Full 2007 Ford Expedition EL Review
What's New for 2007
An extended-wheelbase version of the regular Expedition, the 2007 Ford Expedition EL is a new model this year. This eight-passenger, full-size SUV is aimed squarely at consumers who would otherwise buy a Chevy Suburban.
Discontinuing the oversize Excursion may have been the right thing to do from the standpoint of corporate average fuel economy and social responsibility, but Ford was left with a hole in its SUV lineup: The company had nothing to compete with the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL. This changes for 2007, as Ford has added 12 inches to the wheelbase of a regular-size Expedition to create the Expedition EL. The "EL" stands for "Extended Length," and at 221.3 inches from nose to tail, the 2007 Ford Expedition EL is almost identical in dimensions to its supersize GM foes.
Unlike its competitors, though, the Expedition EL is offered only in light-duty (half-ton) form with a single V8 engine option. This engine is Ford's workhorse 5.4-liter V8, rated for 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque, and paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission. These are competitive numbers, but the EL weighs more than its peers and the result is sluggish acceleration at highway speeds. The big SUV's ride and handling dynamics are downright impressive, however, thanks to the stiffer chassis and revised suspension and steering components fitted to all Expeditions this year.
Inside, the Ford Expedition EL is still a little shy on maximum cargo capacity compared to GM's full-size sport-utes, but for buyers who plan to make regular use of the standard third-row seat, Ford's SUV offers more flexibility. By running the rear driveshafts through the frame rails, engineers were able to lower the floor, and this allows even adults to sit comfortably in the third row. Legroom is unchanged from the regular Expedition, but the EL offers 42.6 cubic feet of luggage space with the third row in use. If that's not enough, you can fold one or both of the seat's 60/40 sections flat into the floor; choose an Expedition EL Eddie Bauer or Limited model and those seats will power into the floor while you watch. Although the overall design of the cabin has begun to look a little dated, Ford has added a lengthy list of new safety equipment and electronics, including three-row side curtain airbags and a DVD-based navigation system, that puts the Expedition EL on mostly equal footing with its peers in the features department.
Finally, there's pricing to consider. Although Eddie Bauer and Limited models top out fairly close to competitors' high-line trims, the entry-level Expedition EL XLT is a few thousand dollars cheaper than anything else in the plus-size SUV class. It may not be the fastest SUV on the road, but for buyers seeking the size, comfort and utility that only an extra-large sport-ute can provide, the 2007 Ford Expedition EL is worth a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A long-wheelbase version of the standard Expedition, the 2007 Ford Expedition EL is available in a single four-door body style and three trim levels: XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited. Eight-passenger seating is standard. The well-equipped EL XLT model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, running boards, a Class III trailer hitch, air-conditioning (with a separate rear fan unit and controls), a six-speaker CD stereo with an MP3 player input jack, front captain's chairs with six-way power adjustments for the driver, cruise control and full power accessories. For buyers seeking more amenities, there's the Expedition EL Eddie Bauer. It offers two-tone exterior paint, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a higher-wattage sound system with an in-dash CD changer, leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat with memory, a six-way power front-passenger seat, a power-folding third-row seat, a trip computer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. At the top of the line you'll find the ritzy Expedition EL Limited, which has chrome wheels, a monochromatic paint job, perforated leather seats with heating and cooling elements up front, a 10-way power front-passenger seat and a wood/leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Major options on Ford's largest SUV include second-row captain's chairs (decreasing seating capacity to seven), a sunroof, a rear DVD entertainment system, Sirius satellite radio and, on the Eddie Bauer and Limited only, a DVD-based navigation system and a power liftgate. A Class IV towing package is available on all trims.
Powertrains and Performance
Every Expedition EL comes with a 5.4-liter V8 engine that makes 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. It's matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears and manual-shift capability. All trim levels are available with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (with low-range gearing). Properly equipped, a 2WD Ford Expedition EL can tow up to 9000 pounds. The EPA hasn't yet released fuel economy estimates for the Expedition EL, but given that it weighs significantly more than a regular Expedition, you can expect lower mileage.
All major safety equipment is standard on the Ford Expedition EL, including four-wheel antilock disc brakes (with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist), the AdvanceTrac stability control system (with Roll Stability Control to help avoid rollover accidents) and a tire-pressure monitor. Airbag coverage includes seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and three-row side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors and power-adjustable pedals are optional across the line; the pedals have a memory feature on Eddie Bauer and Limited models.
Ford's full-size SUV has received a five-star frontal-impact rating in NHTSA crash tests. Large SUVs don't participate in side-impact tests, but with all its safety equipment, the EL should offer solid protection in such crashes.
Interior Design and Special Features
Aware that most buyers are likely to use the Expedition EL for transporting children, Ford incorporated several family-friendly features. The standard second-row bench seat has a 40/20/40 split and allows you to scoot the middle section forward for easier access to a baby. If you opt for the second-row captain's chairs, maximum seating capacity drops to seven, but you get a storage console between the seats. A standard overhead console in the EL offers a parabolic conversation mirror so you can keep tabs on warring 10-year-olds in the third row. That third-row seat is large enough that you can actually sit back there with the kids as well, and when you need the cargo room, it folds flat in a convenient 60/40 split.
Drive a 2007 Ford Expedition EL and you'll likely be impressed by its smooth ride and agile handling. It's still a big vehicle and demands that you respect it as such, but its steering response, controllability and general composure are striking. From behind the wheel, the Expedition EL's hefty 6,000-pound curb weight is apparent, and even with 300 hp on tap, advance planning is required for highway passing attempts. The six-speed automatic makes the most of the engine's power band, but sometimes has difficulty finding the right gear in passing situations.