2004 Expedition New Car Test Drive
Ford redesigned and re-engineered the Expedition for 2003 and the result was a vastly superior product. The Ford Expedition is smooth, stable and refined. Its handling is precise and responsive given its size and weight. These are benefits of its rigid chassis and sophisticated independent rear suspension. By comparison, the old (pre-2003) Expedition had a rough ride and a sloppy truck-based suspension.
The interior was redesigned for 2003 as well. A small center seat on the second row slides forward to give front-seat parents access to a small child.
Safety is enhanced with a lower front bumper, an optional safety curtain designed to protect occupants in a rollover, adjustable pedals to give smaller drivers a better seating, and a tire-pressure monitor. AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and other active safety systems are available to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle to reduce the chance of skidding off the road.
The Expedition is packed with features, including the availability of the PowerFold third-row seat, which folds perfectly flat with the press of a button. The Reverse Sensing System can alert the driver as the Expedition is backed toward an object such as a parked car, a short pole, or a child on a tricycle. Most of these features, including a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, are now available on the less-expensive XLT as well as the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer models.
Towing capability is impressive. When properly equipped, the 5.4-liter, two-wheel drive Expedition is rated to tow up to 8,950 pounds.
Ford Expedition comes with a choice of two engines: the standard 4.6-liter V8 rated and the 5.4-liter V8. Both are paired with the same four-speed automatic transmission. The 2004 Expedition comes in five trim levels: XLS, XLT, XLT Sport, and Eddie Bauer.
XLS ($32,090) and XLS 4WD ($34,660) are the value-conscious models. They come well equipped, but offer little in the way of options. Standard features on XLS and include: four-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, tilt steering wheel, speed control (cruise control), cloth upholstery, front 60/40 split-bench seat with driver’s side power, driver-side manual lumbar support, second-row bench seat split 40/20/40, third-row 60/40 split-bench seat, privacy glass, heated fold-away power mirrors with security approach lamps, power door locks, remote keyless entry, SecuriLock, driver and passenger air bags, power-adjustable pedals, air conditioning, rear liftgate with flip-up glass access, automatic headlamps, luggage rack, styled steel wheels, door trim map pockets with cupholders, illuminated entry with automatic dimming and AM/FM premium stereo with CD/cassette player.
XLT ($33,915) and XLT 4WD ($36,670) add: auxiliary rear air conditioning and heat controls, overhead console with storage, auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, color-keyed door handles, the tire-pressure monitoring system, fog lamps, running boards, aluminum wheels. Many options are available. The 5.4-liter V8 is optional ($395)
XLT Sport is an appearance package ($850) that adds Dark Shadow Grey exterior cladding, high-gloss Dark Shadow Grey tubular step bars, two-tone bumpers, moldings and lower grille in Dark Shadow Grey and silver upper grille. It's available with 2WD or 4WD.
NBX is essentially a package ($1,645) that outfits XLT 4WD models for the backcountry with all-terrain tires, unique 17-inch chromed steel wheels, and special shocks tuned for off-road performance. It's distinguished by tubular steel running boards and fog lamps. Inside are heavy-duty rubber floor mats and a cargo area soft liner. (NBX replaces last year's XLT FX4 off-road package.)
Eddie Bauer ($38,040) adds front captain's chairs with two tone-leather and 6-way driver power, automatic climate control with rear A/C, a premium sound system, Arizona Beige lower body side cladding, floor console, overhead console, 11 cup holders, fog lights, privacy glass with power flip-open rear windows, satin nickel grille, Homelink, electrochromic mirror, power outside heated mirrors with memory, security approach lamps and integrated turn signals, power adjustable pedals with memory, power driver's seat with memory, reverse sensing system, black non-illuminated running boards. The 5.4-liter V8 is optional ($395) on the Eddie Bauer 2WD, but is standard on Eddie Bauer 4WD ($41,585).
Optional safety features include the Safety Canopy ($650), designed to help protect the heads of first- and second-row passengers in the event of a rollover or side impact. AdvanceTrac ($795), Ford's electronic stability enhancement system, monitors traction at all wheels and automatically maintains stability while cornering on slippery surfaces. Tire pressure monitors ($150) are also available, which alert the driver when a tire is low on air.
An in-dash navigation system ($1,995) and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($1,500) are available.