Ford hailed its redesigned full-size sport utility vehicle in 2003 as the "best on the road, best in the dirt, best in the snow." The Expedition, which is closely related to the Lincoln Navigator, is second in size only to the Excursion in Ford's SUV lineup.
All 2005 Expeditions use a 5.4-liter Triton V-8, which has gained 40 horsepower. The prior 4.6-liter V-8 has been dropped. Five trim levels are available: XLS, XLT, XLT Sport, Eddie Bauer and new top-of-the-line Limited. The instrument cluster has been redesigned, and raised roof rails replace the previous roof rack.
For 2005, the available AdvanceTrac electronic stability system gains Roll Stability Control. AdvanceTrac applies the brakes to individual wheels to help control the vehicle during a skid or spin.
An on-demand ControlTrac four-wheel-drive system automatically distributes torque to the wheel that has the most traction. Expeditions also come with rear-wheel drive.
Claimed to be stronger and freer of vibration than the previous-generation model, the current Expedition has well-defined fender and wheel lip moldings. The four-door Expedition has a 119-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 205.8 inches.
Ground clearance is 9.3 inches, and all models ride on 17-inch tires. An air suspension with three height positions is available.
Three seating configurations are available, one of which offers space for nine occupants. The second row can be equipped with a 40/20/40-split bench seat or a pair of captain's chairs. Both second- and third-row seats fold flat, and a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat is optional. The center of the standard second-row bench can slide forward 11 inches.
A navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system are optional. Cargo volume totals 110.5 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
All Expeditions now hold a 5.4-liter V-8 that produces 300 hp and 365 pounds-feet of torque and mates with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Available with rear- or four-wheel drive, the Expedition can be equipped to tow as much as 8,900 pounds.
Antilock brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are standard. Options include a Safety Canopy side curtain-type airbag system and a reverse-sensing system that detects objects to the rear while backing up.
Drivers aren't likely to mistake the Expedition for a passenger car, but the sizable SUV yields a light, almost carlike, sensation. The ride isn't gentle, but it leans toward the soft side. Occupants get bumped a bit on rolling pavement, but this experience isn't as harsh as that of a true truck. Even relatively smooth surfaces tend to produce excess motion.
On twisty, two-lane roads, the Expedition behaves admirably, provided that you exercise some restraint in curves. This SUV appears quite sure of itself when traveling off-road.
Ford's 5.4-liter V-8 produces sufficient vigor under most conditions, though its performance isn't stunning. Engine and transmission responses are excellent. Comfortable, well-cushioned seats deliver good support. Second-row occupants don't have an overabundance of legroom, and the gauges aren't the easiest to read.