture: I realize that opinions vary on the height of modern trucks, but that entry door on the building is 80 inches tall and hits just below the headlights. Does anyone really believe this is reasonable?Second picture: I do not believe that is a good parking spot to be able to access the bed storage. More specifically, how do you plan to unload topsoil with the truck parked like that? Maybe you kids are taller than me.
  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.