Ford 'embarks' on its brand new Expedition this month

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If you’ve been waiting to see the brand new 2015 Ford Expedition at your local Pittsburgh area Ford dealership, the wait should not be long. Ford is just starting to build its large SUV at its truck plant down in Louisville, KY, so the new 2015 Expedition should be in dealerships later this year.

The general sales manager of Day Ford, Al Pagliei, said that his dealership hopes to get the new model on the ground by December. They are taking orders for it now.

The 2015 Expedition has a refreshed look that Mr. Pagliei described as “sleek, less boxy and more aerodynamic.” It’s really more of an upgrade than an overhaul. The real news is that it will feature the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, the same engine that powers the F-150.

The direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost delivers more power and performance than the current 5.4-liter V8, but is designed to be more fuel-efficient. Although the new 2015 Expedition has not yet been rated for fuel economy, it should be lower than the outgoing model. Compared with the 5.4-liter V8, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost also offers more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds.

Mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the drivetrain delivers 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. If you have grown-up toys or horses, the Expedition can tow 9,200 pounds. It’s available in rear wheel or four-wheel drive, the latter preferred for winter driving, especially in the hills around our town.

While some people might be hesitant to drive a larger SUV because of the sight lines and shear size, the Expedition today is loaded with technologies that make it much easier to drive. With features like lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, these vehicles almost drive themselves. Although, if you’re thinking of putting an Expedition in a garage, be sure to use your tape measure.

Another perceived drawback to a full-sized SUV like the Expedition is its full-boxed frame undercarriage, which many think is too bouncy on the highway. Ford has pulled a feature from Lincoln called continuously controlled damping that will be available for the first time on a Ford nameplate. It will also make Expedition the only Blue Oval-branded vehicle in the United States with three selectable drive modes: comfort, normal and sport.

A vehicle with poor damping feels as if it is bouncing on its suspension springs, while 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.

While simple to use, the technology is quite complex. It uses a suite of sensors that detect 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs. The advanced suspension monitors body motion and then adjusts the Expedition’s damping system in milliseconds to manage the vehicle’s natural body motion.

The new Expedition also features Ford’s innovative electric power-assisted steering, another feature from Lincoln found on the Expedition’s upscale sister the Navigator. It offers drivers noticeably improved maneuverability at low speeds and better feel at high speeds. It also saves fuel because it operates more efficiently than traditional pump-driven systems. The technology reduces steering effort and makes the Expedition more fun to drive.

While there may be a consumer trend toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the luxury, comfort and capability afforded by a large SUV like the Expedition is still very much in demand, especially for those who need trailering, cargo or people-moving capabilities. A vehicle this size, said Mr. Pagliei, is best suited for “growing families, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts.”

Like 2014, the 2015 Expedition will be available in both standard and EL sizes, the latter slightly longer with second row doors that afford a little more accessibility to third row seats. The 2015 edition will also be available in XLT, Limited and King Ranch trims as well as a new upscale Platinum trim, which was made popular on the F-150.

The Platinum trim is a first for the Expedition, offering customers a choice of Brunello leather-appointed seats in a new red wine color with tuxedo-stripe accents and French-seamed stitching, or Ebony leather-appointed seats with Agate Gray accents.

With its new Platinum trim, EcoBoost powerplant, upgraded technology and ride, the Expedition should be even more popular with those who need its full-sized capability. Remember that whenever a new model year comes out, prices and deals on outgoing 2014 models get better. And the 2014 Expedition is a great vehicle in its own right. So, right now is a great time to buy, especially with the bad-weather driving season not too far off.

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