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  • Road Test: 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ vs. 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch

Road Test: 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ vs. 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch

The Ford vs. Chevy Feud Continues

Allyson Harwood
Jun 1, 2006
Photographers: Brian Vance
The blows just keep coming in the Ford/Chevrolet rivalry. Here, Chevy's 2007 Tahoe LTZ and Ford's 2006 King Ranch Expedition--four-wheel-drive full-size SUVs, fully loaded--hash it out, nose to nose, mano a mano.
Power: The engines are well matched. Chevrolet's 5.3-liter Displacement On Demand V-8 was given healthy power increases for 2007. The Tahoe has 20 more horses, but has 25-pound-feet less torque. The Tahoe beats the Expedition--it has smoother, more responsive power delivery, and better fuel economy, and is almost a second faster to 60 mph. Winner: Tahoe.
Photo 2/13   |   112 0602 05z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Front Passenger Side
Ride and handling: Both body-on-frame SUVs ride well, but neither has carlike canyon-carving handling. And they shouldn't: These trucks are built for work. The Ford's independent rear end would seem to have a natural advantage here. However, Chevrolet has done a fine job revamping the live-axle rear. Also, the Autoride suspension, which adjusts shock tuning to current driving conditions, gives the Tahoe a smooth ride in the straights and tightens it up in turns. Factor in a new, stiffer frame and a coil-spring front suspension replacing torsion bars, and Chevy has managed to make a live-axle truck handle more like one with IRS. While both feel comfortable on well-paved roads, on the rougher stuff, the Ford's showing its age--it feels more jittery over bumps and potholes.
Photo 3/13   |   112 0602 06z Verdict 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Front Driver Side
But at the track the Expedition's IRS made its mark. Senior road-test editor Chris Walton observed that the Ford felt more confident and composed in the slalom, even though the Tahoe completed the course 1.4 mph faster (57.2 versus 55.8 mph). This was likely due to the King Ranch's Roll Stability Control, which couldn't be shut off during track testing. Non-RSC-equipped Ford Motor Company SUVs on this platform have been timed at 59.9 mph, considerably faster than the Chevy. Winner: Tahoe.
112 0602 02l Verdict Full Size Suv Comparison
  |   112 0602 02l Verdict Full Size Suv Comparison
Function: The Ford is better equipped for hard labor. Four-wheel-drive Expeditions have a maximum towing capacity of 8600 pounds, whereas 4x4 Tahoes can haul up to 7700. And both the Tahoe and Expedition can seat up to nine people. Both top out at a gross vehicle weight rating of 7300 pounds, yet despite the motorized third row and independent rear, the Expedition weighs 40 pounds less unloaded. Winner: Expedition.
Carrying cargo: These three-row SUVs use different methods to accommodate gear. The Tahoe has a removable two-piece third row. The Expedition's cabin uses a power-folding third row (optional) that folds flat in 10 seconds. And even when the Tahoe's third row is stored in the garage, the Expedition still has more overall cargo volume. Winner: Expedition.
Photo 4/13   |   112 0602 07z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Dash
Interior design: This may be the first time the Tahoe's cabin can be described as elegant. The leather trim is tasteful, the woodgrain accents are a terrific match, the color scheme is well done, and the gauges and center stack are attractive and easy to read. The King Ranch layout uses medium-brown saddle-style Castano leather--not exactly a home run--and its center stack, namely the stereo and HVAC, could use a makeover. Winner: Tahoe.

Photo 5/13   |   112 0602 08z Verdict 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Dash
Comfort: With captain's chairs in the first two rows of both vehicles, seat comfort there was similar. When equipped with a second-row bench, the Expedition has more hiproom, but the Tahoe has more leg and shoulder space. The decision-maker here is the third row: Ford's allows an adult to sit with relative comfort--the seating position is more natural, and there's a whopping 11 inches more legroom--but in the Tahoe, your knees sit too high. Winner: Expedition.
Ergonomics: As attractive as the Tahoe's interior is, there are some minor issues. For instance, the Tahoe's steering wheel--canted slightly away from the driver on the left side--and driver-information center use buttons with cryptic icons. Even though the Ford's controls haven't changed much since the 1990s, anyone that gets into an Expedition will instantly know what everything does. Winner: Expedition.
Styling: The Tahoe's new look is a good one. GM managed to redesign the SUV without reducing its masculinity and made it distinctive. Its new lines and revamped cabin highlight the Expedition's need for a makeover; new exterior colors and a Texan-themed leather interior aren't enough. Winner: Tahoe.
Photo 6/13   |   112 0602 09z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Engine
Build quality: Chalk another one up for the Tahoe. While the Ford's moonroof surround looked warped, there were gaps between trim pieces on the front door panels, and there was visible black adhesive attaching the floor console to the dash, there was little to find fault with in the Chevy. Winner: Tahoe.
Value: Tahoe pricing hasn't been announced, but estimates put the base MSRP in the upper $30,000s. Topline models, like this LTZ, would probably climb to the high $40,000s, with nav, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and satellite radio. This King Ranch Expedition was $51,005 as tested, without satellite radio or navigation. The Tahoe looks to be the better value. Winner: Tahoe.
Photo 7/13   |   112 0602 10z Verdict 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Engine
Conclusion: Chevrolet has made huge improvements to the Tahoe. It's quicker, the interior is quieter and more elegant, the styling is fresh, and it's nicer to drive. There are areas where Ford still dominates--interior packaging, confident feel in corners, and towing capacity--but until that company fires back with a new Expedition, the Tahoe has pulled ahead, and wins this down and dirty matchup.

  2007 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch
Base/as-tested price $37,000 / $48,000 (est) $46,060 / $51,005
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD Front engine, 4WD
Engine 5.3L/320-hp/340 lb-ft OHV V-8 5.4L/300-hp/365 lb-ft SOHC V-8
Transmission 4-speed automatic 4-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 5840 lb (52/48%) 5800 lb (51/49%)
Length x Width x Height 202.0 x 79.0 x 77.0 in 205.8 x 78.7 x 76.6 in
0-60 mph 8.6 sec 9.4 sec
Quarter mile 16.6 sec @ 82.9 mph 16.9 sec @ 81.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 133 ft 141 ft
600-foot slalom 57.2 mph avg 55.8 mph avg
Lateral acceleration 0.72 g avg 0.72 g avg
MT Figure eight 29.9 sec @ 0.53 g avg 29.7 sec @ 0.53 g avg
EPA city/hwy econ 15 / 21 mpg 14 / 17 mpg
1st Place - Chevrolet Tahoe
Adds improved driving dynamics and good looks to an already competent package.
2nd place - Ford Expedition
Still a capable, hard-working sport/utility--but it's ready for an update.

Photo 8/13   |   112 0602 11z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Nose
Photo 9/13   |   112 0602 12z Verdict 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Nose

Photo 10/13   |   112 0602 13z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Front Grill
Photo 11/13   |   112 0602 14z Verdict 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Front Driver Side

Photo 12/13   |   112 0602 15z Verdict 2006 Ford Expedition King Ranch Rear Driver Side
Photo 13/13   |   112 0602 16z Verdict 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Ltz Passenger Side



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