The Ford Expedition has been a mainstay in Ford’s truck and SUV lineup since the late ’90s. The truck was originally based on the new-for-’97 F-150 and has gone through several significant updates along the way that has kept the family workhorse relevant. Look closely though, and you will see some windshield and door glass that has carried on since that 1998 introduction. To say, then, that we welcome a truly all-new platform for the Expedition is a bit of an understatement. The standard Expedition returns while the long wheelbase EL version is redubbed Expedition MAX which accommodates an additional 16.8 cubic feet of cargo. Like the outgoing model there is no V8 available. The Expeditions borrows the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost from the F-150 so expect about 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. While a V6 may seem like not enough engine for such a large vehicle consider that the 2018 Expedition sheds up to 300 pounds over the 2017. Also consider that the original Expedition offered a standard 215 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, so we’re sure this engine will continue to prove itself useful. That 300 pound weight reduction, by the way, is thanks to an aluminum intensive body which no doubt shares lessons learned from the recently revamped F-150. Trick features in the new SUV include a hinged shelf/organizer referred to as the Advanced Cargo Manager, second row seats that can tip and slide with a child seat in place, a reclining 3rd row seat, Sync 3 infotainment system, and available connectivity to home cable TV by means of Sling. Expect to see the Expedition and Expedition MAX in Ford dealerships in the fall of 2017.
Ford is pushing new updates out to it’s bread and butter truck and celebrating its 40 years of sales leadership with more power, a new look and a 10-speed automatic paired with all but the base engines. The best way to identify the 2018 models is with the two bars stretching across the entire span of the grille. Every trim features a different grille finish to further identify them and the top trims are more luxurious than ever. We don’t have final power figures but Ford did announce that a diesel is joining the lineup, albeit not until mid-2018. For now we will have to be content that the blue oval continues to refine their best seller.
Now on the market for ten years, Ford is not satisfied to rest on its laurels as it continues to use its midsize Fusion to scrape sales away from the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Ford has massaged the front fascia slightly, added optional LED headlamps, and introduces a rotary shift knob that replaces the more conventional console shift lever. The Fusion Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid both remain available, the latter of which offers options for monitoring and scheduling charging through the MyFord Mobile app. Those who want to wring a little bit more fun out of their commute should look to the Fusion Sport which offers a 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost V6 as well as all-wheel drive. A Platinum trim level offers a unique front grille and 19” polished-aluminum wheels. Three EcoBoost engines are offered across the range with the 1.5L and 2.0L 4-cylinders in addition to the Sport-exclusive 2.7L V6. Sadly, it appears that the rare manual transmission has been cut from the line-up.
Ford Performance saw a golden opportunity with the introduction of the aluminum bodied F-150. If the outgoing Raptor was a good thing, certainly a 500 lb. lighter model would be an irresistible follow up. Emblazoned with its trademark F-O-R-D lettering spanning the width of the grille, flared fenders and curious running lights in the grille, this Raptor looks poised to continue to win the praise of the off-roading crowd. The 2016 Raptor is powered by an all-new high output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that Ford claims will better the current 6.2-liter V8’s 411 horsepower and 434 lb. ft. of torque while burning less fuel. All this power is transferred via an all-new 10 speed automatic transmission which can be manually shifted using paddles. Featuring FOX Racing Shox and increased suspension travel, Ford assures that the Raptor is ready to combat the toughest terrain. The flared body panels are a full six inches wider than the standard F-150. No fewer than six drive modes are selectable for driving on all sorts of terrain including normal, street, weather, mud, baja and rock. For those who want a truck that can do more than simply shuttle lumber home from the hardware store, the Raptor looks to continue to please. Unfortunately, you’ll be waiting until the fall of 2016 to drive one home.
