This one slipped by me yesterday! Ford has revealed the 2015 Expedition ahead of its public debut soon at the Dallas-Fort Worth Auto Show. Why Texas?
This is a huge market for the largest automobiles on Earth, and a significant earner for Ford Trucks. Dallas and Houston are the first and second top-selling DMA’s for the Expedition since 2011.
In addition, the smaller show should ensure a bit more attention on the Expedition versus competing for flashbulbs in LA, Detroit or Chicago.
The new Expedition wears a new front end with optional LED lighting down below — but like the Navigator, appears to maintain much of its current design and platform. This is a bit surprising versus the new F-150, which is almost a clean-sheet redesign.
Here is the current state of full-size affairs from the market leaders Ford and General Motors, which are on almost totally different update cycles these days.
Perhaps that (Car-Revs-Daily exclusive!) chart isn’t necessary to illustrate my point. The Tahoe/Suburban and F-150 are seriously new platforms, while the new Expedition/Navigator and 2014 Silverado are still in line for these big updates further into the future. Hopefully that makes sense.
Will this matter to Ford and Chevy’s many loyal shoppers? Buyer priorities are solved by both update methods: new and leaner engines, better cabin technology, and lightly-refreshed exterior styling.
Sidebar: The superficial update, while keeping the cars appealing, dramatically reduces the Expedition and Silverado’s likelihood of conquest sales (to folks new to the brand.) This is because the cars simply are not as fresh.
On to the new 2015 Expedition!
A new continuous damper system promises a better ride/handling balance than the old trucks. This is important because full-size SUVs have a huge range of uses — and need to excel in all of them to justify their cost.
This new Ford system can be thought of as an air-ride and mag-ride alternative.
How to make Expedition ride well when empty, carrying 8 passengers, or carrying a full interior load and also a boat out back? Very daunting!
But air-leveling in just the back of the previous trucks basically made the rear end rock-hard when towing — which made riding in the third row a bit bumpier than is comfortable on a Texas-sized road trip.
Ford’s excellent (and updated) 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 also joins the Expedition for the first time as a 2015 model year — bringing vastly-superior throttle responsiveness, power in all scenarios, and especially light cruising economy.
As before, the Expedition will be offered in standard or Extended Length EL versions, with the EL shown directly below.
Timing on the 2015 Expedition’s arrival in stores was not disclosed, but the handsome new full-size Ford SUVs will come in four flavors:
— King Ranch (to be revealed later this year)
Official Details below from Ford.
FORD REVEALS 2015 EXPEDITION WITH ECOBOOST ENGINE, ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY, NEW PLATINUM SERIES
2015 Ford Expedition will feature 3.5-liter, direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® engine popular in Ford F-Series; engine designed to deliver most powerful, fuel-efficient Expedition ever
Advanced technology in new Expedition includes Blind Spot Information System® with cross-traffic alert, electric power-assisted steering, SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, available suspension damping to improve passenger comfort; a new high-trim Platinum series debuts
Ford global utility vehicle sales rose 35 percent in 2013; Ford has been the leader in North America utility vehicle sales since 2011
The new 2015 Ford Expedition, revealed here today ahead of the 2014 DFW Auto Show, continues to represent the smart choice for people who need a full-size utility vehicle that provides capable performance, usable space and advanced technology.
Expedition now features Ford F-Series’ popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, more technology than ever and a fresh new look. Launching later this year, it is the latest Ford nameplate to offer a Platinum series. Expedition is being shown for the first time in Texas, Ford’s largest market by sales volume, and home to the top two cities for Expedition sales – Dallas and Houston.
Expedition debuted in 1996 and is Ford’s largest utility vehicle. By most measures, it is a leader in interior space, accommodating eight passengers. Two versions are offered – the standard 119-inch wheelbase is just more than 6 inches longer than Ford Explorer. It has three rows of seats and up to 108.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The longer-wheelbase version sits on a 131-inch wheelbase, and features three rows of seats and up to 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Expedition remains the only full-size utility vehicle not classified as a luxury offering to feature an independent rear suspension. This helps deliver more confident ride and handling characteristics, and allows for the lower, more convenient fold-flat third-row bench seat.
Both standard and EL versions of Expedition are built at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, alongside Ford’s popular Super Duty pickup. Last month, the company confirmed plans to add more workers and invest an additional $80 million in facility upgrades to improve automation and increase capacity at the plant.
Ford is responding to strong customer feedback and introducing a top-of-the-line Platinum series Expedition with unique, premium interior appointments. The new vehicle features the latest popular technologies like SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, push-button start and Blind Spot Information System®. A new 3.5-liter, direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost delivers more power and performance than the current 5.4-liter V8, and is designed to be more efficient.
