2009 Ford Expedition EL SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Ford Expedition EL SUV

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Ford Expedition EL Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 310 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 0/0 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Ford Expedition EL

  • Thanks to roomy seating, plenty of cargo capacity, impressive road manners and solid towing capability, the 2009 Ford Expedition EL is a solid choice for a full-size SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable seating in all three rows, 60/40-split third-row seat folds into floor, agile handling for its size, all key safety features come standard, hefty tow capacity.

  • Cons

    Three-ton curb weight drags down gas mileage and performance, enormous size hampers maneuverability, a few low-grade interior plastics.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Ford Expedition EL gets a handful of new features that include a capless fuel filler, a perimeter alarm, rain-sensing wipers, the Sync multimedia voice control system and Sirius Travel Link. Additionally, the 5.4-liter V8 adopts flex-fuel capability, meaning it can also run on ethanol-blend fuels.

Full 2009 Ford Expedition EL Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Ford Expedition EL gets a handful of new features that include a capless fuel filler, a perimeter alarm, rain-sensing wipers, the Sync multimedia voice control system and Sirius Travel Link. Additionally, the 5.4-liter V8 adopts flex-fuel capability, meaning it can also run on ethanol-blend fuels.


Extra long, extra large, extended length. Though the last is Ford's official designation, any of the three could explain the "EL" moniker of the 2009 Ford Expedition EL. Debuting a few years ago to battle the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, the Expedition EL stretches 15 inches longer from bow to stern than the standard Expedition. It also boasts an extra foot of wheelbase. Thusly supersized, the biggest SUV in Ford's stable is virtually identical in size to those GM brutes.

Ostensibly, folks buy such beasts of burden for maximum passenger and cargo space, and there's plenty of both inside the Expedition EL, especially in the third-row seating area. Scrutinize the spec charts and you'll see that the Expedition EL gives up a bit of ultimate cargo capacity to the GM twins, but its third-row seat is much more spacious. That's made possible by a lower floor that in turn is allowed by the independent rear suspension. The EL's way-back seat also folds flat into the floor, as opposed to the Suburban's hernia-risking third-row removal-only process.

New features for the Expedition EL this year include a capless fuel filler, a perimeter alarm, rain-sensing wipers, satellite radio, the Sync multimedia voice control system and Sirius Travel Link. Also, the 5.4-liter V8 is now capable of running on ethanol-blend fuels. But once again, the Expedition EL sees no significant changes under that big hood. Whereas the GM competitors offer a choice of powerful engines, the Ford makes do with just the workhorse 5.4-liter V8 that's rated for 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. Certainly, those are decent numbers, but the EL's rivals offer considerably more power and weigh less to boot. As a result, this Expedition's performance when loaded up can be sluggish when swift acceleration is needed, especially at higher speeds such as when merging or passing on the freeway.

But by most other measures, the 2009 Ford Expedition EL bests the GM mega-utes. Handling and ride qualities are both superior, and the Ford may offer a price advantage. Although the Expedition EL's higher trim levels are priced similarly to the competition's upper trims, the entry-level XLT trim stickers for a few grand less than anything else in its class. It may not be the quickest extra-large SUV around, but its ease of usability and comfortable demeanor should put the Expedition EL at the top of shoppers' consideration lists.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Ford Expedition EL is a long-wheelbase version of the standard Expedition. It is available in four trim levels: XLT, Eddie Bauer, Limited and King Ranch. The XLT is well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, running boards, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, air-conditioning (front and rear), cruise control, full power accessories, front captain's chairs (with power adjustment for the driver), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The Eddie Bauer trim adds two-tone exterior paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, a 10-way power driver seat with memory, a six-way power passenger seat, a power-folding third-row seat, a back-up camera, the Sync multimedia voice control system and an upgraded sound system with a CD changer.

Stepping up to the Limited means getting the Eddie Bauer's equipment plus chrome wheels, a monochromatic paint job, rain-sensing wipers, perforated leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a 10-way power front passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals and reverse parking sensors. The range-topping Expedition EL King Ranch is similar to the Limited but wears its own 18-inch wheels and has upgraded "Chaparral" leather upholstery in all three rows and wood trim.

Option highlights include 20-inch wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, second-row captain's chairs (which reduce maximum seating from eight to seven), a sunroof, a rear entertainment system, satellite radio, a power tailgate, a navigation system with its own rearview camera, and power-deployed running boards. Opting for the nav system also gets you Sirius Travel Link, which provides traffic conditions, weather forecasts, sports scores, movie listings and local fuel prices.

Powertrains and Performance

A 5.4-liter V8 that makes 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque powers every Expedition EL. No other engine choices are offered. The 5.4 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All trims can be had in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (with low-range gearing).

Because the EPA isn't required to conduct fuel economy testing on vehicles heavier than 6,000 pounds, we expect the Expedition EL will achieve a couple of mpg less than the lighter, regular (2WD) Expedition's ratings of 14 mpg city20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. The Expedition EL's maximum towing capacity stands at 9,000 pounds for the 2WD version and 8,750 for the 4WD version.


Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control with rollover protection, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard across the line. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the 2009 Ford Expedition EL received perfect five-star ratings in all of that agency's frontal and side impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Expedition EL's cabin boasts an attractive design and easy-to-use controls. A few points are lost because of some low-grade plastic trim, but overall fit and finish is good, and a number of clever features make this SUV ideal for large families. The second-row bench seat has a 40/20/40 split and allows you to scoot the middle section close to the front seats for easier access to a youngster. If you opt for the second-row captain's chairs, seating capacity drops to seven, though you get a storage console between those seats.

The Expedition EL's 60/40-split third-row seat is one of the most comfortable in the full-size-SUV class. It folds flat with a quick and easy release handle in XLT models or powers up and down at the press of a button in the higher trims. The EL offers 42.6 cubic feet of luggage space with the third row in use. If that's not enough, fold the third row for 85.5 cubic feet of cargo space. When it's time to move the kid to college, flip down the second and third rows and you'll have nearly 131 cubes.

Driving Impressions

Drive a 2009 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 and general composure are quite good for a full-size SUV. Still, the parking lot will always be a multiple-turn adventure. 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 falters when choosing the right gear in passing situations.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Good for towing

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

We bought this truck to tow our boat and travel trailer. Overall it is a very capable tow vehicle, the extended wheelbase and weight help ensure a stable ride when towing large trailers. The ride is very comfortable, so this is a good vehicle for long road trips. There is a ton of interior space, plenty of room for people and luggage. When both rows of passengers seats are folded flat you can fit 4x8 sheets of plywood/drywall flat on the floor with no problem. Gas mileage is what I expected for a vehicle this size, love the FlexFuel option as we are in the midwest and E85 is usually much cheaper than gasoline.

Good looks, but needs improvement

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

The design of the vehicle inside and out are great and have a "tough" look and feel to it. There's lots of room, comfortable, and quiet inside. The power running boards integrates to the Expedition nicely, unlike the GM SUVs with the feature, which leaves unsightly gaps, unlike the Ford. Great comfort for all 8 seats. Plus the SYNC was easy to use. Build quality can be improved however. SYNC radio won't turn on using the power button, heated/cooled seats won't leave on, rear air suspension is noisy and vibrates, the power driver's seat rocks back and forth slightly, plastic chips and wood quality on steering wheel not good, chrome wheels has tarnish that was impossible to remove, etc.

The best full-size car

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

This is the best large SUV you can buy. For one the expedition el seems to have more interior space than the suburban, yukon xl , or the escalade esv. One other thing is that the ford feels more like a truck(which I like because I good off-road).

Great family vehicle

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL Limited 4dr SUV (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

With 3 children (12, 9, 5) and quite a few long driving vacations, we spend quite a bit of time in the Expedition EL. I cannot say enough good things about it. We previously bought my wife a Honda Pilot, but almost immediately sold it and purchased the Expedition EL. The Pilot was a great SUV, but simply not big enough or comfortable enough for a large family and long trips. The overall interior comfort is outstanding, the audio/nav/touch screen technology is impressive, and the fuel economy is better than expected. We live in a rural area and spend no time sitting in traffic. Having said that, we average 17.5 miles in mixed use and 20 miles/gallon on the highway.

Excellent vehicle

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

I just bought the 2009 Expedition EL XLT 4x4 and it lived up to my expectations of what a large-size SUV should feel and look like. This is my first SUV and my first vehicle that I have ever bought in my life, and a long time dream to own one as well. I don't mind the price, since I got a great deal for it. The dark blue exterior was breath taking. The interior was top notch. As for road handling, the EL XLT can maneuver the rough pavements smoothly, especially on rainy days. The brakes are on point and the acceleration performs good. I like the extra cargo space, which came in handy for taking groceries and moving my household goods. If you were looking for a feel-good SUV, well, this is it!

All good

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Expedition EL Limited 4dr SUV (5.4L 8cyl 6A)

The Japanese and Germans only wish they could could build this. I drove the Toyota Sequoia and Mercedes GL and neather of them were even close. I can get 20mpg if I keep my foot out of it, not bad for a vehicle of this size. I have had four Expeditions since 1998 and they have all been great and only get better. I travel a lot with my family and everyone is always comfortable. I recently put 10,000 miles on it in one month and never got out of it feeling sore, thats a quality vehicle. I haven't been near the dealership with this Expedition except to look for a new truck.

Talk About The 2009 Expedition EL

2009 Ford Expedition EL Discussions See all Started By

The reason I asked that question is because I just bought a 2009 Ford Expedition EL XLT 4x4 in March with optional features. But my friends said I should've gotten the standard size Expedition instead...

I bought a new 2010 Expedition EL in Dec 2009 and didn't check the A/C until...

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