Back in November, Ford invited us out to the Malibu countryside for a first drive of their latest lineup. Contributing writer John Pangilinan was able to get behind of the wheel of the 2018 Ford Mustang, which he highlighted recently here. Now, here’s his thoughts on the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition. Read about his experience below.

As a new dad, I was intrigued to test out the all-new Ford Expedition. Throughout high school — and with three younger brothers — this was the vehicle my dad chose to haul us in. Fast forward to present day, with a small growing family, the Expedition (or another large family vehicle) could potentially be in the future.

One thing is clear, the Ford Expedition is large. With two sizes to choose from, the Expedition comes available in a 122.5-inch wheelbase and the extended Expedition Max, with a 131.6-inch wheelbase. Every inch is utilized with the three rows of seating with enough space to fit up to seven passengers. I found the rear seats to feel spacious and even the third row felt fine, although its probably better for kids. Entering and exiting the vehicle didn’t seem to be a problem either, which comes in handy with a full entourage in tow.

2018 Ford Expedition
via John Pangilinan / BallerStatus.com

The Expedition had all the amenities you could ask for in a large SUV, although once you build it up to the top of the line status, the price point can reach above the $80K mark. I especially liked the large and long sunroof, which made the cabin feel even more spacious.

Comfort is king when it comes to long road trips and I could easily imagine taking an extended family trip in this vehicle. The seats were plush and the leather soft. Passengers had plenty of cupholders, rear radio and a/c controls, and six available USB ports for additional convenience. The model we tested even came equipped with the 12-speaker B&O Play Premium Audio System by HARMAN (standard on limited models).

On the road, the Expedition surprisingly drove much like a smaller SUV, and with a bit of power to boot. The 3.5-liter V6 pumps out 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft of torque, with the Platinum trim version receiving 400 hp and 480 lb.-ft of torque. The automatic transmission moved smoothly and swiftly through the 10-speed transmission. Turns felt crisp and sharp despite the size, but we’ll get into that more in a bit. Parking was a breeze with the parking sensors and rear back-up camera. For a large SUV and for its class, the Expedition gets up to 20 miles per gallon combined (17 city and 24 highway).

Where the Expedition really shined — and came as a bit of a shock — was on the trails. For the first time, Ford is offering an FX4 off-road package for the Expedition XLT. This is the model I would want. Within the package includes tuned dampers, skid plates, a heavy duty radiator, 18-inch all-terrain tires, and electronic limited slip differential. The vehicle also has plenty of ground clearance making this the choice for family adventures to go where no minivan has gone before.

2018 Ford Expedition
via John Pangilinan / BallerStatus.com

There is even seven driving modes: Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, Eco, Gras/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Mud/Ruts. I was able to take to the trails and test the Expedition on various inclines and declines on packed dirt and loose dirt. The vehicle handled like a champ, taking hairpin turns with ease through the off-road sections.

One other feature that is available is the heavy-duty tow package is Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist system. This was the first time I had ever tried to back up a trailer, but took advantage of the opportunity to test it out with the new Airstream in tow. The backup assist worked much like a video game by giving a bit of gas and controlling the wheels to direct the trailer where to go via a dial versus the steering wheel. It honestly took me a bit to get used to, but the truck practically drove itself.

2018 Ford Expedition
via John Pangilinan / BallerStatus.com

Overall, the Expedition is awesome and would make a great option for those with larger families looking for a stylish large SUV. If budget permits, the various packages are worth it especially if you want to take the family on outdoor camping adventures.