By on January 31, 2018

2018 Ford Expedition

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.

2018 Ford Expedition

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.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

[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.

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47 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Ford Expedition...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    As long as the XLT can get upgraded with base leather, heated seats, sunroof, nav and blind spot, I’m cool with a base level truck. Minimal bling with useful features.

    That’s a good looking vehicle….

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      You can. But suddenly it’s more like a $60k truck ($6k for leather and BLIS, $1.4k for the two-row sunroof, $740 for Nav). Pesonally, I’ve got an XLT on order with an MSRP of almost $70k. But that’s not exactly “base”.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I’m amused by how the seats get worse as you move back. The front row is reasonably contoured, middle row isn’t as nice but not terrible, and the third row is basically two sheets of plywood.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      It’s my favorite thing to silently snark at when I see anybody with a 3rd row SUV that’s smaller than a Tahoe/Suburban/Expedition. Clearly, though, even going as big as the Expedition gets the cheap seats.

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      That sounds just like air travel. Except you don’t get free alcohol in the front and middle parts…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The rear seat folds flat, the others don’t. Have you sat back there? You’ll find it far more hospitable than a Tahoe or Sequoia.

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        More to the point, even on the long version of these trucks (Expedition MAX, Suburban, et al.) the third row spends a fair amount of time folded down. Highly-contoured seats would get misshapen over time by spending too much time folded.

        Besides, they mostly have car seats in the way-back anyway, so who cares?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I agree. The Ford SUVs have historically have had better third-row comfort and storage than the GM trio because the Fords have independent rear suspension; the GMs have a solid rear axle.

        Still, those third-row seats don’t look all that comfortable.

    • 0 avatar

      In my Tahoe, the leather upholstery ended at row two. The third row was school bus grade vinyl, textured to look like leather.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Chances are 2nd and 3rd row riders aren’t chipping in to pay off the truck, insurance, fuel etc. At your place does everyone get their own master suite?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “Chances are 2nd and 3rd row riders aren’t chipping in to pay off the truck, insurance, fuel etc. At your place does everyone get their own master suite?”

        When a car costs as much as a house in the “bad” part of town, I expect everyone to be pampered.

        I have three kids and am actually shopping in this segment, but the prices send me scurrying back to my Mazda5. I could use more room and a trailer hitch, but for $50k-$75k, the vehicle had better be perfect for the next 20+ years.

        Add in the fact that our $20k Civic is loaded with electronic features that ADD $20k to the price in this segment, and it’s doubly ridiculous. They should throw in a free Civic with the purchase at that price.

        My best option so far is a Mercedes Metris Passenger van. I’m not sure I want to gamble on German Engineering again, though.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Ironic that I just got done watching a quirky video review of the top-spec Navi (with the Yacht Club themed interior!)…seriously nice rig. I’m surprised they even offered cloth in the Expo, given that $50k is still $50k. How many will be sold without leather? Still, overall the new Ford/Lincoln twins are a massive improvement over the last version. Enough to dethrone the Escalade?

  • avatar
    vvk

    Is the second row still not adjustable fore/aft, except for the center section? I had an Expedition XL as a rental last year and it was incredibly tight in the second row! I am fairly short and my daughter is tiny and she had very little room sitting behind me. About as much room as my 328i convertible. I was just blown away how bad the packaging was on the one I rented. The third row was very roomy, though.

    I got used to sailing it by the end of the second week but damn these things are terrible to drive. Except for the engine. The twin-turbo V-6 is a gem.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I feel like a base trim version of these makes sense. Has the Expo always been a 3 row? We need more 2 rows in the market.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    $51k and you don’t even get leather seats?

    What a joke

  • avatar
    shane_the_ee

    But it’s not the base model. The XL is the base model. You’ll have to look hard to find one, though…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      They’re not just ‘hard to find’, you’ll likely have to buy at least 10 of them or no “XL” Expedition for you. For cranky windows, you’re out of luck though.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    $50K for the short wheelbase model?

    Fail.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I drove one this weekend. If Edges, Explorers, Traverses, Acadias, and all the other semi-premium midsized unibody crossovers are going for $40K or more, the Expedition is absolutely worth $50K. It is simply fantastic. I think it is the best mass produced product that Ford makes. I like it better than the F150, SuperDuty, or Mustang. It is that good.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Drove a Limited this past week – rental. Absolutely agree.

        And with the IRS compared to the GM log-axle competition, the 3rd row accommodations are vastly superior in the Ford.

  • avatar
    Prado

    There really is no ‘Ace’ in this segment. Expedition, Tahoe, Sequoia.. they are all ridiculously overpriced.

    • 0 avatar

      The Sequoia is the worst of those, as it’s still from 2004.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “The Sequoia is the worst of those, as it’s still from 2004.”

