Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] has announced that it will be ditching the V-8 in a refreshed 2015 Expedition lineup, and instead using its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine in its largest, body-on-frame sport-utility vehicle.
The automaker says that the EcoBoost 3.5-liter produces more power and torque than the 5.4-liter V-8, while also improving fuel economy. It keeps the previous model's tow ratings (of up to 9,200 pounds), and should make the Expedition quicker and less cumbersome to drive.
The move is not tremendously surprising, as the company had already announced plans to install the engine into its 2015 Lincoln Navigator, which is closely related and also gets a modest refresh this year.
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With it, the 2015 Ford Expedition will be the most fuel-efficient model with the nameplate, ever, Ford says. Fuel efficiency gains should be significant over the V-8—likely in the vicinity of 2 mpg better, based on installation in the F-150 pickups. The current 2014 Ford Expedition returns an EPA-rated 13 mpg city, 18 highway with 4WD, or 14/20 with 2WD.
But the powertrain changes in the Expedition isn't the extent of what's changed this year.
New steering, sophisticated new suspension
Ford has also added a continuously damping system to the Expedition—for the first time ever on a Ford-brand vehicle. In the 2015 Expedition it will offer three modes—comfort, normal, and sport—and draw from 46 different sensors/inputs to make a split-second change according to the road surface, loading, or even steering inputs, for instance. The system is indeed paired with a version of Ford's electric power steering—also new to the Expedition.
On the safety front, Ford is adding a radar-based Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert. A rearview camera system is also included.
Cosmetic changes otherwise—plus MyFord Touch, at last
Of course, this is not a full redesign. Outside or inside, there's no disguising that other changes are mostly cosmetic. In front, there's a new grille and other details for a somewhat chunkier yet streamlined look (and further distancing, as we see it, from the new 2015 Ford F-150), while there's a thick new chrome strip across the back; wheel sizes now range up to 22 inches; and exhaust pipes are now chrome-tipped. As well, there are plush new upholsteries, and new trims for the Platinum model inside. Ford says that a King Ranch model is yet to come.
Inside, MyFord Touch has been placed front and center in a new center-stack design, and there's a driver information cluster with two smaller full-color 4.2-inch screens. Other new features include seven-color ambient lighting, Ford truck apps, for towing, and ten-speaker, 700-watt Sony sound system.
The 2015 Ford Expedition is expected to reach dealerships later this year.
(c) 2014, High Gear Media.