The Car Connection Ford Excursion Overview
The Ford Excursion was only a part of the Blue Oval lineup for seven years, but it made a big impact--not in sales, but in size.
Conceived of as an alternative to the heavy-duty versions of the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon, the Ford Excursion was the heavier-duty companion ute to the Ford Expedition--and a political liability for the American automaker from day one. It emerged in the lineup at the turn of the century, just as gas prices were rebounding off historic lows, on their way to historic highs.
The Excursion shared much of its running gear with the contemporary Ford Super Duty pickup trucks. It was a big one--some 7.2 inches longer, 3.3 inches wider, and as much as 5.8 inches taller than the Chevy Suburban. Ford promised it would fit in standard-size garages. The lavishly chromed Excursion also had side doors almost a half-foot wider than those on the Chevy, and cargo-style doors at the back.
Powertrains were derived from Ford's trucks. They included a standard 5.4-liter V-8, with 260 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. A massive 6.8-liter V-10 with 300 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque was standard on 4WD models and optional on 4x2 versions. Gas mileage was estimated in the 10-mpg city range, but the Excursion's size excluded it from typical passenger-vehicle reporting. A 7.3-liter turbodiesel was an option, and a viable one, with up to 20 mpg highway. All versions were fitted with automatic transmissions, and four-wheel drive was available. Properly equipped an Excursion could tow up to 10,000 pounds.
The Excursion's size was immediately its biggest liability. Tagged with the pejorative "Ford Valdez" nickname--after the ship that fouled Alaska's shoreline--the Excursion was fitted with a standard "BlockerBeam" below the front bumper to prevent it from riding up on a smaller vehicle, and a rear trailer hitch to do the same in back. It was the poster child for the SUV backlash that eventually claimed GM's HUMMER division, and began the process of convincing suburban families that a crossover vehicle might be a better idea.
A long list of available features with the Excursion included third-row seating, adjustable gas and brake pedals, and a back-seat DVD entertainment system.
The Excursion survived into the 2005 model year with only light updates, and without its turbodiesel option. It never attracted the long-running fan base of the Suburban, and despite a substantial presence on the road, Ford sold only a handful of Excursions in its final model year--after moving 50,786 of the giant SUVs in model year 2000. The Excursion was discontinued after the 2005 model year.