        It depends on what a person seeks. We’ve got a 2016 Sequoia Limited 4×4 and we would not want to drive anything else.

        Last year we rented a 2016 Expedition Limited EL 4×4 with the Ecobust for an extended trip and it was nice, roomy, quiet, but we would not want to give up our Sequoia for it.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          In the beginning of last year I had the opportunity to drive a Sequoia and it isn’t a good as you are stating.

          I personally think a Landcruiser is a far better option.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Seems like the best “ace” in this segment is the new Armada with regards to price, performance, and arguably looks. To me the Ford looks frumpy (and I couldn’t tell you what frumpy really means).

      • 0 avatar

        I think you might be right on the Armada. With 4WD it undercuts the Expedition’s price, and comes standard with lots of equipment and a V8.

        Tim Cain told me via Twitter just yesterday that the more he drives the one he’s borrowing from his employer, the more he likes it.

        • 0 avatar
          crtfour

          Although I haven’t driven it, the 400hp Nissan engine seems great. Personally I prefer a naturally aspirated V8 over turbocharged for the sound it anything (sound from the actual engine ; not through the speakers)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Tahoe Custom 4WD in red with trailering package, front bench seat, and dual side exit exhaust factory accessory is $48k.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    I own a 2008 Eddie Bauer Expedition with 115k miles and it’s a workhorse outperforming any van or CUV in payload and towing. Only vechile I own that allows me to move the seat forward and still have room to operate controls. It’s been a cross country cruiser getting 19 mpg pulling a lite trailer, gets 21 doing the speed limit, loaded to the gills for weekend getaways, Transporting clans to soccer practice and mommy play dates to six flags, D world and that LEGO place. I’m 6’6” and been shoved in the third row and had plenty of room. Pulls a 7k pound travel travel to Huntington Beach from NorCal transit over the grapevine without protest. Paid 42k and earned it’s place in our driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That’s probably the same reasons why people who own an Excursion are not willing to part with it, at any price.

      Ahhhh, Huntington Beach, CA. The place of my birth and youth.

      Too bad where we lived during my childhood has morphed into a Barrio………

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I am famously disdainful of these giant SUVs – to me, they’re a big bunch of expensive WTF that wouldn’t fit into my life at all – but I’m curiously attracted to that Navigator.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      FWIW, after considering all the giant SUVs, including the 2013 Suburban that once belonged to my father-in-law, we found that our 2016 Sequoia exactly filled our needs.

      The way it drives, brakes, handles, and the power-to-weight ratio, is the exact balance we want in our primary vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      FreedMike,
      The problem is not large SUVs, its the large “cheap” SUVs. They are built to a price point.

      Even the Patrol in the US market is a down rated global Patrol.

      Global SUVs are more expensive, but you are paying for real off road capabilities and quality interiors and durable drivetrains and suspensions. They are designed from the ground up to be SUVs, not converted pickups.

      Most US SUVs are based on $25k pickups.

      Even in Australia the midsize “converted” pickups have their limitations and poorer quality interiors.

      If you want a better SUV then you must buy LR, Landcruiser, Range Rover, Patrol, etc.

  • avatar

    “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)”

    You are so rural right now.

  • avatar
    detlump

    Has Ford figured out the issues with the internally-mounted water pump on the 3.5 V6?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    $50k for a Ford Compensator and all you get is a 6 cylinder? “Oh, but it’s an EcoBoost, ooooh” Who cares? Give me a V8. The seats in the third row must be like riding on a buckboard. If you’ve got that many kids you need surgical intervention, not an overpriced land yacht. Good grief.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Can someone explain why the Expedition has a higher tow rating than the Navigator which has a more powerful version of the same powertrain?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I had a 2016 Expedition for six and a half months last year. There were shortcomings aplenty with it;

    1. Awful suspension setting. The vehicle was easily unsettled, especially the poor rearend suspension tuning. This was evident on any road surface other than smooth.

    2. The interior was really quite poor in fit and materials used, granted it was an XLT, but I would of expected a better than Mahindra level of quality.

    3. The rear was cramped, suitable for twelve and unders. The middle row of seats lacked lateral support. The front seats were too soft and unsupporting.

    The good was the 3.5 EcoThirst, and thirsty it was! But, I wasn’t paying for the fuel. The 3.5 EcoThirst didn’t like the extreme heat, 50C days.

    From what I’ve been told the new Expedition is better, I really hope so.

    I really hope the quality of the vehicle is better.

    Does the new Expedition have an independent assend?

  • avatar
    ernest

    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.

  • avatar
    ernest

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

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/01/ford-is-selling-90000-suvs-faster-than-it-can-make-them.html


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