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By Rick Popely
April 27, 2001
Vehicle Overview No major changes are in store this year for Fords full-size SUV, which is due for a face-lift in 2002. Expedition debuted for 1997 built on the F-Series pickup chassis. The Lincoln Navigator is a more expensive corporate twin with a more powerful standard engine, standard leather upholstery and some convenience features not available on the Expedition. Deep-tinted privacy glass is standard on all models, and an engine block heater is standard on models sold in cold-weather climates.
Exterior The Expedition is a four-door wagon with a rear liftgate that has a window that opens separately. Though the Expedition has a different grille and front-end trim, it shares major styling cues with the F-Series pickup.
With an overall length of 205 inches, the Expedition is 6 inches longer than the Chevrolet Tahoe but nearly 21 inches shorter than the Ford Excursion.
Interior Seats for six are standard on the XLT model, with three-place benches front and rear. A pair of front captains chairs is standard on the Eddie Bauer model and optional on the XLT. A removable three-place rear bench that gives the Expedition nine-passenger capacity is standard on the Eddie Bauer model and optional on the XLT. Two captains chairs are optional for the middle row in place of a standard split bench seat.
Power-adjustable accelerator and brake pedals, which move through a 3-inch range, are standard. A rear-seat audio/video entertainment system is a new option for the Eddie Bauer version.
Under the Hood A 215-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 engine is standard on all models except the four-wheel-drive Eddie Bauer version, which comes with a 260-hp 5.4-liter V-8. The 5.4-liter is optional on other models. Two- and 4WD models are available. The 4WD system engages automatically and can be used on smooth, dry pavement.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard, and side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional. A sonar-based Reverse Sensing System, which detects objects while the vehicle is backing up, also is optional.
Driving Impressions Expedition matches up well with its closest rival, the Chevy Tahoe, though the Tahoe has greater towing strength (8,700 pounds vs. the Expeditions 8,000 pounds). This is still a big truck, but a comfortable, luxuriously furnished one. As with the Tahoe, however, the rear seat is better for kids than adults. Performance is more satisfying with the 5.4-liter V-8 engine, which doesnt use much more gas than the 4.6-liter.