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New Generation Ford Expedition: Tested to Withstand the Middle East’s Toughest Conditions

From treacherous terrains to heat-soaked cities, every Ford vehicle undergoes thousands of hours of scrutiny by a team of hundreds of engineers, designers and technicians stationed around the globe long before it makes it to the showroom floor.

The new-generation Expedition is no exception. Almost a year to the day ahead of its Middle East market launch, in a sweltering corner of the desert near Dubai, a group of engineers is poring over the 2018 Expedition ahead of its first venture on to UAE sand.

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It’s mid-July 2017, and the temperature has already soared to close to 50 degrees Celsius. A breeze has kicked up, bringing with it clouds of swirling fine dust and sand – making the conditions extremely challenging for engineers. The new generation Expedition sits ready for the day ahead. External sensors are taped to its new aluminum bodywork, tyres have been deflated to offer better traction on sand, and final checks are made by the team – a collection of engineers from Dearborn, Michigan, and Ford’s own Middle East in-market product development team based in Dubai.

Expedition chief programme engineer Todd Hoevener is present, and explains, “In-market testing is to confirm the work we’ve done, and fine tune the product before it’s introduced. Our standards within Ford account for extreme conditions, so we developed this vehicle for global use. But it is very important to test in market, not only here but in other parts of the world, for final confirmation.

“Even though we simulate these temperatures in our labs and at our Arizona proving ground, this is a unique combination of both deep sand – which is very fine, versus the coarse sand we have in the States – as well as high temperatures. In addition, high winds with sand blowing really test the car’s ability to handle sand ingestion,” he adds.

Weather aside, the Middle East offers very unique circumstances for Ford’s engineering team to contend with. Vehicle use in this part of the world differs greatly to other areas; customers are more likely to take their SUVs offroad into the desert or onto a trail – and expectations on capability are set extremely high. While driving on the loose sand is fairly similar all over the world, desert driving in deep sand on a reasonably regular basis is something particular to this region – and customers expect SUVs to deliver where it counts.

At more than 5.3 metres long and 2.1 metres wide, the new generation Expedition is easily the most spacious desert-going eight-seat vehicle on the market. With a 400hp* and best-in-class 650Nm* EcoBoost engine, class-exclusive 10-speed transmission and advanced four-wheel drive system with two-speed transfer case, the Expedition is equipped to handle the Middle East’s toughest conditions. With a tailored Terrain Management System (TMS), mastering any surface – whether on the loose sand or on tarmac – is as easy as turning a dial.

“The off-road modes are designed to help drivers navigate conditions they may not be familiar with – like sand,” Hoevener explained. “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you as a driver when you’ve got your family and friends in the car? Getting stuck. Sand mode, if you’re not as skilled, just makes it enjoyable to drive – and you have that safety net of having the vehicle electronics there to help.”

Much of that learning comes from the long hours Ford’s team put into developing the car – and in-market testing is essential in fully understanding situations customers will face.

“During development, we drive to get stuck so that we know the limits of the vehicle. We then calibrate our engine management and Terrain Management System settings so that the next time we – or, ultimately, the customer – gets into that situation, the vehicle doesn’t get stuck again,” he said.

For Ford engineers, that means long days in the desert heat, and more days of on-road testing where the 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost faces challenging mountain roads at the height of the UAE summer, and city driving conditions in temperatures close to 50 degrees Celsius.

“It’s a very proud moment to see the vehicle perform well in these types of situations and drive it to see how the people in this market will be using the product. I’ve been on the programme since it started a few years ago, so it’s great to see it finally developed and in a market that clearly loves the Expedition,” Hoevener concluded.

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Our Desert Expedition Onboard the Best in Class Full Size SUV

20 years ago, the American manufacturer Ford launched the Expedition in its first version. Over the years, Ford has developed this massive SUV without any radical changes until 2018 when Ford released the All-New Generation 2018 of Ford Expedition, superbly revamped from inside out.

The All-New Ford Expedition is now more than ever suitable for adventure enthusiasts and at the same time is a family car taking into consideration its capabilities and massive size.

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To confirm on the above, our team embarked on a desert journey in the United Arab Emirates challenging the hot weather and the harsh gravel and sandy roads.

Our journey from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah started early in the morning, however, this time the trip was not on the usual paved roads, the Ford Expedition was set for an adventure like no other on the sandy dunes and gravel pathways.

Before we dive into the details of our Arabian desert adventure, let’s pause and have a glimpse on the exterior design fully revamped for the All-New Ford Expedition 2018. The front of the Full-Size SUV is characterized by a large chrome grille centring two newly designed C-shaped LED Headlights and coped with two fog lights reflecting the same spirit of the headlights, in addition to the aerodynamically designed air vents on the side and centre of the front bumper giving the Expedition that sportive character. Moving to the rear side of the SUV, we notice that the taillights are in perfect harmony with the headlights design and are connected via a chrome strip giving the 2018 Expedition that evolutionary design reflecting the technological revolution of the car.

