A prototype of the next-generation Ford Expedition has been spotted near the company’s development center in Michigan. It’s got the face of an new F-150, most likely an aluminum body, and an overall awesome look reportedly slated for 2018.

Spy photographer Brian Williams caught the SUV wearing camouflage and rolling around with a current-gen Expedition just the other day. Automotive News points out that there are a lot of flat-looking panels going on, which they say “is typical of aluminum.”

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I’m looking at the F-150 front end and doors and figuring, yeah, it looks like they just ported the new pickup truck design and turned the bed into a half-sized enclosed cargo bay to make it an SUV.

Aside from the extra set of doors, this feels pretty close to the “new Bronco” design the internet clamors for every time the rumor resurfaces. And since buyers seems to pick crew cabs over singles in pickup trucks, I bet more people would rather have this than the “4x4 coupe” that OJ Simpson made infamous.

The Expedition shared a shape with the F-150 when it first came out in 1996. But the design diverged for the second generation and got further out again with the third and current models. Chevy and Dodge enacted a similar strategies with their pickups and SUVs too; starting with a shared face but peeling off in their own stylistic directions.

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Based on this new Expedition test mules we’re seeing now, it looks like Ford will be the first to circle back and reunite their SUV and light-duty pickup’s design.

Unless you count the Toyota Sequoia and Tundra, which also share a front end look. Yes, they still make the Sequoia.

Anyway, since it cost Ford a fortune to convert their pickup truck assembly lines to work with aluminum, it makes sense that they’d want to maximize the use of these body panels rather than start all over again with a new design.

Frankly I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all; the current F-150 face looks awesome on an SUV and the association will help the Expedition ride the rocket of hype Ford has been fueling for their new aluminum truck.

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I don’t think we’ll see significant changes in output on the next Expedition since it was just repowered with the mighty 3.5 EcoBoost engine, but I’m sure Ford will be trying to squeeze better fuel economy out of the truck especially if it loses weight. And I guess it better if they move to a new metal.

I wouldn’t rule out a cheaper non-turbo engine option joining the lineup though, which could increase the SUV’s appeal downmarket. Or maybe bring over the 2.7 EcoBoost to try and do something impressive on the MPG scoreboard?

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Anyway I’m stoked because even though the Expedition is a bit of an “also-ran” it’s one of my favorite full-sized SUVs. Can’t wait to see what happens here.

Image by Jason Torchinsky


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.