2007 Ford Expedition

Rating

47/100

Background

With high fuel prices here to stay, large SUVs aren’t an easy sell anymore, even to consumers who like the idea of a car that can accommodate six to seven of their closest family and friends. So for 2007, Ford has redoubled its efforts and come up with an Expedition that’s quieter, more refined and better equipped than ever before. It’s also cheaper than last year’s model, with an attractive $30,000 base price.Although the changes on the 2007 Ford Expedition don’t constitute a full redesign, they’re significant nonetheless. Underneath, there’s a more rigid chassis that borrows its front frame section from the F-150 pickup, and revised front and rear suspension designs. Additionally, the rear driveshafts flow through the frame rails, which lowers the big SUV’s center of gravity and opens up more room for third-row passengers. Other revisions include larger brake calipers and thicker brake rotors to shorten stopping distances, as well as a new master cylinder to improve pedal feel. There’s also a new variable-assist power-steering pump to make the Expedition easier to finesse in parking lots. Compared to last year’s model, the ’07 Expedition has a smoother drive and a more agile feel around corners.Ford’s large SUV is also carrying around another 200 pounds of curb weight, thanks to the new chassis, an extra helping of insulation to quiet the drive and new standard equipment like front seat-mounted side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and AdvanceTrac stability control (which still includes the Roll Stability Control feature). Even so, the Expedition’s 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V8 offers strong and steady acceleration in most situations, and this year’s new 6-speed automatic transmission does a good job of keeping the engine in its power band. Unfortunately, Ford’s full-size SUV is no more frugal with fuel than it was last year. GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon twins get up to speed just as quickly as the Expedition but return better gas mileage.However, neither GM’s full-size sport-utes nor competitors like the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada can accommodate seven to eight passengers as comfortably as the Expedition can, and none of them has a 60/40-split third-row seat with a power fold feature. Plus, Ford has updated many of its full-size SUV’s outdated electronics. The optional navigation system is now DVD-based rather than CD-based and includes a touchscreen, while a pair of upgraded sound systems offer an MP3 player input jack and satellite radio compatibility.While these improvements don’t necessarily vault the 2007 Ford Expedition to the top of the full-size SUV class, they do make it one of the strongest players. For buyers who require the size and utility that only a large sport-ute can provide, the Expedition deserves consideration.

Drive

Drive a 2007 Ford Expedition and you’ll likely be impressed by its agile handling. It’s still a big car and demands that you respect it as such, but its steering response, controllability and general composure are striking. Ride quality is smooth, though the Ford isn’t as plush as some competitors and it has a bit more road noise as well. Although the Expedition’s mass is apparent from behind the wheel, the V8 offers solid acceleration in most situations, delivering its power in a very smooth manner. The 6-speed automatic generally makes good use of the V8’s reserves but occasionally has difficulty finding the right gear during passing maneuvers.

Exterior

A large SUV, the 2007 Ford Expedition is available in a single four-door body style and three trim levels: XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited. The well-equipped XLT model seats five and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, running boards, a Class III trailer hitch, air-conditioning, 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 Eddie Bauer. It seats eight, thanks to its power-folding third-row seat, and offers two-tone exterior paint, dual-zone automatic climate control (with separate rear controls), 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 trip computer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. At the top of the line, you’ll find the ritzy Expedition Limited, which has 18-inch 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 full-size SUV include a manually folding third-row seat for the XLT (increasing seating capacity to eight), second-row captain’s chairs, 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 Expeditions, and XLT buyers can get an off-road package with skid plates and tubular step bars.

Interior

Although there are still a few too many small buttons, new materials and updated electronics give the cabin a more modern feel this year. Expeditions can seat anywhere from five to eight passengers, depending on how you configure them. The seats offer larger bolsters this year, and the front seats have a touch more seat-track travel. 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. The Expedition’s 60/40 third-row seat is one of the more cozy in the full-size SUV class and it folds flat with a quick and easy release handle in XLT models. In the Eddie Bauer and Limited, you can raise or lower it at the press of a button. As expected, there’s not much cargo room behind the third-row seat (18.6 cubic feet), but folding it provides 54.9 cubic feet. With the second row seats folded up as well, there are 108.2 cubic feet, about as much room as the Tahoe offers. One family-friendly touch is the overhead conversation mirror in Eddie Bauer and Limited models — a valuable tool for keeping tabs on squabbling siblings.

Safety

All major safety equipment is standard on the Ford Expedition, 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.The ’07 Expedition has received a five-star frontal-impact rating in NHTSA crash tests. Full-size trucks don’t participate in side-impact tests, but with all its safety equipment, the Expedition should offer solid protection in such crashes.

Specs

All Expeditions come standard with a 5.4-liter V8 that makes 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. It’s matched to a new 6-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); 4×2 Expeditions have all-season tires, while 4×4 models get all-terrain rubber. Properly equipped, the Ford Expedition can haul up to 9200 pounds. Ford estimates fuel economy at 14 miles per gallon city/19 miles per gallon highway for 2WD trucks and 14/17 for 4x4s — identical to last year’s mediocre stats.

Value

All major safety features come standard, comfortably accommodates seven to eight passengers, third-row seat folds into floor, extraordinary handling for its size, high haul capacity.

Verdict

With its exceptionally roomy seating, polished road manners and solid towing capability, the 2007 Ford Expedition is an attractive choice for large, active families.

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