Expanding the expedition
"I tried the Expedition in all its characteristics, from endless asphalted roads to an off-road trail through the desert."
"The roominess of the interior is exceptional!"
"Imposing new grille in a shiny aluminum look and the integrated LED headlights are noticeable immediately."
"I have to say that the car feels heavy although it’s one of the lightest in the class; but there’s always a compromise when seeking ultimate comfort," said Hisham.
I always wanted a ‘do-it-all’ vehicle that could also be good looking and help me with my day-to-day commute. But not only would I want that, I also needed a car that I could go to a nice dinner with and still be noticed as a classy type of person-not a full on family guy with no sense of taste. So I want to take my kids to school and pick them up from their friend’s house or activities but still be able to take pleasure in a drive through some Lebanese mountain roads with confidence. Ford has been around to deliver just that, but for the past 15 years the Expedition was off the grid. Fortunately in 2018 they decided to re-enter the seven-seater market with the all-new and improved Expedition.
Being an American SUV means comfort in every single sense of the word. I believe that all cars are manufactured bearing in mind the environment where the vehicles will be mostly driven. In America, long journeys between states would require a very relaxed and powerful machine.
My journey started in the stunning desert Palm resort where I took the Expedition and headed out into a new and exciting adventure. The experience had more than four hours of driving, which means that I would try the car in all its characteristics, from endless asphalted roads to an off-road trail through the desert.
All set? GO.
Taking a first look at the car I immediately noticed the imposing new grille in a shiny aluminum look and the integrated LED headlights (just a reminder that I drove the Platinum, which is the highest trim level of the Expedition range). The 22-inch rims in a chrome finishing are perfectly incorporated into the wheel arch, giving the car a muscular/sporty look. The electrically deployable side steps are hidden away when not used but fold down when you open the car door with an LED light which illuminates to let you see where you are walking. Moving towards the back of the car, the taillights in the Platinum also get the LED technology with a silver stripe that includes Expedition lettering. The optional tint for the rear and side windows is a must-have in my opinion because it gives it a much more exclusive appearance.
In terms of technology, included are Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, enhanced Active Park Assist with parallel parking, park out assist and reverse perpendicular parking technologies, pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, wireless smartphone charging, auto high-beam headlamps, head-up display, Lane-Keeping Assist and multi contour seats with Active Motion; so it’s fair to say that it’s not down on equipment.
Getting inside is as easy as it gets. The roominess of the interior is exceptional. Being in the driver’s seat is comfortable-all the instruments are easy to reach along with the touchscreen, although I wish it were better integrated into the dashboard without the big black plastic edges that give it a relatively timeworn appearance. Bang & Olufsen set out to contribute to the car’s audio equipment and I have to say they pinned it. The panoramic roof gives it an airy cabin, which comes in handy on long drives like the one I set off to do. Ford claimed best in class second and third row seats, which is not a stress-free assertion knowing the competition, but I can assure you that they got it flawlessly right. I had the chance to sit in the second and third row and it was as comfortable as sitting on a sunbed relaxing in the summer sun. The rear seat entertainment for your little kids would definitely keep them amused during your journeys. All the passengers have power outlets to charge their phones, tablets or whatever medium they have to entertain themselves during the cruise.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine used in the F-150 Raptor and the mighty Ford GT would do the trick with its 400 horsepower, 650 Nm of torque coupled to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. I was amazed at how linear the power delivery is and how they made the turbo work with the engine at all rpm’s in a way that sometimes I would forget that it’s even turbocharged. The car would eat up the miles effortlessly. I floored the gas pedal the first chance I got and went up to 190 km/h without sensing the annoying vibrations of the chassis that I usually get when driving big 4x4s; it’s mostly related to the 22-inch wheels and tires. I was a bit disappointed with the absence of paddle shifters and the way you go up and down the gears with two plus and minus buttons fixed in the center console in front of the armrest. 10 gears need paddles!
I have to say that the car feels heavy although it’s one of the lightest in the class but there’s always a compromise when seeking ultimate comfort. Taking sharp turns is not its strongest point. But the Expedition makes up for it in off-roading because the suspension copes well with the bumps as we start to go into the desert. I have to say the 22-inch wheels are not ideal for tackling the sand but the driving modes help a little in keeping the car moderately stable.
My "Expedition" is coming to an end but the memory of this great SUV will constantly stay with me as I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s a great feeling to have a proper machine to experiment the roads in, it makes me feel safe but at the same time confident to explore and to make sure that I am doing it in complete safety with my family. At the end of the day it’s the people who you share your experiences with that matter.
Pros: Spacious, comfortable, aggressive front end
Cons: Feels big, very soft suspension, body roll
Rivals: GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol
one word: purposeful
Rating: 3.8 stars
3.5L V6 Ecoboost turbocharged, 400 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 650 Nm @ 3,250 rpm
10-speed automatic, 4WD with seven driving modes
0-100 km/h: 5.9 secs, top speed: 200 km/h, fuel consumption: 11.76 L/100 km
Weight: 2,628 kg