Ford's lumbering Expedition will live on for another day.
The automaker announced Wednesday that the full-size SUV would return for the 2015 model year, gaining a new engine, refreshed styling and a luxury edition.
The Expedition targets "more affluent customers who won't compromise -- they want space performance, comfort and capability all in one impressive package," Keith Wilson, the vehicle's marketing manager, said in the announcement.
The 2015 Expedition will face a dwindling customer base and stiff competition.
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But sales of all large truck-based family haulers are slipping. Full-size SUV sales fell to just 1.7% of the passenger vehicle market in 2013, a sharp decline from their 5.4% market share in 2001.
The lagging fortunes of these behemoths is due to the rising popularity of full-size crossovers. They offer nearly all the advantages of a full-size SUV, without the penalty in ride comfort or fuel economy.
Ford hopes the 2015 Expedition will address both shortcomings.
The new model jettisons a V-8 engine in favor of a smaller, less-thirsty EcoBoost V-6. The 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged engine makes 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It's bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission, and offers best-in-class towing at 9,200 pounds, Ford said.
Ford hasn't announced fuel economy numbers yet for the new Expedition, but says it will beat the outgoing 5.4-liter V-8 in efficiency, power and performance.
Ford engineers targeted ride comfort with a new continuously controlled suspension system. This setup will be standard on all models. It reads 46 different inputs and adjusts the suspension accordingly, Ford says. Drivers can also choose from comfort, normal and sport settings.
The 2015 model also gets additional sound deadening, revised door seals and acoustic glass to help improve quiet and comfort. A redesigned dashboard will feature an optional 8-inch touchscreen navigation screen with Ford's SYNC system. Other options include radar-based blind-spot monitoring, Sony audio system, push-button start, backup camera and parking sensors.
A Platinum model joins the existing lineup, and will target urban buyers with high-end leather seats and interior trim. The XLT, Limited and King Ranch versions return. All models get a refreshed face, with a sleeker grille, headlights and front bumper.