New & Used Ford Expedition: In Depth
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The Ford Expedition is one of the largest cars on the market in the U.S. Built for big families that need towing capacity, it competes with the GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia, and the Chevrolet Suburban.
The Expedition gets its running gear from the Ford F-150 pickup trucks, although it has a unique independent rear suspension that it shares with the related Lincoln Navigation. The Expedition is offered in both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase EL versions.
The Expedition was brand-new in the 1997 model year, and was revised significantly for the 2003 model year. It's now in its third generation, since a 2007 reskin.
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 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. It's 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, the Expedition can tow up to 9200 pounds. It also comes in an "EL" edition that's almost 15 inches longer than the standard SUV, with 24 cubic feet of additional room.
Sales of the Expedition have been on a downward slide in recent model years, and Ford has done little to keep the model updated. None of the stronger, more economical engines that were given to the F-150 for 2011 have yet trickled over to the Expedition. In a green bit of irony, production of the big Expedition has been moved south to Kentucky—so that Ford can build the new compact Focus lineup, as well as other electrified products, in Michigan.Over the past several model years, Ford has added a rearview camera, flex-fuel capability, a capless fuel-filler system, and Ford's SYNC entertainment controller, which connects drivers to phone and audio functions via Bluetooth. Still, the the 2013 Ford Expeditionhasn't received as many updates as the popular, best-selling F-150: it's not available with the F-150's EcoBoost turbocharged V-6, for example, and doesn't offer the pickup truck's touchscreen and voice-driven MyFord Touch interface.
The Expedition is due for a redesign for the 2014 model year, when Ford likely will give this model an updated look to match the F-150, plus its twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 as an option--giving the Expedition better torque and gas mileage.