Taming the beast: what’s it like to drive the Ford Expedition

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To ride an Expedition as a passenger is to feel comfortable, safe and secure. To drive it is to feel perfectly in control of yourself and the world around you.

As a full-size SUV, the Ford Expedition is H-U-G-E. I can imagine being a high-flying tycoon or a corporate bigshot, sliding into the second row seat and taking an extended snooze while stuck in rush hour traffic.

With all that space, I might as well be in a mobile home, cocooned in my not-so-little world, free from the realities of urban roads.

But that fantasy implies I employ a driver to ferry me around wherever I need to go.

What if it were me behind the wheel of the Expedition? How fantastic would it be then? I didn’t have to imagine.

For exactly one week, I drove myself around in Ford’s biggest SUV.

I’ve taken the wheel of numerous other hulking gas-guzzlers but none compares to the sheer size and heft of the Expedition.

Longest SUV

At 5,665 millimeters, it’s perhaps the longest SUV plying Philippine roads today.

To illustrate just how massive this vehicle is, after I picked up a friend, her first comment from the second row seat was the space: “I feel like I’m in my living room,” she said, her arms fully extended on both sides and her legs stretched out in front of her.

Behind the wheel, it was easy to pretend that I was taking command of a ship rather than an automobile.

Seat adjustments were completely automated. There was a rotary dial to switch gears instead of the traditional stick, and the infotainment system was initially initimidating but proved to be a quick study.

Even opening the doors that automatically lowered an extra footstep on both sides of the vehicle to reach the interior was a nifty feature that never got old.

If, like me, your everyday drive is a sedan, to suddenly shift to the Expedition understandably takes some getting used to.

Because of just how big the car is, you’re hyper-aware of your immediate surroundings, and give yourself extra room to maneuver when making turns.

Parking challenge

Parking was another challenge.

The first few times, I was paranoid about making a disastrous miscalculation, but it didn’t take long before I was making allowances for the extra length and breadth.

It certainly helped that the Expedition had park assist.

You’d think a vehicle of this size would be a bit clumsy and awkward, but I found the complete opposite to be true.

Leaner, meaner ride

The 2018 edition’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine might be smaller than the typical V8 engines of this class (like the Chevy Suburban), but that just meant a leaner, meaner, faster ride.

Seat adjustments are completely automated. Because of the Expedition’s length, there’s generous space for the family.

Compare the Expedition’s 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque to the Suburban’s 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, and the distinction is immediately evident.

For sure, the Expedition would be extremely useful for a family of five or more (plus a dog or two) that often takes out-of-town, off-roading trips.

There’s even room for cargo like suitcases or camping gear at the back.

Just make sure you’re prepared to spend for gas. I drove it mostly around the city, and got around 7 km per liter, a bit more when I drove my family for a quick trip to Nuvali.

Everything you’d want

Overall, Ford’s 2018 Expedition is everything you’d want—if you prefer to be a passenger, if you can afford a driver, and if you don’t mind the eye-popping gas bill.

But it works, too, if you’re the one who’s going to man the wheel.

On the road, the SUV’s extra heft somehow seeps into your head and inflates your ego, but not in a bad way. It’s a bit like being seen hobnobbing with VIPs and VVIPs.

To ride an Expedition as a passenger is to feel comfortable, safe and secure. To drive it is not unlike the feeling of taming the beast—it’s a confidence boost, and feeling perfectly in control of yourself and the world around you.



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