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2003 Ford Excursion

$2,691 — $22,567 USED
Sport Utility
7-9 Seats
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 12 trims

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Posted on 12/9/02
Vehicle Overview
Shoppers looking for the largest sport utility vehicle in any showroom must turn to Ford. The Excursion measures nearly 19 feet long — that’s nearly 21 inches longer than the company’s full-size Expedition, and it is more than 7 inches longer than its next closest rivals, the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL.

Built on the same platform as Ford’s F-250 Super Duty pickup truck, the Excursion exceeds an 8,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (the vehicle’s weight plus what it can carry in passengers and cargo), which makes it exempt from federal emissions and fuel-economy requirements. Ford has been promoting environmental concerns in connection with its SUV lineup, which includes an announcement that the Excursion qualifies as a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV).

Environmentalists have never stopped jeering at the jumbo Excursion, citing its close-to-insatiable fuel consumption. The standard 44-gallon fuel tank is indicative of the vehicle’s unappetizing gas mileage, though Ford emphasizes the fact that it gives the vehicle a long range between fill-ups.

The Excursion comes with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (4WD). A new Eddie Bauer series joins the XLT and Limited models for 2003, and they will feature an Arizona Beige grille insert and fascias. Early in 2003, a new 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine will debut, and it will deliver 325 horsepower and 550 pounds-feet of torque. A new TorqShift five-speed-aut...
Posted on 12/9/02
Vehicle Overview
Shoppers looking for the largest sport utility vehicle in any showroom must turn to Ford. The Excursion measures nearly 19 feet long — that’s nearly 21 inches longer than the company’s full-size Expedition, and it is more than 7 inches longer than its next closest rivals, the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL.

Built on the same platform as Ford’s F-250 Super Duty pickup truck, the Excursion exceeds an 8,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (the vehicle’s weight plus what it can carry in passengers and cargo), which makes it exempt from federal emissions and fuel-economy requirements. Ford has been promoting environmental concerns in connection with its SUV lineup, which includes an announcement that the Excursion qualifies as a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV).

Environmentalists have never stopped jeering at the jumbo Excursion, citing its close-to-insatiable fuel consumption. The standard 44-gallon fuel tank is indicative of the vehicle’s unappetizing gas mileage, though Ford emphasizes the fact that it gives the vehicle a long range between fill-ups.

The Excursion comes with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (4WD). A new Eddie Bauer series joins the XLT and Limited models for 2003, and they will feature an Arizona Beige grille insert and fascias. Early in 2003, a new 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine will debut, and it will deliver 325 horsepower and 550 pounds-feet of torque. A new TorqShift five-speed-automatic transmission will accompany that diesel engine. New 16-inch forged wheels and an in-dash six-CD changer go on the Limited edition, and all A-pillars on the driver’s side gain grab handles.

Despite rising fuel prices in 2000 and into 2001, Ford’s behemoth SUV managed to sell well enough. But total sales for 2001 dipped by 31.7 percent to just 34,710 units, as reported by Automotive News. In July 2002, Ford sources acknowledged that production of the Excursion will end after the 2004 model year.

Exterior
Even though the Excursion is abundantly sized, traditional SUV styling includes four side doors. Ford claims that the Excursion’s back doors are wider than those on the Suburban for easier access to the middle and rear seats. The rear door is a tri-panel arrangement, which features a window on top that flips up and twin Dutch doors below that open to the sides. A BlockerBeam runs across the vehicle below the front bumper to prevent cars from sliding underneath it in the event of a collision.

Aluminum wheels hold 16-inch tires. The Excursion rides a 137.1-inch wheelbase, stretches 226.7 inches long overall and has an 8.1-inch ground clearance. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) models are 77.2 inches high, vs. 80.2 inches high for the 4x4 editions. A standard trailer hitch provides similar protection at the rear.

Interior
The Excursion has a nine-passenger capacity, plus 48 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seat. The seats of the second-row split bench tip and fold forward to allow easier access to the third row. The rear bench seat is removable and rolls on built-in wheels. The cargo volume grows to 146 cubic feet with the rear seat removed and the middle bench folded down; that space can carry a 4-by-8-foot plywood sheet. Optional power-adjustable accelerator and brake pedals adjust within a 3-inch range to suit individual drivers.

Under the Hood
Three engines are available in the Excursion. A 255-hp, 5.4-liter V-8 is standard on 2WD models. A 310-hp, 6.8-liter V-10 goes into 4WD models and is optional on 4x2s, and an optional 7.3-liter V-8 turbo-diesel produces 250 hp. These engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. A new 325-hp Power Stroke 6.0-liter diesel will arrive during the 2003 model year; it will team with a new five-speed-automatic transmission. The Excursion’s towing capacity is as high as 11,000 pounds with the V-10 or diesel engine.

Safety
Antilock brakes are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
Describing the drive in an Excursion is easy: You’re in a truck, period. Expect the typical engine and transmission drone found in trucks, coupled with ride quality that bears little resemblance to a passenger car. Ford’s newly redesigned Expedition yields a far more pleasing experience overall — including more satisfactory acceleration — and the slightly smaller model has enough interior space to suit most buyers.

The Excursion’s new Power Stroke diesel engine performs admirably, but it enhances the sensation of being in a full-fledged truck. A Power Stroke diesel Excursion managed to climb some steep grades but at a leisurely pace.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.4
23 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Excellent Workhorse

by Tim the Balloon Guy from Clinton, NJ on November 3, 2018

I used this vehicle to tow a trailer and routinely had 8 people seated comfortably. It's too bad Ford stopped making them. Never had any significant problems with the 6.0 diesel. Read full review

(5.0)

Hands down the best family vehicle I?ve ever had

by Trashman76 from Dumas, Texas on August 3, 2018

Despite what everyone says about fuel mileage, we love our Excursion. The talking heads would have you believe that the V10 only gets 12-13 mpg highway but ours averages 16-18.5. When you consider ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2003 Ford Excursion currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Ford Excursion has not been tested.

Latest 2003 Excursion Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Excursion received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker