New & Used Ford Expedition: In Depth
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The Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV with a mission in mind: to carry big families or to tow and haul their belongings in a way today's crossover vehicles simply can't.
The Expedition is one of a small set of truly big utes; it competes with vehicles such as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon, the Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia.
The current Expedition gets its running gear from circa-2014 Ford F-150 pickup trucks, although it has a unique independent rear suspension that it shares with the related Lincoln Navigator SUV. The Expedition is offered in both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase (EL) versions.
Introduced for the 1997 model year, the Expedition entered its second generation in 2003, with the third-generation version arriving in 2007. The 2015 model brings further upgrades to the third-generation SUV.
At first, the Expedition was an indirect follow-up to the old Ford Bronco, a two-door ute that was sold through the 1991 model year. Based on truck running gear, the Expedition proved popular even while Ford's smaller Explorer saw its sales collapse in the wake of a major tire recall.The first-generation Expedition was produced from 1997 to 2002. Sharing the F-Series platform of the day, the Expedition could seat up to nine passengers. Buyers could choose either a 4.6-liter V-8 coupled to a four-speed automatic or a 5.4-liter V-8 with a four-speed automatic. Power output of 215 horsepower in the smaller engine rose to 240 hp with an upgrade in the 2000 model year; the larger V-8 saw power rise from 230 hp to 260 hp at the same time. The upgrades synced with a revised front end and rear end, the addition of side airbags as an option, and the availability of rear parking sensors.
The second-generation Expedition was sold from 2003 to 2006. With its upgraded architecture came an independent rear suspension that vastly improved the SUV's ride quality. It also helped the cargo space in the rear, enabling Ford to add a power-folding third-row seat. This Expedition's styling was smoothed and refined almost to the point of anonymity, especially inside, though the impression of quality construction grew with better-fitting trim. The drivetrains, including available four-wheel drive, carried over but in the 2005 model year the smaller V-8 was dropped. In the same year, Ford added a new version of stability control with anti-roll programming.
The current Expedition went on sale in 2007, and wears a much more straight-edged suit of sheetmetal than its predecessors. At launch, it was powered by a 310-hp 5.4-liter V-8, and in its makeover it received a six-speed automatic transmission. With 365 pound-feet of torque and a heavy-duty towing package offered, this Expedition could tow up to 9,200 pounds. It also came in an "EL" edition measuring almost 15 inches longer than the standard SUV, with 24 cubic feet of additional room.
Over this generation, Ford has added a rearview camera, flex-fuel capability, a capless fuel-filler system, and the SYNC entertainment controller, which connects drivers to phone and audio functions via Bluetooth.
The latest Ford Expedition
The most extensive updates have come for the 2015 model year. Ford's now given this model an updated look to match the 2014 F-150, plus the corporate twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 has been fitted as the Expedition's only engine offering. The Expedition has also been brought fully up to the expectations of a new decade of SUV shoppers with a new continuous-damping suspension system for more comfort and quiet, while there are cosmetic improvements all around.
Because Ford waited so long to update the Expedition, the 2015 model is actually still based on the outgoing F-150 pickup. The latest F-150 is an aluminum-bodied departure from the pickup-truck norm, so for now at least the pickup and its SUV spawn are a generation removed. It's possible that a new Expedition will surface soon with at least some of the new F-150's chassis, interior, and powertrain upgrades, if not the lightweight aluminum body.