Until now, Ford's full-size Expedition sport utility vehicle has never had an extended-length version. It matched well against General Motors' regular-wheelbase full-size SUVs, like the Chevrolet Tahoe, but buyers who needed nine seats and cargo room aplenty found a more accommodating SUV in GM's long-wheelbase Chevrolet Suburban. Ford's ginormous Excursion — which was introduced in 2000 to combat these beasts — garnered just one-sixth of the Suburban's sales by its 2005 retirement.
For 2007, Ford launches a substantially restyled Expedition that includes an extended-wheelbase model to tread where the Excursion could not. Ford calls it the Expedition EL, for extended length, and it measures 14.7 inches longer than the regular Expedition. Inside, 131 cubic feet of cargo volume — a 21 percent increase over the regular-wheelbase Expedition — puts the Expedition EL within striking distance of the Suburban.
The 2007 Expedition and Expedition EL are not a complete redesign over the second-generation Expedition, which was launched for 2003. But an updated fascia, dashboard and transmission easily distinguish the new version from the old. The 2007 Expedition hits dealerships in fall 2006.
If the squared-off grille and thin, horizontal headlamps don't bear enough resemblance to the Excursion, exterior dimensions should. At 220.5 inches long, the Expedition EL is just 5.9 inches shorter than the Excursion and about 2 inches shorter than the 2007 Suburban. Regular-length Expeditions sport the same fascia treatment, though exterior measurements are identical to the 2006 model. Rear-end updates include restyled taillamps and additional chrome applications.
A four-wheel-independent suspension features a new multilink design in the rear; it replaces the previous Expedition's double-wishbone setup. Stabilizer bars at both ends reduce body roll. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, but buyers can also choose available 18- or 20-inch wheels.
The updated Expedition features a more angular, partitioned dashboard with a prominent center stack. The redesigned steering wheel, gauge clusters and climate controls are similar to those in Ford's F-150 pickup truck. Uplevel models have real wood trim and three-zone automatic climate control.
The Expedition can seat up to nine occupants across three rows of seats. Thanks to an independent rear suspension, the third-row seat folds flat into the floor — a feature not offered in competitors primarily because live-axle suspension components obstruct this space. A power-folding mechanism for the third-row seat is optional.
With the second- and third-row seats folded, the Expedition's maximum cargo capacity is 108.2 cubic feet. The Expedition EL offers 131 cubic feet of volume.
Under the Hood
The Expedition's extant 5.4-liter V-8 soldiers on for the 2007 model year. It makes 300 horsepower and 365 pounds-feet of torque, but it's now connected to a six-speed-automatic transmission instead of the previous Expedition's four-speed automatic.
Rear-wheel drive is standard and part-time four-wheel drive is optional. When properly equipped, the Expedition can tow up to 9,100 pounds.
All-disc antilock brakes and Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability system with Roll Stability Control are standard. RSC, a rollover mitigation system, uses a vertical tip sensor to determine if the Expedition is in danger of a rollover; it can apply individual brakes in an attempt to mitigate the situation. Side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags for all three rows of seats are optional.