We didn’t expect a follow up to the mighty GT supercar at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, but that is exactly what we got thanks to Ford’s heavy emphasis on performance and nobody on the AT Staff is complaining. With a far more expressive and modern design this time around the new GT looks ready to line up next to anything from Lamborghini or Ferrari, and with a twin turbo V6 making 600+ hp sitting midship, the performance should be exceptional. Large carbon ceramic brakes and performance tires from Michelin are also included and the best part by far: Ford is building it next year.
Not content to have the Chevrolet Camaro nipping at its heals with such headline models as the ZL1 and Z/28, Ford has added a track package to the Mustang portfolio dubbed the Shelby GT350R. Ford claims the GT350R is the most track-capable production Mustang ever and yet is fully road-legal. Some of the enhancements above and beyond the standard Shelby GT350 include the industry’s first ever carbon fiber wheels, Ford’s first production V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, and a specially tuned suspension. The deck-lid features a wild rear wing constructed of carbon fiber as well as a revised front splitter to maximize down force. The GT350R manages to be the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine in history with more than 500 fire breathing horses and north of 400 lb-ft of twist. If this combination of power, performance and style isn’t enough for you, just wait. Ford Performance is promising at least 11 more tantalizing vehicles by 2020.
The Ford Mustang is an icon like no other so when a new one debuts the world pays attention. We were able to lay eyes on the new ponys at the NAIAS and came away pleased with the significant update that arrives just in time for the model’s 50th Anniversary. Gone is the solid rear axle so we expect a new level of handling finesse without the side skip you used to get on broken pavement. We’re also fans of the revised profile and sportier greenhouse with cleaner lines and a dramatically sloped rear fastback shape. Up front the wide grille remains tough looking and instantly recognizable. The rear end is visually reduced from the last generation and sportier looking as a result. The 5.0 V8 remains the top engine and the 3.7-liter V6 serves as the base motor but a new 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder will slot in the middle as an efficient option with more than 300 horsepower. The interior remains mostly retro inspired but with improved materials and easier to use controls to access the latest connectivity and infotainment options. Of course the usual bevy of special editions will start debuting before long but for now we’re happy to report the world can breathe easy because the Mustang GT lives up to its iconic status.
The big guns don’t get any bigger than the F-150. Just consider that it’s been the best selling vehicle in America for decades and represents a majority of Ford’s profits through the years and you’ll understand why it’s absolutely critical that Ford deliver an outstanding lineup that will last 6-8 years against relentless competition. Ford has done just that by pushing the boundaries of manufacturing to make nearly all of the F-150’s body out of aluminum contributing to a massive 700 pound weight reduction compared to the outgoing model. With more high strength steel in the chassis Ford will deliver a more efficient truck that offers even greater capacity for hauling and towing. Powertrain engineers were also hard at work developing a new 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6 to slot in as a mid-range engine above the naturally aspirated base V6. Although power output was not announced, Ford assures us it will compete favorably with competitor’s small V8s while returning far better mileage. The interior hasn’t been overlooked either with improved materials, helpful new apps on the infotainment system to aide in towing and off-roading, and an enormous glass roof to bring an open, airy feel to the crew cab interior. With handsome new looks derived from last year’s Atlas Concept we expect Ford’s big gun to keep firing with all barrels.
We know that Ford also used its NAIAS spotlight to roll out an all new line of full-size Transit and smaller Transit Connect commercial vans, but believe us, the assembled press was much more excited about the biggest surprise of the show when an early peak at the 2015 F-150 descended from the ceiling of Joe Louis Arena. Called the Atlas Concept, Ford tipped its hand on a few details that could make the next F-150 the pickup to beat. Active wheel shutters, grille shutters and an automatically deploying chin spoiler help improve aerodynamics and a next-generation EcoBoost engine with start-stop technology would return substantial fuel economy improvements over today’s trucks. Unfortunately, no specifics were released about the engine but some other technologies like a 360-degree camera system and LED lighting are sure to make it to production trucks before long. The styling is also an unqualified home run and should allow Ford to steal the truck talk at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Read more…