Savvy Toughness: 2007 Ford Expedition Review

SUV hauls people and cargo on a large yet stylish scale.

May. 01, 2007 By Katrina Ramser
For true full-size SUV connoisseurs wanting 4x4 capability, you’re going to love what the Ford Expedition has to offer in regards to refinement and size to your off-road adventure.
Ford claims the Expedition styling cues come from the F-150. Photo ORC

Ford knows your type is not easy to please. The vehicle is Ford’s flagship large SUV since the company cancelled the Excursion and knows it competes with the Chevy Suburban. Introduced in 1997 during the SUV boom, the Expedition was redesigned in 2003 and has received a major facelift for 2007.

We’re talking new, new, and more new. The 2007 Expedition as all new exterior, interior, chassis, suspension, transmission, entertainment options and climate control system. It even boasts a new, quieter ride and an Extended Length trim (EL).

Because full-size SUV drivers are discriminating about their product, what better way to entice the clientele than to give a journalist the 8-passenger 2007 Limited Expedition with the 5.4-liter SOHC V8 engine and four-wheel drive capability? Standard vehicle price was listed at $39,925, but with Optional Equipment the price was beefed up to a total cost of $47,975. Gas mileage estimated for this model and trim is 14-mpg city and 17-mpg highway driving.

Smooth Operator

Under the hood of the 2007 Ford Expedition 4x4 is a 300-horsepower 5.4-liter SOHC Triton V8 with 365 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm. It has single overhead cams, three valves per cylinder and variable cam timing. It has a 6-speed transmission with manual shift capability, replacing the 4-speed. 

Expect refinement in the form of mahogany wood trim and leather. Photo ORC

The feeling behind the wheel of new Ford Expedition is one ladled with confidence. The vehicle proves to have an extremely secure relationship with the on-and-off-road. The new frame has been designed to meet the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility impact standards two years ahead of the required time. The Expedition boasts an all-new five-link independent rear suspension design and monotube shocks. Basically, it was glued when moving around pavement corners. The new variable boost steering pump uses lightweight aluminum components and claims to reduce steering efforts by 15 percent.

When it comes to 4x4 capability, Ford tests the Expedition in the same way it tests its F-Series trucks.  The 4x4 models have two-speed transfer cases with optional electronic shift-on-the-fly capability, controlled from a dash-mounted rotary knob. In low range, the electronic throttle control changes to a special off-road calibration for more precise torque management in challenging sand, mud of rock conditions. Towing capacity is up to 9,200 pounds.

Overall, the steering was extremely smooth and surprised me for a vehicle of this size. Maneuverability in parking lots, cul-de-sacs, and even during hilly three-point turns on off-road terrain was a speedy, stress-free experience. Any vehicle weighing in over 6,000 lbs is going to feel a bit sluggish at acceleration, but the Expedition still impressed me.

Big & Bigger

The 2007 Expedition showcases three major trims: XLT, XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited – all available with the EL option, which adds another 15 inches to the length and a 12 inches to the wheelbase. This caters to those customers expecting more cargo-carrying capability and the EL delivers with 130.8 cu-ft of cargo space including 24 cu-ft of more cargo space behind the third-row seat.

The power liftgate was impressive and convenient. Photo ORC

Ford explains the new Expedition styling cues come from the F-150. At best, it’s a distant cousin. It’s just not as boxy and stealth as the trucks. If you look real close, there are similarities with the prominent three-bar grille and the raised powerdome hood; but the new dual-beam headlamps with integrated side-marker lights wrapping around into the front fenders offers new genetics.

The interior inside the Limited Expedition definitely exudes Ford’s description of having “craftsmanship.”  Major interior standards were set inside my ride with its charcoal black leather seats and mahogany wood trim. The ambiance is very laid back and has an expansive feeling, like I had entered a luxurious and soundless yacht.

Getting behind the wheel for the first time was like getting behind a big ship. The seats are resigned from the floor up with improved contours, larger bolsters, softer cushions and upgraded materials. Nevertheless, I had trouble getting comfortable with the power seats. I chalk it up to the fact a full-size SUV can be intimidating.

The Optional Equipment on the Limited Expedition included a rear seat DVD system, power moonroof, a Convenience Package (reverse sensing system, power adjustable brakes, power quarter flip windows), a heavy-duty trailer tow, navigation radio, power liftgate, and a load leveling system. The touch screen on navigation system is not very user-friendly. It also does not provide full DVD controls. For safety reasons, all entertainment controls should be accessible by the driver.

But giving the Expedition criticism for safety is one thing you cannot do. The 2000 Expedition was the first full-size SUV to earn five-star front safety NCAP ratings for the driver and passenger from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; furthermore, it has maintained this recognition every year. The Expedition offers new seat-mounted front side air bags and three-row Safety Canopy™ rollover detection system that includes extended-duration side curtain air bags that extend down to the beltline for increased coverage. The system also features roll-fold deployment for enhanced protection. Ford’s exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control) also is standard. If the roll rate sensor detects a significant roll angle, the system applies additional countermeasures, such as applying brakes to one or more wheels or reducing engine power, in order to help the driver maintain control.

The 2007 Ford Expedition Limited is fully loaded for a slick, comfortable and quite ride. Photo ORC

One-of-a-Kind (For One-of-a-Kinds)
At best, the vehicle made 15-mpg for both city and highway driving. This is enough for me to make up my own mind. I am personally not part of the Ford Expedition target market.

What I discovered through the 2007 Ford Expedition is that you’ve got to be a champion of full-size SUVs to love what the Ford Expedition has to offer. Seeing a refined SUV verse an oversized gas-guzzler requires the same attitude needed to view escargot (not snails).

Because the market for large SUVS is declining each year, a car manufacturer has to get it right each year with their full-size offerings. Refinement and quietness are the 2007 Ford Expedition’s marquee descriptions – words that can be understand and appreciated by anyone. Newsletter
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