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One major flaw, namely twitchy steering, turns us off the Expedition. Twitchy steering is not something you want in a tall 5,000-pound vehicle.
Excellent interior design and comfort, wide-ranging versatility, impressive hauling capabilities, available rear-seat entertainment system, great crash-test scores.
Still might be too big for some garages, bias toward on-road comfort hurts off-road capabilities, sloppy handling when pushed.
Available Expedition SUV Models
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For 2002, the Expedition gets Ford's BeltMinder audible warning system to remind buyers to buckle up. The XLT can be equipped with a rear video entertainment system for the first time. Eddie Bauer models can be done up in Premier Group packaging, which includes monochromatic exterior paint, second-row captain's chairs, moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights and illuminated running boards.
Which one do you think Goldilocks would pick? With the addition of the Escape in 2001, it seems Ford has enough different-sized SUVs to satisfy everyone. And for those people who want something bigger than an Explorer, but smaller than an Excursion, the Expedition should be just right.
After allowing GM to dominate the full-size SUV arena for years, in 1997, Ford introduced the Expedition, which had its sights squarely aimed at the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Able to seat nine people with its optional third-row bench seat, the Expedition is also easier to park and maneuver than the larger Chevy Suburban (or Excursion, for that matter). The vehicle also has useful payload and towing capacity: up to 1,955 pounds and 8,100 pounds, respectively.
The Expedition is available in XLT or Eddie Bauer trim with either two- or four-wheel drive. Power-adjustable pedals are standard on all trim levels and allow drivers of smaller stature to move the pedals toward their feet rather than moving the seat uncomfortably close to the steering wheel. Side airbags and a handy reverse sensing system are optional for increased safety.
Interior coddling can be increased with the optional rear-seat entertainment system, newly available on XLT models for 2002. Eddie Bauer models can be equipped with second-row captain's chairs for an authentic conversion van feel. Another option that we think everyone should investigate is the lighted running boards. The Expedition towers above the ground, and entering and exiting this truck will take its toll on most passengers after a few days.
On the road, the Expedition is reasonably well mannered. It's obviously not a car, but compared to the old Ford Bronco, the Expedition rides like a limousine. Still, this vehicle is based on the Ford F-Series, and as such, handles much the same way a loaded-down pickup might. Directional stability could be better, and emergency handling maneuvers reveal the effects of Expedition's 4,900-pound or higher curb weight.
Though Ford boosted output for both the 4.6- and 5.4-liter V8 engines last year, they still are less powerful compared to the Vortec powerplants found in GM's full-size utes. The Expedition's standard 4.6-liter motor makes 232 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. Step up to the bigger 5.4-liter mill, and you'll be rewarded with 260 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy, as applied to this vehicle, is an oxymoron, as you might expect.
Ford's Expedition represents a decent balance between comfort and function in a full-size SUV, and its ability to seat nine people makes it popular with large families and those who have to haul stuff around. Nevertheless, we can't overlook the surprisingly roomy Dodge Durango, the better-executed Toyota Sequoia and the well-packaged Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon when discussing monster SUVs. In the last few years, choices in this class have gotten much more difficult to make.
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