“This new Expedition is proof Ford is committed to remaining the leader in utilities – small, medium and large,” said Jackie DiMarco, Expedition chief engineer. “We listened to our customers and created a full-size utility vehicle that doesn’t compromise in performance, technology or design.”
Improved on the road
From the outset, engineers worked to make the 2015 Expedition a technologically advanced vehicle that is easy to drive and offers refinement for all types of drivers.
The new EcoBoost engine dramatically changes the driving characteristics of Expedition. Compared with the 5.4-liter V8, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost gives drivers not just better fuel economy, but more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds.
“Expedition becoming the latest Ford utility vehicle to wear the EcoBoost badge will be exciting for customers,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Increased torque and horsepower, combined with new levels of efficiency and an advanced suspension not only will make Expedition more fun to drive, but also easier to own. This is another ‘and’ solution from Ford.”
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost will be the only engine offered in the new Expedition in North America. To maximize performance and control, the vehicle is equipped with a six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission featuring a manual mode that allows the driver to use a shift-mounted rocker switch to select the desired gear.
With EcoBoost now standard equipment across the 2015 Expedition range, the entire U.S. lineup of Ford utility vehicles will be available with EcoBoost power by the end of 2014.
New continuously controlled damping, available for the first time on a Ford nameplate, will make Expedition the only Blue Oval-branded vehicle in the United States with three selectable drive modes – comfort, normal and sport.
Using a suite of sensors that detect 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs, the advanced suspension monitors body motion and then adjusts Expedition’s damping system in milliseconds to manage the vehicle’s natural body motion. A vehicle with poor damping feels as if it is bouncing on its suspension springs; continuously controlled damping recognizes the weight of the vehicle, steering feedback and road undulations and then reacts accordingly, helping to control body motion so passengers experience an orderly, comfortable ride.
The new Expedition also features Ford’s innovative electric power-assisted steering, which gives drivers noticeably improved maneuverability at low speeds and better feel at high speeds, and saves fuel because it operates more efficiently than traditional pump-driven systems. The technology reduces steering effort and makes Expedition more engaging to drive.
More technology customers want
The new Expedition debuts with popular technology upgrades consumers are now demanding, including SYNC with MyFord Touch and driver-assist features such as radar-based Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.
The updated interior of Expedition incorporates a fresh center stack to accommodate new technologies, such as an 8-inch touch screen for SYNC with MyFord Touch. The driver information cluster features two full-color 4.2-inch LCD screens.
Other new technologies on the 2015 Expedition include a 10-speaker, 700-watt Sony audio system; Intelligent Access with push-button start; rearview camera; seven-color, interior ambient LED lighting; and Ford truck apps to help make trailer towing and off-road driving easier.
Fresh style and design
The new Expedition pushes full-size utility vehicle design to a higher level, with fresh interior and exterior styling and a diverse series lineup – each with a distinct look and feel to give customers more choice than ever. A Platinum trim package, which has been very successful on Ford F-Series, will be available on Expedition for the first time.
“The Platinum series brings Expedition into a whole new arena of design and style,” said Scott. “One of the strengths of Expedition has always been the different trim series we offer. From XLT to Limited and now with Platinum, we have an Expedition that will fit any customer’s needs.”
The Platinum series is tailored with lush leather seating described by designers as buttery – soft and smooth to the touch. It’s available in a new Brunello leather, a red wine color with tuxedo-stripe accents and French-seamed stitching. Platinum customers can also choose black leather with Agate Gray accents.
Beyond the new Platinum series, the 2015 Expedition lineup includes the XLT, Limited and a new King Ranch edition to be revealed later.
The design team, finding inspiration in the world around them, incorporated different themes to define the look for each series. The intent was to reflect a consumer lifestyle, from the sporty XLT, to the confident, elegant Limited, to the sophisticated, urban Platinum. Each series has unique finishes specially selected to reflect the lifestyle and desires of the customer. For example, Expedition Limited features refined yet traditional finishes, while for the Platinum edition, the colors and material finishes are fresh and sophisticated.
The Expedition exterior has been updated with an all-new front end featuring available LED fog lamps for a fresh, aggressive look.
An all-new wheel lineup including factory-installed 22-inch models, a redesigned rear hatch and subtle, chrome-tipped exhaust pipes round out the exterior changes to the 2015 Expedition.
With this new model debuting at the DFW Auto Show – deep in the heart of the full-size utility vehicle market – Ford is building on a successful tradition of Expedition capability and quality with significant improvements in design, performance, efficiency and available technology.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.