2015 Ford Expedition First Look
EcoBoost for All, Including New Platinum Series
With Texas being the largest market for full-size SUVs -- and the Dallas and Houston areas being the two largest cities for Ford sales -- the redesigned 2015 Ford Expedition will be shown this week at the 2014 Dallas Fort Worth auto show. Ford has revealed images and details of the updated eight-passenger SUV ahead of the show. Like the 2015 Lincoln Navigator shown at the 2014 Chicago auto show, the 2015 Expedition gets more of a mid-cycle refresh than a full redesign. The refresh includes updated styling, more available technology, a new trim level, and a new EcoBoost powertrain.
Up front, the 2015 Expedition's headlights and grille have been revised. Although the headlight housings carry over, the details have been updated with available projector lighting and new marker lights. The bold grille with four horizontal bars has been replaced with a trapezoidal grille with three wide U-shaped bars, while the Ford oval still floats in the center. The lower fascia now features a large trapezoidal air intake with a wide chrome bar at the bottom above the front tow hooks. A second chrome bar just above the lower bar is on the same plane as the available rectangular LED foglights that are mounted in two smaller outboard trapezoidal air intakes. Around back, a full-width chrome trim piece has been added to the rear hatch below the rear window and above the license plate, while the exhaust now features chrome tips. The 2015 Expedition also gets redesigned wheels, including available 22-inch alloys.
While the basic interior design carries over, the gauge cluster now features two 4.2-inch LCD color screens and the redesigned center stack features an available 8.0-inch touchscreen for SYNC with MyFord Touch. A 10-speaker, 700-watt Sony audio system, seven-color ambient LED lighting, smart key with push-button start, and rearview camera are available. New safety technologies include a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and Ford truck apps to assist trailer towing and off-road driving. Available in standard (119-inch) and extended EL (131-inch) wheelbase models with up to 108.3 cubic feet and 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively, the 2015 Expedition seats up to eight occupants in three rows. Although an independent rear-end makes the fold-flat third row possible, the completely redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL feature a live rear axle and fold-flat second- and third-row seats.
The 2015 Expedition returns in XLT, Limited, and King Ranch models, while the Ford F-150's popular Platinum series is now available on the eight-passenger SUV. Each trim level targets a different demographic: Ford considers XLT to be sporty, the Limited confident and elegant, while the urban Platinum is fresh and sophisticated. Inside, the Platinum model is available in a new Brunello leather (red wine color with tuxedo-stripe accents, and French stitching) or black leather with Agate Gray accents. Ford describes the Platinum model's leather "as buttery -- soft and smooth to the touch." While details of the King Ranch model will be revealed later, we expect that model to continue to appeal to real cowboys (and cowgirls) and cowboys (and cowgirls) at heart.
For 2015, the archaic 5.4-liter three-valve Triton V-8 is finally laid to rest. In its place sits the 3.5-liter direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6. Ford doesn't provide exact numbers, but power could be along the same lines of the Navigator's EcoBoost engine, which is said to produce "at least 370 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque." Regardless of the EcoBoost's final power ratings, we expect the engine to be an improvement over the 5.4-liter's 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The new engine is also expected to boast better low rpm torque and better fuel economy. Like the Triton engine, the EcoBoost is mated to a six-speed "SelectShift" automatic transmission that can be manually shifted via a rocker switch on the center console shifter. Rear-drive is standard and four-wheel-drive is optional. In comparison, the 2015 Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL are powered by a 355 hp, 383 lb-ft 5.3-liter direct-injected EcoTec3 V-8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The luxurious Yukon/Yukon XL Denali models come with the 420 hp, 450 lb-ft 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8.
While the Expedition is the only mainstream full-size SUV with an independent rear end, the 2015 model is enhanced with a new Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) with comfort, normal, and sport settings. The 2015 Expedition is the first Ford model to feature CCD. First seen on Lincoln vehicles, the CCD uses sensors to monitor 46 body, steering, and braking inputs to continuously adjust the damping system to control body motions and improve ride quality. The 2015 Expedition also features a variable electric power steering system that improves low speed maneuverability and high speed feel. The electric power steering is also more efficient than the outgoing model's pump-driven power steering.
Ford plans to invest $80 million into the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville where the Expedition/Expedition EL are built alongside the Navigator/Navigator L and F-Series Super Duty pickup. The investment will be used to improve automation and increase plant capacity. With a revised styling, the Platinum series trim level, a more powerful and efficient EcoBoost engine, and updated suspension, we expect the 2015 Expedition to retain current customers. And with more power than the equivalent GM SUVs, the redesign could bring more full-size SUV buyers into the Blue Oval stable. Expect the 2015 Ford Expedition to go on sale before the end of the year.