Ford's big gamble with the Expedition SUV seems to have paid off

Ford ExpeditionFordAnd it gets 20 mpg!
  • Ford’s 2018 Expedition achieved a government-rated combined city-highway level of 20 miles per gallon.
  • That’s better than any other full-size SUV in the class.
  • The number vindicates Ford’s lightweighting strategy for pickups and SUV and proves that consumers will accept smaller engines.

When it comes to full-size SUVs, fuel-economy isn’t always top of mind for consumers. Seating capacity, cargo room, towing, and old-school power rank higher.

But good mpgs are always a welcome extra, and Ford is setting a new standard for the rear-wheel-drive version of its new 2018 Ford Expedition.

“It has an EPA-estimated rating of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined,” Ford said in a statement touting the numbers. The automaker cites the SUV’s aluminium construction, engine design and 10-speed automatic transmission for the achievement.

(The four-wheel-drive trim isn’t that much worse, with 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, according to government figures cited by Ford.)

The Expedition’s 20 mpg combined rating is just a bit better than the competition, notably the Chevy Suburban’s 19 mpg combined.

The boost in fuel economy can be chalked up to a pair of big risks that Ford took with its pickups and SUVs in 2014-16. First, turning to lightweight aluminium construction threatened consumer blowback and could have complicated the vehicle assembly process. But neither outcome came to pass.

Second, the introduction of race-proven, six-cylinder turbocharged engines could have alienated diehard V8 fans. But thus far owners have appreciated the improved fuel-economy with no loss of power or towing capacity.

Get the latest Ford stock price here.

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