2007 Expedition EL New Car Test Drive
When it comes time to fill up the tank, it's not easy to justify a full-size sport utility. But even as you pour 28 gallons of regular unleaded into the Expedition's gas tank, you can take heart in this sport-utility's ability to make a family vacation not only possible but also practical.
Ford is the first to admit that the sales of full-size, truck-based sport utilities have dropped some 40 percent since 2004 as people turn to smaller, more fuel-efficient, car-based utilities for their daily transportation. But Ford also reminds us that fuel prices have simply chased away the people who really shouldn't have been driving a full-size sport-utility in the first place.
The Expedition is meant for utility, not profiling. It carries people, hauls gear, tows boats, and pulls campers. The Expedition offers towing capacities in the 9000-pound range. When it's equipped with four-wheel drive, the Expedition will also get you there whether the road is dry, wet, snowy, or even when there's hardly any road at all.
Ford reminds us that full-size sport-utilities can still play an important role in our everyday lives. To start with, Ford's research shows that 92 percent of the Expedition owners use their big SUV for vacations. Some 60 percent use it to transport outdoor sports gear, while 40 percent of Expedition owners use the vehicle's towing capacity. Some 84 percent routinely carry more than three passengers behind the front row of seats.
Moreover, Ford notes that the place of the sport-utility in American life isn't going to disappear. Sales of personal watercraft have increased 9.2 percent since 2005, while there will be some 6.3 million households with tow-able recreational campers by 2010. Finally, three-generation families are becoming a substantial part of the vacation picture, so plenty of passenger seats are a necessity, not just a convenience.
With this in mind, the Expedition has been thoroughly revised for 2007 to make it a platform for family-friendly adventures. Every aspect of its utility has been improved: towing capacity, passenger comfort and even driving enjoyment. Meanwhile, a new, extended-wheelbase Expedition EL adds more cargo-carrying capacity, especially noticeable when trying to load groceries or gear behind the third-row seats.
Ford has made the Expedition even more family-friendly by substantially reducing its price. While the reductions have more to do with real-world transaction prices of the past and mirror similar pricing strategies at Chrysler and General Motors, the fact remains that a base model XLT Expedition retails for $29,995, some $5485 less than in '06. Ford tells us that Expedition models across the range have been reduced in price by an average of $4300. Just as important, a new warranty extends bumper-to-bumper protection to three years/36,000 miles, while the powertain is covered for five years/60,000 miles. In addition, the warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.
The 2007 Ford Expedition comes in two different sizes, the standard model with a 119-inch wheelbase, and the new Expedition EL with its 131-inch wheelbase. Every Expedition is powered by a single-overhead-cam 5.4-liter V-8 that is rated at 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A new, six-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment. Every Expedition model is available with either rear-wheel drive (2WD) or electronically engaged four-wheel drive (4WD). A Class III trailer hitch is standard.
Safety equipment includes front-seat frontal and side-impact air bags, three-row head-protection curtain air bags, anti-lock braking (ABS), and electronic stability control with anti-rollover technology.
Three trim levels are available: the entry-level XLT, the outdoor-styled Eddie Bauer, and luxurious Limited.
The XLT ($29,995) and 4WD XLT ($32,895) offer full-size utility at an affordable price. The monochromatic interior features cloth upholstery with front captain's chairs (driver's seat is six-way power adjustable), a 40/20/40 split-bench seat in the second row, and a rear cargo bin. A tilt steering wheel, air conditioning and an AM/FM stereo tuner with single-disk CD changer are also part of the package. Exterior standard equipment features 265/70R-17 tires, running boards, roof rails, fog lights, power-adjustable outside mirrors, and a rear liftgate with flip-up glass and a rear defroster/wiper/washer system.
The XLT EL ($34,445) and XLT EL 4WD ($37,345) are similarly equipped as the standard wheelbase versions.
The option list for the XLT models includes second-row captain's chairs, a manual- or power-folding, third-row bench seat, rear load-leveling air suspension, and a heavy-duty towing package. Options include a navigation system, a premium AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer, Sirius satellite radio, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
The Eddie Bauer ($36,395) and Eddie Bauer 4WD ($39,295) are trimmed as outdoor adventure vehicles and are distinguished by a longer list of convenience features as standard equipment, notably the Expedition's unique third-row seat which folds flat into the cargo floor. Other standard features for the Eddie Bauer model include leather upholstery with front captain's chairs (driver's seat is 10-way power adjustable), the third-row seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an AM/FM stereo tuner with 6CD changer, and protective cladding for the lower body panels.
The Eddie Bauer EL ($39,045) and Eddie Bauer EL 4WD ($41,945) are similarly equipped as the standard wheelbase versions.
Options for the Eddie Bauer models include a lengthy list of practical features including a power-folding, third-row bench seat, rear load-leveling air suspension, a heavy-duty towing package, and second-row captain's chairs. Convenience features include a navigation system, Sirius satellite radio, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
The Limited ($37,845) and Limited 4WD ($40,745) are meant to deliver car-like, highway-friendly sophistication in a sport-utility package. The list of standard equipment resembles that of the Eddie Bauer model, but the style statement is far grander and the list of convenience features includes elaborate luxury items. Leather upholstery is standard, as are front captain's chairs (driver's seat is 10-way adjustable) with a heating/cooling feature. The power-folding rear bench seat is standard. Exterior upgrades include 255/70R18 tires with chrome-finish wheels, power-adjustable and folding mirrors.
The Limited EL ($40,495) and Limited EL 4WD ($43,395) are similarly equipped as the standard wheelbase versions.
The option list for the Eddie Bauer and Eddie Bauer EL includes a lengthy list of practical features including a power-folding, third-row bench seat, an electronically powered liftgate, rear load-leveling air suspension, a heavy-duty towing package, and second-row captain's chairs. Convenien.