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The large SUV segment has been somewhat stagnant since many consumers abandoned them in favor of more efficient crossovers or more powerful pickup trucks, but there has been a recent renaissance in the segment as manufacturers begin releasing newer versions of the old classics.
The all-new 2018 Ford Expedition is the latest of these arrivals, giving buyers better mileage through its light body, which features plenty of aluminium and high-tensile strength steel, as well as a very powerful engine in the form of a twin-turbocharged V-6. It is also filled to the brim with a variety of new and high-end technology features that are likely to impress new buyers and returning large SUV customers alike.
The new Expedition comes in two body types and three trim levels, as well as optional all-wheel drive as an alternative to the standard rear-wheel drive. The regular body type is still a very large vehicle, but the optional Expedition MAX adds significant amounts of space to both second-row and third-row seats that make them very comfortable for even particularly tall passengers. From there, buyers are offered three trim levels: the base XLT, a luxurious Limited, and a downright decadent Platinum.
Compare the 2018 Expedition XLT vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
The Ford Expedition has always been slightly more expensive than the base models of other large SUVs, and this year’s all-new model continues to follow that trend. To offset that, it also comes with a fair bit of standard equipment to make the investment worthwhile.
It comes with a power-folding third row and a very flexible second-row bench seat that can recline for comfort and slide around to make the third row easy to access. 18-inch wheels, steering wheel audio controls, rear parking sensors, and the SYNC infotainment system are all standard. The base SYNC system comes with a 4.2-inch screen, Bluetooth, voice commands, and satellite radio, as well as both USB and auxiliary inputs. It is linked to the standard nine-speaker stereo system.
As typical for Ford, there are a number of equipment bundles available, as well as several optional packages. The 201A Equipment Group adds power adjustments for front row seats, leather upholstery for the first two rows, and vinyl upholstery for the third. It also adds heated side mirrors, and a panoramic moonroof.
The 202A Equipment Group adds further comfort upgrades. The front seats are heated and cooled, the powered liftgate has hands-free opening, and there is an intelligent access key with push button and remote start. The steering column has a power tilt and telescope function with driver’s side memory, and the side mirrors are also power-folding. The steering wheel itself is also heated. It also adds an anti-theft system and the upgraded SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The 202A Equipment Group also comes with a number of active safety features. Those include the Driver Assistance Package, which combines a forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking with a lane keeping system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 202A Equipment Group also adds a blind spot warning system with rear cross traffic alert and a wireless charging area.
Aside from the two major equipment groups, there are also a few standalone upgrades available for the XLT. The Cargo Package adds crossbars to the roof rails and includes a cargo organizer for the rear cargo area. The Trailer Tow Package prepares the Expedition for towing, adding a heavy-duty radiator, trailer brake controller, trailer backup assist, limited slip differential, and a two-speed all-wheel drive system optimized for towing on the all-wheel drive models.
Finally, the FX4 Off-Road Package, which is only available with the 202A upgrade, adds premium off-road shock absorbers, the radiator and all-wheel drive system from the Trailer Tow Package, skid plates and underbody protection, special wheels, chrome running boards, and FX4 badging.
The Limited Expedition starts with some of the optional features of the XLT, as well as a few of its own additions. Hands-free liftgate, leather seats, blind spot monitors, and the SYNC 3 infotainment with wireless charging are all included in the base Limited equipment group. It also includes heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system. 20-inch wheels and LED taillights are also standard equipment on the Limited.
Like the XLT, it also has two optional equipment groups. The 301A Equipment Group adds the panoramic moonroof, a navigation system, and the Driver Assistance Package, which is the same as the XLT package with the same name. The 302A Equipment Group includes all of those features, plus 22-inch wheels with an adaptive damping system, a surround view camera, LED headlights and fog lights, and Enhanced Active Parking Assist, that lets the Expedition practically park itself.
The Limited also offers a larger selection of stand-alone options and packages than the XLT as well. The Driver Assistance Package, moonroof, and LED lighting are all available separately from the optional equipment groups. The trailer package from the XLT is also available on the Limited, and there are two more packages available as well.
The Special Edition Package bundles together the tow package, cargo package, Enhanced Active Parking Assist, and the LED lights, while the Rear Seat Entertainment System adds a rear seat entertainment system with two headrest-mounted touchscreens. It is also possible to upgrade the second-row bench to two bucket seats instead on the Limited.
Between both its standard equipment and a nice range of optional features, the Expedition XLT is a very strong entry-level trim. Almost all of the key features that buyers usually want from a full-size SUV are available, and all of the packages are fairly priced, offering a good degree of customizability.
The few major features that are not available on the XLT but are available on the Limited include the rear-seat entertainment, heated second row, second-row captain’s chairs, and premium audio.For buyers who absolutely need to have those features, the Limited upgrade makes sense. For everyone else, it is better to simply add more options to the XLT, as only a fully-loaded XLT comes anywhere close to the Limited starting price.
Compare the 2018 Ford Expedition Limited vs Platinum Trim Levels. What is the difference?
As the highest Expedition trim level, the Platinum comes with a full selection of equipment. Aside from the rear seat entertainment system, second-row bucket seats, and the two package, all of which are available options, the Platinum includes all standard and optional equipment from the lower models.
In addition to that, it also comes with its own special multicontour front seats designed to maximize comfort, as well as an upgraded engine that boosts the car’s power output to 400 horsepower over the 375 of the other two models.
The added power is pretty much the only reason for buyers to choose the Platinum model of the Expedition over the Limited. Aside from the upgraded front seat, the 25 extra horsepower is the only feature added by the Platinum that is not available on the Limited, and it comes at a $4,000 premium over the price of a similarly-equipped Limited model.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
Big, powerful, and customizable, the 2018 Ford Expedition redesign is certainly catapulting it near the top of many critics’ and buyers’ lists when it comes to new large SUVs. For the vast majority of shoppers, some variation of the XLT trim level will probably suit their needs perfectly.
The XLT in itself covers the full range from basic to near-luxury pretty well, missing only a few major features that require an upgrade to the Limited. While the Limited model does come at a slight premium over an XLT with the same equipment, it offers a greater range of option customizability.
For drivers who are including all of the Limited standard features in their XLT build, there may be a Limited configuration that allows them to get the equipment they need at a slightly lower price.
The Platinum is unlikely to be a popular choice, due to its high price and the lack of major exclusive features. It does have a stronger engine however, which could be attractive to some prospective buyers.
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