2009 Expedition New Car Test Drive
When it comes time to fill up the tank, it's not easy to justify a full-size sport utility vehicle. But, even as you pour 28 gallons of regular unleaded into the gas tank of the 2009 Ford Expedition, you can take heart in this sport-utility's ability to make a family vacation not only possible but practical.
Ford is the first to admit that the sales of full-size, truck-based sport utilities have suffered as people turn to smaller, more fuel-efficient, car-based utilities for their daily transportation. But many experts say fuel prices have simply chased away the people who shouldn't have been driving a full-size sport-utility in the first place. Left are those who really need one for hauling people and gear and towing trailers.
The Expedition carries people, hauls gear, tows boats, and pulls campers. 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.
The cabin features rich materials and generous space in all three seating rows. The second- and third-row seats fold flat to create a useful rear cargo area. Extended-length Expedition EL models add even more cargo-carrying capacity, especially noticeable when trying to load groceries or gear behind the third-row seats.
All Expeditions are powered by Ford's 5.4-liter V8 that makes 310 horsepower and offers towing capacities in the 9000-pound range. Thanks in part to independent rear suspension, the Expedition offers a smooth ride that is more car-like than most big, truck-based SUVs. That's nice on long drives.
With its combination of utility, a smooth, stable ride and a pleasant interior, the Ford Expedition is a fine choice for families that tow or take driving vacations.
The Ford Expedition comes in two lengths, the standard model with a 119-inch wheelbase, and the Expedition EL with its 131-inch wheelbase. Every Expedition is powered by a single-overhead-cam 5.4-liter V8 rated at 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A 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) that can be driven on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. Four trim levels are available: the entry-level XLT, the outdoorsy Eddie Bauer, the luxurious Limited, and the top-of-the-line King Ranch.
Expedition XLT ($34,845) and 4WD XLT ($37,745) come with cloth upholstery with front captain's chairs (driver's seat is six-way power adjustable), and a 40/20/40 split-bench seat in the second row. A leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, front and rear air conditioning with rear controls, remote keyless entry, automatic headlights, alarm, an AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 player connectivity and rear controls, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, overhead console, and illuminated visors are also part of the package. Exterior standard equipment features 265/70R17 tires on alloy wheels, running boards, roof rails, fog lights, power-adjustable heated outside mirrors, a rear liftgate with flip-up glass and a rear defroster/wiper/washer system, and a keyless entry keypad.
Expedition XLT EL ($38,370) and XLT EL 4WD ($41,270) are equipped the same as standard wheelbase versions, except they come with a split-folding third-row seat and a conversation mirror.
Options for XLT models include third-row bench seat ($875) or power-operated third-row bench seat ($1,370), leather captain's chairs ($1,295), rear load-leveling air suspension ($485), a heavy-duty towing package ($395), Sirius satellite radio ($195), rear-seat entertainment ($1,295), heavy-duty trailer towing equipment ($395), and a power moonroof ($995). A Convenience Package ($895) includes a reverse-sensing system, power rear quarter windows, universal garage-door opener, six-disc CD changer, and power-adjustable pedals.
Expedition Eddie Bauer ($40,180) and Eddie Bauer 4WD ($43,080) are trimmed as outdoor adventure vehicles and are distinguished by a longer list of convenience features as standard equipment, notably the Expedition's unique power-folding split third-row seat. Other standard features include leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, memory for the mirrors and driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Premium sound system with six-disc CD changer, trip computer, conversation mirror, mirror-mounted turn signals, power-adjustable pedals, and protective cladding for the lower body panels. The Eddie Bauer EL ($42,830) and Eddie Bauer EL 4WD ($45,730) are equipped, basically, like the standard-wheelbase versions.
Options for Eddie Bauer models over and above those of the XLT include heated and cooled front seats ($625), power running boards ($995), a navigation system ($1,995), second-row captain's chairs ($795), air suspension ($485), and a Convenience Package ($1,295) which includes a power liftgage, power rear quarter windows, universal garage-door opener, rain-sensing wipers and a rear-view camera.
Expedition Limited ($43,010) and Limited 4WD ($45,910) add heated and cooled front seats, 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, universal garage-door opener, power rear quarter windows, and 255/70R18 tires on chrome alloy wheels. The Limited EL ($45,660) and Limited EL 4WD ($48,560) are equipped the same.
Expedition King Ranch ($44,950) and King Ranch 4WD ($47,850) have upgraded Chaparral leather upholstery, King Ranch badging, and gold exterior accents. The leather also trims the center console lid, steering wheel and door panels, while wood trim can be found on the center console, shifter handle and instrument panel. King Ranch EL ($47,600) and King Ranch 4WD EL ($50,500) have the same features.
Safety equipment includes front airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, three-row head-protecting side-curtain airbags with rollover deployment, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, and AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Roll Stability Control. A rear obstacle detection system is standard on Limited and King Ranch, and optional on Eddie Bauer.