There are few vehicles that are as renowned for their off-road capability, cargo capacity, and general performance like the Ford Bronco. For decades, the Bronco was a premier midsize truck/SUV that conquered seemingly unconquerable terrain with ease. Countless drivers and owners modified this multipurpose vehicle in different ways to suit their personal needs to further enhance its legendary status. Best of all, the model was reliable, which is why you will find many Broncos still running in excellent condition today.
Unfortunately, Ford announced the end of the Bronco model lineup back in 1996. After a strong 30-year run, the model found its time had come as newer, larger SUV models became more popular and in demand. Recognizing that Ford needed to change with the times, the company made the hard decision to replace the model with something new. What type of SUV could handle the rigorous challenges and deliver the same performance/comfort the Bronco had for decades?
That was the Ford Expedition
As the first full-size SUV in the Ford lineup, the Expedition carried over many of the successful design elements of the Bronco while updating the platform with the latest and greatest in automotive technology. This trend of creating and re-creating the expected capabilities of an SUV continues to this very day in the Ford Expedition lineup. Now in its fourth generation, the Expedition shows no signs of slowing down as it moves into the future.
The Basics Of The Expedition
The introduction of the Ford Expedition marked a significant change for Ford as it focused on more family-friendly vehicles that were larger in size. Quite often, a change like this is made out of necessity due to everchanging demand by consumers. More and more customers were returning to SUVs as a primary mode of transportation. With larger families and greater commutes, there was a growing need for SUVs that could handle a lot of people or cargo without turning into a truck.
These needs and demands of the modern driver are the catalysts that drove the creation of the Ford Expedition. With the ability to carry up to nine passengers, it had plenty of interior space for the average size family and some extra cargo or toys as well. Ford also took the time to create an interior that emphasized comfort and ergonomics over mere space alone. Later generations featured bucket seats for increased comfort and folding rear rows to increase the square footage of the cabin space.
The area where the Expedition has really excelled has been in engine performance. Somehow, Ford has managed to create engine options that have the perfect balance between power output and fuel efficiency. While midsize and smaller SUVs will get better fuel economy, the Expedition does a great job of keeping its mileage per gallon up even when offering horsepower in the range of 300 to 500 HP.
The extra power from the Expedition comes in handy in a variety of driving conditions. In urban environments, horsepower helps larger vehicles of this size accelerate with traffic without struggling to keep up. Combined with an all-wheel-drive train and excellent disc brakes on each wheel, the Expedition is right at home when traffic starts and stops on a regular basis.
Out in the country and off-road, the Expedition retains the Ford Bronco’s recipe for success. Offering great ground clearance and grip with intelligent traction control, the Expedition can navigate challenging terrain when necessary. For the off-roading adventure, you can also add accessories such as a power wench and roof racks to carry supplies, toys, and other additions along for the adventure.
The 2018 Ford Expedition
The Ford Expedition has been around for two-thirds of the Ford Bronco’s original run. For over two decades, the Expedition has continued to push the envelope in terms of off-road worthy performance and family-friendly comfort/safety. 2018 marks the next drastic revolution in this popular line. Introducing the fourth generation, the 2018 Ford Expedition has even more to offer a whole range of customers and drivers.
Sporting a new look, the Expedition actually has much of the same design as previous generations. This is because Ford has designed a great full-size SUV from the very start. When something isn’t broken, don’t try and fix it.
This means the 2018 Ford Expedition features the same body-on-frame chassis design made of a mixture of steel and aluminum for a lightweight build. Similar to the F-150, much of the Expedition’s weight is reduced thanks to the use of aluminum alloy in key areas like the chassis.
To stay ahead of the curve in off-roading technology, the 2018 model comes with a four-wheel independent suspension system for better handling and traction control. Combined with the new ten-speed automatic transmission with intelligent electronic shifting, the Expedition drivetrain is the perfect choice for handling the type of terrain that would stop other SUVs dead in their tracks. A terrain management system is also included so the driver can select the appropriate handling settings depending on the driving conditions.
The engine options of the Expedition continue on the tradition of high-power and great fuel efficiency rolled up into one. Borrowing the same engine technology as the Ford F-150, the main powerplant is a 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 that can offer around 350 hp and 425 pound-feet of torque.
On the inside, the Expedition has much of the same convenience and safety features with a redesigned look. The three-row layout features ventilated seats, power folding second and third row headrests, and optional sliding bucket seats. For technology, the infotainment system uses an 8-inch LCD screen connected to optional turn by turn navigation, voice activation, vehicle settings, and much more. Six USB ports staggered throughout the interior provide a constant supply of power to smart devices as well. If you enjoy listening to music during the daily commute, the standard Harmon 12 speaker audio system will be a welcome addition.
Continuing The Tradition
The original Ford Bronco was a bit of a mystery to customers when Ford first introduced it. Unlike full-size trucks, it was smaller and nimbler. Compared to typical cars, on the other hand, it was large and unwieldy. Over time, however, the Bronco managed to create a niche that would eventually become the SUV market as we know it today.
The Ford Expedition, as a Bronco successor, has continued to define this niche and shape the expectations we have of full-size SUVs. From having a reliable daily commuter to a vehicle that can handle the rigors of rural and off-road environments, the Expedition has the right combination of performance, convenience, and safety most people require from a full-size SUV.
Even though Ford will reintroduce the Bronco in 2020, the Ford Expedition has created its own place in automotive history as a trend setting full-size vehicle millions of Ford customers enjoy each year.