Ford Showcasing a Range of Modified SUVs at SEMA 2018

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Ford will be presenting a range of modified SUVs at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Power, performance and, perhaps most importantly personalization are at the core of each vehicle being unveiled. Spanning the breadth of its model range, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker will showcase special versions of practically every SUV it builds, from the tiny EcoSport crossover to their gigantic Expedition.

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All told, Ford is expected to have more than 50 cars, trucks and crossovers on display at its booth, making it the largest OEM at the show, which is slated to kick off on October 30.

Blood Type Racing Edge ST

The Edge ST is a new high-performance crossover from Ford. It couples a track-tuned chassis with a muscular powertrain to create a true driver’s utility vehicle. In stock form it features 335 horses under the hood, courtesy of a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. An eight-speed automatic gearbox and standard all-wheel-drive system ensure that giddy-up makes it to the pavement without drama.

Naturally, this was a solid foundation, but the folks at Blood Type Racing, a Chicago-based tuning shop knew they could do even more. Their modified Edge ST has been slammed to the ground with an adjustable air suspension and dressed up with custom, flared bodywork. A Mishimoto intercooler keeps engine inlet temps under control while a high-performance exhaust system helps that bent-six exhale just a little easier.

Inside, there’s a special carbon-fiber steering wheel, a range of Ford accessories like all-weather floormats and a cargo organizer, as well as a Kicker Bullfrog portable audio system.

LGE*CTS Expedition Classic

But the Edge is hardly Dearborn’s largest SUV. That honor goes to the Expedition, a body-on-frame brute that’s nevertheless more luxurious and refined than ever in its latest iteration. A smooth and powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 delivers a stout 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in stock form, while a 10-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.

But factory-fresh flies in the face of what SEMA is all about. The LGE*CTS Expedition Classic transforms this three-row SUV into a serious off-roader. Dressed up with a ReadyLIFT suspension leveling kit, Hellwig Products stabilizer bars front and rear as well as Vintiques 18-inch steel wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires, this machine is ready for just about anything.

Beyond these changes, it also benefits from a new roof rack, LGE Baja Forged bumpers, a 20-inch light bar and a slew of Yakima products including a unique spare-tire carrier. This Expedition’s cabin has also been enhanced with a special recovery kit, should it ever get seriously mired, as well as custom leather seats.

Hulst Customs 2018 Destination Expedition

But not everyone cares about off-roading. Let’s be honest, a huge percentage of SUVs spend the overwhelming majority of their time on pavement, rarely ever traversing a gravel road, much less tackling the Rubicon Trail.

Appealing to more street-focused folks is the 2018 Destination Expedition built by Hulst Customs. Seriously upping this utility vehicle’s style is a unique grille and hood. ‘Round back you’ll find a Borla exhaust system with custom outlet tips. The whole thing rides on body-color-matched 26-inch rims by Lexani that completely fill out the vehicle’s wheel wells. Naturally, a slew of Ford licensed accessories is included.

MAD Industries Explorer

The current-generation Explorer is no spring chicken, but Ford has done a decent job keeping this stalwart nameplate fresh over the years. Helping it stand out at this year’s SEMA show, the folks at MAD Industries have gone to town on one.

This rig’s 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine has been upgraded by JMS with their PedalMAX and BoostMAX plug and play performance enhances. A Borla cat-back exhaust, special cold-air intake and Eibach handling package ensure the performance is as good as the style. Upgraded cross-drilled and slotted rotors along with special brake pads help it rein in all that power.

On the design front, two-tone paint, Niche Road Wheels Alpine-style forged rims measuring 24 inches, a shaved roof rack and much more help this Explorer pop, even at SEMA.

Tucci Designs Big Adventures EcoSport

In stark contrast to the enormous Expedition, Ford’s EcoSport is the smallest utility model the automaker offers. But keeping it exciting, Tucci Designs heavily customized one.

The Big Adventures EcoSport gives this pint-sized crossover some serious off-road capability. It features custom fender flairs for a bold look, beefy Maxxis Bravo AT tires, tubular bumpers and an integrated winch, there’s a Yakima bike rack and even a coil-over suspension. Its wheels are Fifteen52 Turbomac HDs measuring an unexpectedly tame (for SEMA at least) 16 inches in diameter and eight inches across.

Motivating this design concept is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder gasoline engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. In stock form, it should be rated at around 166 horsepower and 149 pound-feet of torque, though an aftermarket K&N air filter and Borla custom Ford Performance exhaust should add a few digits to each of those totals.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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