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The Ford Expedition is a full-size sport-utility vehicle based on Ford's popular full-size pickup truck platform. With rear- or four-wheel drive and seating for up to nine adults, the Expedition has long been on the short list of vehicle choices for full-size families as well as anyone who needs the combination of versatility and grunt provided by a large SUV.
Big, tall and heavy, the Ford Expedition is every inch a truck, its large body wrapped around a comfortable and spacious cabin. The latest generation of the Expedition doesn't feel as cumbersome to drive as its extravagant dimensions and hefty weight suggest, but you'll still be reminded of just how full-size the Expedition is at the gas pump. In many cases, a large crossover SUV would be a better new or used choice given the gains in fuel economy, handling and comfort. And if you really need something big and tow-worthy, other traditional SUVs like the Chevy Suburban are also worth a look.
Used Ford Expedition Models
The current, third-generation Ford Expedition is the product of a major refresh conducted for 2007. Since then, only minor changes have occurred. However, whereas previous-generation Expeditions could hold up to nine passengers, the current generation holds only eight, due to standard front bucket seats.
The second-generation Ford Expedition was introduced for the 2003 model year. Compared to the current generation, the styling was different and a less stiff chassis resided underneath. Ride and handling were not as good, and the standard automatic transmission had only four gears. There were also fewer available features, including three-row side curtain airbags. However, compared to its predecessor, this Expedition was a vast improvement -- specifically in regards to driving dynamics, thanks to its independent rear suspension. It was also the first SUV to offer power fold-into-the-floor rear seats.
Engines for this second-generation model consisted of a 232-hp 4.6-liter V8 and a 260-hp 5.4-liter V8. For 2005, Ford dropped the smaller engine and increased the 5.4-liter V8's output to 300 hp. The model line eventually proliferated from four trim levels at its debut (including an off-road version called FX4) to six for 2006, including the opulent, western-themed King Ranch edition. Safety-minded shoppers should know that all years of this generation came with stability control, with tire-pressure monitors becoming available with the 2004 models.
In reviews, we thought this Expedition competed favorably with its contemporary competitors from General Motors, Nissan and Toyota. If there was one area of contention -- especially in pre-'05 models -- it was a lack of muscle. On the whole, though, this edition of Ford's big SUV provided solid handling for a vehicle of its size. It still felt like a big SUV, but the steering was decently weighted and body roll was well controlled around turns. The ride could be a tad harsh on rough roads, but overall, it was a comfortable cruiser.
Launched for the 1997 model year, the original Ford Expedition was met with heaps of praise. Its dimensions fell between those of the short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions of the GM sport-utilities at the time, enabling it to both accommodate a third-row seat and fit inside a normal garage, albeit tightly. With a front bench seat, it could carry up to nine passengers.
The first-generation Ford Expedition came in just two trim levels: XLT and the more luxurious, two-tone Eddie Bauer. Both featured interior architecture that was nearly identical to the F-Series pickup, which offered good ergonomics but was rendered in lamentable materials. Its 215-hp 4.6-liter and 230-hp 5.4-liter V8 engines also could not keep up with the stronger motors from its primary competitors, a deficiency that was addressed in 1999 with a horsepower bump for both engines, of 25 and 30, respectively.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Ford Expedition page.