In terms of smart upgrades on the Ford Expedition, the car has been equipped with more than 40 advanced technological features and is now considered to be the most capable Full-Size SUV in its class. Technology has intervened drastically during our journey to provide a distinctive style of driving. On any long desert journey, it is crucial to say connected at all times to avoid any unpleasant situation as sometimes your life and the life of the passengers depends on it. The Expedition comes equipped with a wireless charger (the first system implemented on Ford vehicles) needed to keep your mobile phone insight and connected at all times through the SYNC® 3 ™ Apple CarPlay ™ and Android Auto. The most important feature of this system is that it gives the driver a comprehensive offline road-map for the Middle East much needed when it comes to desert Off-Roading driving Journeys as it was the case with our Desert Expedition. In addition, and because the Expedition is considered as well as a family car, the American manufacturer has equipped the rear seats with a dual headrest entertainment system that enables rear seat passengers to enjoy long journeys. This feature greatly contributes to the satisfaction of children on long journeys and gives the driver and his companion some quiet and enjoyable time during those long drives.

As for us, we were 6 adults seated comfortably inside the Ford Expedition that can accommodate up to eight people with enough space to set up our equipment and baggage. The guys in the back were enjoying that extra headroom and legroom in the 2nd and 3rd row since the Expedition is considered to be the Best in Class for 2nd and 3rd row Space. Not just that, we were in for an entertaining journey, as the Ford Expedition comes equipped with the notorious B&O PLAY audio system setup with 12 speakers providing an audio experience that can only be appreciated by music lovers.

What is the Desert Journey If we cannot enjoy the wonderful sceneries of the Arabian Desert from all sides, even from the roof? The Ford Expedition is equipped with the Vista Roof a panoramic roof over two rows of seats and is also the best in its class. Our trip was unique and convenient at all levels.

In terms of storage, you can use, in addition to the large storage capacity in the trunk, additional cargo space by folding the seats in the third row or even in the second row with a touch of a button. And guess what? when parked on an inclining hill the Advanced cargo manager keeps hold of your items so it doesn’t fall off when opening the trunk, I think they should consider that system in airplanes.

Mechanically, the Ford Expedition is equipped with a powerful upgraded 3.5-liter V6 Twin Turbo EcoBoost engine coped with a 10-Speed Automatic Gearbox developed exclusively for the Expedition capable of generating 400 horsepower with the best in class Torque of 650Nm and is at the same time the most fuel efficient in its class.

Continuing with our desert adventure, we were faced with various types of terrains, from sandy dunes to gravel and a mix of both, the New Terrain Management system was capable of overcoming any type of pathways that came in our way, the Ford Expedition is equipped with an Intelligent 4WD drive setup with more than 12 driving modes ready to tackle that adventurous excursion in the simplest forms possible. Even if you are not into off-roading, your family or friends journey into the unpaved universe will be pleasant and enjoyable.

On the paved roads and for more comfort and safety, the full-size SUV has obtained several Driving assistance features such as: Class-exclusive enhanced active park assist, 360-degree camera technology, Lane Assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, collision avoidance detection system, BLIS and so much more.

The All-New 2018 Ford Expedition has set new standards for full-size SUVs with the highest levels of power, capability, adaptability and smart technology. This versatile SUV makes modern family adventures more comfortable on short and long journeys.

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Five ways Ford can help you to make your Mother’s Day special

Many mums face a busy day from the moment they wake – so this Mother’s Day March 21, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what you may be able to do to help make her day a little more special.

Why not treat your mum to a day out – and let Ford take care of you both along the way?

Thankfully, Ford has a range of technologies that can help you to plan your day and also make the journey a lot of fun, regardless of the road and traffic conditions.

Get the party started or laugh your head off with mum. Why not put together a playlist of your mum’s favourite tunes for an impromptu karaoke session in the car? It doesn’t matter if you’re both pitch perfect or totally off-key, you’ll have a great time as you belt out lyrics at the top of your voices. If you want to share the laugh, why not load up her favourite talk show on podcast instead? Ford’s SYNC™ 3 can play music and podcast directly from your Apple or Android device or, if you prefer, MP3 and other files from a USB stick.

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Take your mum to her favourite restaurant. A nice meal with your mum has to be special this Mother’s Day. Why not taking her out to the restaurant she always took you growing up? Can’t remember the directions to your mum’s favourite restaurant? SYNC™ 3’s navigation system will get you there with turn by turn instructions, leaving you more time to catch up with your mum. If you need to make a reservation, SYNC™ 3’s hands free calling will help connect you with the restaurant.

Pamper your mum with new bags and shoes. Retail therapy is a great way to pass the time and treat your mum. And, if you find you’ve got your hands full when you get back to the car, Ford’s hands-free foot-activated liftgate makes loading the boot easy. All you need to do is move your foot toward and under, then away from the rear bumper (similar to a kicking motion) to open the hatch. So long as the keyfob is close to the car (in your bag or pocket), the hatch will open.

Keep mum comfortable. If you’re planning a longer journey, Ford’s multi-contour seats with Active Motion® will help alleviate some of the tension of the drive by delivering a gentle massage. Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control (DEATC) automatically maintains separate preferred temperatures, so front passengers can set the temperature they prefer.

Safety is paramount. Always make your journeys safe. Ford is packed with technology to ensure you are both safe on the road. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert helps drivers change lanes or back out of a parking space with confidence. BLIS®) can alert the driver when a vehicle enters the blind spot zone, while Cross-Traffic Alert warns of traffic approaching from the sides when the vehicle is in reverse, such as backing out of a parking space. Adaptive Cruise Control provides everything conventional cruise control does — keeps a constant speed without having to work the brake or accelerator pedals — plus, it automatically maintains a comfortable preset gap distance from vehicles ahead. It can also bring the vehicle to a stop and resume acceleration automatically. That not only cuts stress, but makes driving much safer for everyone on the road.

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