2008 Ford Expedition Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 23, 2008

The 2008 Ford Expedition is a big, capable SUV with a truly useful and convenient third row.

TheCarConnection.com's editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Ford Expedition to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove both the Expedition and Expedition EL to offer you a definitive opinion on this full-size SUV. In addition, Tthis review also compares the 2008 Expedition with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

The Expedition comes in two configurations: a regular-length model and an extended-wheelbase Expedition EL offering 14.8 inches of additional overall length and 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space--including 24 cubic feet more behind the third-row seat than the standard Expedition. The Expedition EL rides on a 131-inch wheelbase, 12 inches longer than the standard Expedition.

All versions are powered by 310-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 engine teamed with a new six-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive.

For 2008, a King Ranch edition joins the lineup with special trim and a unique leather interior. If you like the feel of supple top-grain leather, you'll love the stuff that covers this interior. However, the plastic panel that covers the top of the dash looks and feels cheap, and it detracts from an otherwise premium experience.

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The 2008 Ford Expedition may be huge, but it's an easy vehicle to get used to, and the more you drive it, the smaller it seems to feel. Handling and acceleration are both responsive for such a gargantuan vehicle, and the cargo volume can easily move the contents of a college dorm room while still comfortably transporting five adults. The ride isn't as creamy as you might expect, and the sole engine choice can feel labored.

A keyless entry keypad, an electrochromic rearview mirror, heated power mirrors, auxiliary A/C, an overhead console, illuminated visors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are now standard on all Expedition models. And on Limited and King Ranch Expeditions, the following items are standard as well: power adjustable pedals, power rear-quarter windows, a universal garage door opener, and a reverse-sensing system.

The Expedition also offers an optional DVD-based navigation with 6.5-inch color touchscreen and voice activation, as well as a 340-watt AM/FM audio system with MP3 capability, an in-dash six-CD changer, six premium speakers, and a subwoofer. An iPod jack is standard.

Since this SUV is basically still new, changes for 2008 are pretty minimal but include more standard features, an optional backup camera, and a new trim package. Important items that were already standard include side-impact airbags and a three-row Safety Canopy rollover detection system with stability control.

If you determine you do need a rugged and supremely capable full-size SUV, the 2008 Ford Expedition in its regular- or stretched-wheelbase EL edition are good choices. But so might be the full-size SUVs from General Motors. The Chevrolet Tahoe is equal in size to the GMC Yukon and its ritzier Denali edition. The Chevrolet Suburban is a longer Tahoe, and the GMC guys call that a Yukon XL or Denali XL. Regardless of which one you get, this quartet from General Motors has a slight edge in interior quality, but the Ford wins with better room in the third row. Plus, the Ford offers a power-folding third-row option, and with that, the seat automatically folds flat into the floor. This is a big plus over the GMs.

However, the GMs strike back with more engine choices (including a hybrid) and a more supple-riding suspension, but the Ford offers what some consider more responsive handling. However, we're discussing a vehicle that weighs almost three tons, so regardless of its responsiveness, we're not talking Corvette- or Mustang-type handling here.

When facing off against the two full-size SUV imports, a properly equipped 2008 Ford Expedition can tow four and a half tons, besting the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada in this important category by a bunch. These imports are both larger than the standard Expedition, but not quite as enormous as the long-wheelbase Expedition EL.

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