Houston? Yes, that's certainly real truck country, but not typically the place where major auto manufacturers host a world premiere, especially one as big as this. Regardless, Ford chose the Lone Star State to unveil its 2007 Expedition and Expedition EL, two weeks before Toyota dominated the Chicago auto show with its new, Texas-size/Texas-built Tundra pickup truck (for more Tundra details, see the full story in this issue).

Although the 2007 Expedition may look like it received a moderate restyle, don't be fooled. There are more than a few significant changes. To begin with, the all-new Expedition EL is Ford's replacement for the F-250-based Ford Excursion. Now it is to the Expedition what the Suburban is to the Chevy Tahoe: built on the same chassis, with many of the same parts. In fact, the EL has the new Expedition's completely redesigned independent rear suspension, a revised five-link design, and shares sheetmetal from the B-pillar to the front bumper, which sits below Ford's now-signature three-horizontal-bar grille.

This new rear suspension is a heavier-duty version of the five-link setup on the current Explorer and Explorer Sport Trac, specifically designed to deal with heavy vertical and side loads. Both short- and long-wheelbase Expeditions have an all-new, fully boxed frame and 10-percent-better torsional rigidity than the short-wheelbase version it replaces. Unique to the Suburban-fighter, the EL has a stretched wheelbase, 12 inches longer than its shorter sibling, at 131 inches (one inch longer than the Suburban), and overall length is up 14.8 inches, to 221.3. The stretch improves cargo capacity behind the third-row seat as well as behind each of the other rows. Choose the EL over the standard model, and you get an extra 22 cubic feet for a generous 130.8 cubic feet overall. Both Expeditions will continue to offer the Ford exclusive PowerFold electric third-row seat option, not available on the new Tahoe or Suburban.

Towing capacity is 9100 pounds for either Expedition. The standard engine on the Expedition and EL is a 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter Triton V-8, rated 365 pound-feet of torque and mated to a new six-speed automatic, a modified version of the transmission now offered in the Explorer and Sport Trac V-8. The optional 4x4 system has a two-speed transfer case and optional electronic shift-on-the-fly capability, giving the driver a choice between 2WD, AWD, 4WD High, and 4WD Low. All Expeditions come standard with AdvanceTrac and Roll Stability Control. They have 17-inch wheels standard, and 20-inch chrome wheels are available.

Interior features include an optional navigation system with a 6.5-inch screen, an optional eight-inch flat-screen video panel, MP3 capability and Sirius satellite radio hookup, and the Centerslide modular center compartment. The interior has been thoroughly revised, with an F-150-inspired center stack. Prices have not been announced, although you can expect the standard-wheelbase Expedition's sticker to start around $35,000 and move up quickly when optioned. The EL should start just under $40,000. Both go on sale this fall.




2007 Ford Expedition (EL)
General
EPA size classFull-size SUV
Drivetrain layoutFront engine, 4WD
AirbagsDual/side/head (opt)
Powertrain
Engine type90° V-8, iron block, alum heads
Bore x stroke, in3.55 x 4.17
Displacement, ci/L330/5.4
Compression ratio9.8:1
Valve gearSOHC, 3 valves/cyl
Fuel inductionSFI
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm300 @ 5000
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm365 @ 3750
Transmission type6-speed auto
1st 4.17:1
2nd 2.34:1
3rd 1.52:1
4th 1.14:1
5th 0.86:1
6th 0.69:1
Reverse 3.40:1
Axle ratio 3.31:1, 3.73:1 (3.73:1)
Final-drive ratio 2.57:1
Low-range ratio 2.43:1
Crawl ratio (1st x axle gears x low range) 37.8:1
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded
Dimensions/Capacities
Wheelbase, in 119.0 (131.0)
Length, in 206.5 (221.3)
Width, in 78.7 (78.7)
Height, in 77.2 (77.2)
Track, f/r, in 66.9/67.0 (66.9/67.0)
Headroom, f/m/r, in 39.6/39.8/38.3 (37.6)
Legroom, f/m/r, in 41.2/39.1/37.7
Shoulder room, f/m/r, in 63.2/63.7/51.9 (67.2)
Hiproom, f/m/r, in 60.2/59.9/50.2 (51.8)
Cargo area volume, cu ft 108.2 (130.8), Behind 2nd row, cu ft 54.9 (85.5), Behind 3rd row, cu ft 18.6 (42.6)
Ground clearance, in 8.7
App/dep angle, deg 22.8/21.4 (21.1/17.6)
Breakover angle, deg 18.3 (17.6)
Base curb weight, lb 5876 (6128)
Max payload capacity, lb 1895 (1745)
GVWR, lb 7800 (7900)
GCWR, lb 17,000 (16,500)
Towing capacity, lb 9100
Fuel capacity, gal 28.0 (34.0)
Chassis
Construction Ladder frame
Suspension, f/r IFS, short and long arm, coilover shocks/IRS, five-link, coilover shocks
Steering type Rack and pinion, power assist
Ratio 20:1
Turns, lock to lock 3.2
Turning circle, ft 40.8 (2WD), 43.9 (4WD)
Brakes, f/r 13.5-in vented disc/13.1-in vented disc
Wheels 20x8.5 aluminum
Tire size 275/50R20
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy 14/19 (13/18) (est)
Price
Base price $35,000 ($40,000) (est)
On sale Fall 2006
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