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Ford SUV lineup grows at both ends

Autofile logo Autofile 2018-02-11 Joe Duarte
2018 Ford EcoSport© Provided by Autofile 2018 Ford EcoSport

Ford is burning its SUV-lineup candle at both ends, with the introduction to North America of the subcompact EcoSport and a new mammoth-sized Expedition.

2018 Ford EcoSport

“SUVs are hot, and we’ve brought two new ones to the fold that cater to two completely different sets of people,” said Michael O’Brien, Ford SUV marketing manager. “Whether you’re downsizing but still want SUV capability, or looking for more space for your growing family, the Ford lineup has you covered.”

Available since 2004 and now in its second generation, EcoSport comes to North America in the midst of a worldwide sub-compact SUV boom that has seen segment sales triple in the past three years, and North American sales increased more than 50-fold in this decade, as more models from more companies come on-stream, and as consumers buy into the SUV capabilities without SUV fuel-economy mindset.

The second-generation EcoSport has been available in other parts of the world since 2013, but its exterior design was refreshed for 2017, with a revised front end that bears the now familiar Ford large-hexagonal-grille nose. The rear has also been tweaked, while the interior gets updated with an 8-nch floating touchscreen, and connectivity that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The 2018 EcoSport lineup includes a front-wheel drive model powered by a 123-hp 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, and a 166-hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder 4-wheel drive model. Both models use a 6-speed paddle-shift automatic.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 2018 Expedition comes to market in large and larger sizes (Expedition and Expedition Max, respectively), both powered by a 375-hp 3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6, which can tow up to 4,218 kg (when properly equipped), using a 10-speed paddle-shift automatic.

Ford expects Expedition to be popular with the older Millennials, which are heading into the 40s, now the largest buying demographic for 3-row SUVs. And because of its overall size, Expedition offers up first-class-like room and comfort.

The cargo area also features a cargo management system that allows stowing items in levels for ease of loading up and reaching in.

Both SUVs will be supported with new multi-channel marketing campaigns the show the vehicles in the various ways in which owners use them.

“The Ford SUV story is not so much about people conquering terrain, but rather people conquering life,” said O’Brien. “Both campaigns emphasize the people over the vehicle.”

“Both campaigns work on such an emotional level,” added Tito Melega, chief creative officer at ad-agency GTB, which created the campaigns. “They tie together the vehicles and the everyday unstoppable heroes who drive them, by empowering people to strive to achieve dreams they never thought were possible.”

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