The new Expedition gets the off-road treatment
Competes with: Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada
Drivetrains: 375-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6; 10-speed automatic transmission; full-time selectable four-wheel drive
Hits dealers: Fall 2017
It's been a few years since Ford offered a true off-road package for the full-size Expedition, but the company is planning on doing so once again when the newly redesigned 2018 model hits dealer showrooms in the fall. The 2018 Ford Expedition FX4 Off-Road package adds a host of functional off-road features to the new aluminum-bodied full-size SUV, items that are more than cosmetic — they're designed to protect the truck and help buyers get over rough terrain. It's no Bronco, which has been promised for 2020, but it'll have to do until that dedicated Jeep Wrangler competitor gets here.
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Outside, there are a few visual cues to make the FX4 Off-Road package stand out. You can only select the FX4 as an add-on to the XLT trim, so this isn't the already-blinged-out version of the Expedition like the upper-level Platinum is. In addition to the sleek new styling of the '18 model, you get unique 18-inch gray-metallic wheels, chrome running boards and FX4 badging on the liftgate and fenders.
Inside, you don't really get anything more than the standard XLT trim, which is already very nice. The only addition to the interior for the FX4 package is new rubber floor liner mats that trap dirt, sand, mud, snow and other stuff that might get dragged into the interior while bounding through the woods.
Under the Hood
Power numbers are now available for the Expedition: The base Used Engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 making a very stout 375 horsepower and an impressive 470 pounds-feet of torque — that's the one you get with the XL, XLT and Limited trim models. The top Platinum trim comes with a slightly different tune, and will pump out 400 hp and 480 pounds-feet of torque if you run it on 93-octane premium fuel. Both Used Engine are mated to the new 10-speed automatic transmission, and if you've selected the FX4 package, you've also selected four-wheel drive.
You can leave the system in automatic, or select 2WD or 4WD yourself. There's also a new Terrain Management System that optimizes various vehicle electronic systems to adjust for whatever you're rolling over, be it sand, mud, snow, etc.
The FX4 package also includes a bunch of unique parts to help the Expedition in the rough. First is an electronic limited-slip rear differential with 3.73:1 gearing. Off-road-tuned shocks are fitted, as are all-terrain Michelin Primacy XC tires (tuned more for on-road driving than for true off-roading like the Chevrolet Tahoe Z71's Bridgestone KM2s).
But something the Tahoe doesn't have — seven different skid plates and shields to help protect the underside of the Expedition from damage, including turbocharger sand shields; steel plates guarding the steering gear, Used Engine , transmission and transfer case; and a full-length fuel tank plate, as well. The chin spoiler has also been shortened to improve approach angles for steep obstacles.
You can specify the FX4 for either the regular-length Expedition or the longer wheelbase Expedition Max. The new Expedition goes on sale in the fall, with the FX4 Off-Road version expected to be there in showrooms along with the rest of the versions when they arrive.