2006 Expedition New Car Test Drive
Now in its fourth season since its last major redesign and facing new competition, the Ford Expedition remains the established benchmark in this class.
Expedition is smooth, stable and refined. The Expedition benefits from a four-wheel-independent suspension, an unusually sophisticated design for this class, which gives it a smooth ride and responsive handling. Expedition also benefits from Ford's 5.4-liter V8 featuring three valves per cylinder and variable valve timing, which produces 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque.
What Expedition does best is move large quantities of people and their gear. Its perfectly flat cargo area makes it particularly adept at hauling. The available PowerFold third-row seat folds perfectly flat with the press of a button. Open the seat back up, and Expedition can carry up to eight passengers. And Ford hasn't forgotten the special needs of children. The second row features CenterSlide, a small center seat that slides forward to give parents in the front seat access to a child in a safety seat. A rear-seat DVD system is available for entertainment. And 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. When properly equipped, the Expedition is rated to tow up to 8900 pounds. All of this makes the Expedition a good choice for families with a boat or horse.
The popular Eddie Bauer model best exemplifies the Expedition with its luxurious and inviting interior and feature details that make for a more comfortable and convenient ride. Limited and King Ranch models feature special trim colors and come loaded with luxury features.
The 2006 Ford Expedition is offered in five trim levels: XLS, XLT, Eddie Bauer, Limited, and King Ranch. Each of these is available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
All are powered by a 5.4-liter overhead-cam V8 with variable valve timing and three valves per cylinder. New last year, this engine develops 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. The only available transmission is a four-speed automatic.
XLS ($33,455) and XLS 4WD ($36,055) are the value-conscious models. They come well equipped, but offer little in the way of options. Standard features on XLS include four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, air conditioning, tilt steering column, cruise control, privacy glass, fold-away power mirrors with approach lamps, power locks with remote keyless entry and SecuriLock security system, automatic headlamps, AM/FM/CD stereo, a Class III trailer hitch with a four-pin connector, and 17-inch steel wheels. Seats are three cloth-covered benches: split 60/40 in the first row with six-way power for the driver; split 40/20/40 in the second row to allow the CenterSlide feature; and split 60/40 in the third row.
XLT ($35,505) and XLT 4WD ($38,285) 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, and aluminum wheels. Many more options are available on XLT than XLS. An appearance package called XLT Sport ($860) adds Dark Shadow Grey exterior cladding and wheel-lip moldings, high-gloss black tubular step bars, and a two-tone grille treatment. An Off-Road Package ($320) is available for XLT 4WD comprising skid plates and specially tuned shock absorbers,
Eddie Bauer 2WD ($39,720) and 4WD ($42,905) add automatic climate control, leather captain's chairs with power and memory for the driver and manual lumbar support on both sides, power adjustable pedals with memory, power heated exterior mirrors with turn signals and approach lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and climate controls, floor, message center, audiophile stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer, and a keypad for the keyless entry system. Eddie Bauer models are distinguished by machined aluminum wheels, Pueblo Gold running boards and a generous helping of Pueblo Gold trim.
Limited 2WD ($41,515) and 4WD ($44,700) differ from the Eddie Bauer primarily in color scheme, but add eight-way power and memory for the front seats. Upholstery is monochromatic leather; complex-reflector headlamps are blacked out; wheel lips, cladding, and mirrors are body color; and the wheels, exhaust tip, and roof rails are chromed.
King Ranch 2WD ($43,155) and 4WD ($46,340) add unique machined aluminum wheels, Pueblo Gold body cladding and step bars, a chrome-tipped exhaust, and the PowerFold third-row seat. The interior is trimmed in woodgrain and Castano leather, and the King Ranch logo is generously applied inside and out.
Safety for all models is enhanced by Expedition's big, rigid frame and low front bumper. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) come standard on all models and can help the driver maintain steering control when standing on the brakes. Dual-stage front airbags are standard, of course.
Safety features that are optional on some models include the Safety Canopy air curtain system ($595), designed to offer head protection for first- and second-row passengers in the event of a rollover or side impact. The Reverse Sensing System ($255) 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. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control ($595), Ford's electronic stability control system, monitors traction at all wheels, plus the rate of change of body lean, and automatically cuts power or selectively applies one or more wheel brakes to correct a skid or prevent a rollover. We strongly recommend a.