2003 Lincoln Navigator (4/28/2002)
Squamish, B.C — Standing 335 meters tall and sending forth thousands of gallons of water per minute, Shannon Falls is nothing short of spectacular, even during miserable weather conditions. The same could be said for Ford’s second-generation Expedition, which validated its “Best on Road, Best on Dirt, Best in Snow” billing under a variety of driving exercises and real-world journeys through the stunning scenic panoply that is British Columbia.
2003 Ford ExpeditionEnlarge Photo
Even those who harbor prejudices toward full-size sport utility vehicles will have to give this 5700-pound machine it due. For it’s noticeably more refined around town and capable off-road than its predecessor. Thanks to confidence-inspiring steering and handling, this new Expedition tames bad roads or weather conditions with such ease that you will forget how much mass is under your control. High praise? Yes, but deserved I think.
This is a vehicle that Ford had to get right. Its first generation has provided billions of dollars in profit since its late 1996 launch. After a $5.45-billion loss last year, the Expedition’s positive numbers are crucial to FoMoCo’s recovery, especially when few other new products are on the immediate horizon.
General Motors didn’t make the Expedition team’s job any easier. GM’s T800 platform raised the bar for full-size trucks and SUVs and gave its Chevy Tahoe and Suburban/GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models a car-like ride and maneuverability previously unknown in such behemoths. Their smoothness and easy steering is truly remarkable. But according to Steve von Forest, Expedition’s chief development engineer, Ford chose a different path.