New Car/Review

1999 FORD EXPEDITION EDDIE BAUER 4X4

By Tom Hagin

Ford Full Line factory footage (14:26) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 38,880
Price As Tested                                    $ 40,945
Engine Type              SOHC 16-valve 5.4 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
Engine Size                                 330 cid/5410 cc
Horsepower                                   260 @ 4500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               345 @ 2300 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  119.1"/78.6"/204.6"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     5379 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  30.0 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                         P265/70R17 all-terrain
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                      Eight-passenger/five-door
Domestic Content                                        N/A
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            12/16/15
0-60 MPH                                       10.0 Seconds
1/4 mile (E.T.)                                 2000 pounds
Maximum towing capacity                         7500 pounds
     * Sequential multi-point  fuel injection

The Ford Expedition is arguably the nation's best-selling full-size sport utility vehicle. It has competition from another maker, but that company makes three vehicles based on the same chassis, and they're sold at separate dealers under different badges. Collectively, the American full-size SUV market accounts for nearly 400,000 units sold per year.

Expedition comes as the XLT version or the uplevel Eddie Bauer, a luxurious all-weather cruiser that's enjoying a surge in popularity.

OUTSIDE - Expedition is based on Ford's relatively new F150 pickup. In fact, from the windshield pillars forward, the look is identical. It's big and tall, especially since the Eddie Bauer 4X4 model comes standard with 17-inch tires and wheels, a gain of an inch over the standard XLT version. Ford literature states that it can be stored in an "average" size garage, but squeezed inside our "average" two-car garage left little room to open its doors. The standard XLT Expedition is relatively spartan on the outside but Eddie Bauer models are dressed up a bit with wheel lip and rocker moldings, which makes it look wider and more luxurious than its more plebeian stablemate. Also, a set of narrow running boards with handy accent lights give a bit of assistance to those climbing aboard the big machine. A separate glass window resides within the swing-up tailgate.

INSIDE - A cavernous interior mirrors Expedition's mammoth exterior. This pays big dividends when it comes time to haul passengers and cargo. The standard seating arrangement of our Eddie Bauer test model can accommodate eight passengers; two up front and three-across in the middle and third rows. If more seating capacity is necessary, XLT models with a front bench seat and an optional third-row seat can haul up to nine people. And new this year are optional power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals that provide three inches of travel, so shorter drivers can now reach the pedals easily. Standard equipment on both Expedition models includes air conditioning, a rear window wiper/washer, power windows, outside mirrors and door locks, AM/FM/cassette stereo, cruise control and rear seat heater ducts. Eddie Bauer models add automatic climate control, a power passenger seat, overhead console, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a CD changer.

ON THE ROAD - More power is the news for 1999. Expedition XLT is available with a standard 4.6 liter V8 engine that produces 240 horsepower, 25 more than last year, and a six pound-feet jump in torque, to 296. Optional with XLT and standard with Eddie Bauer is a 5.4 liter V8 engine that now gives 260 horsepower (30 more than before) and 345 pound-feet of torque, up from 325. Both utilize the latest in technology with a single overhead camshaft atop each cylinder head, multi-point electronic fuel injection and a tuned intake system. Though not overly quick, the most prominent attribute is the smooth-running nature of these engines. They also use a system that will help protect the engine in the event of a loss of coolant. Both are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - Expedition's ruggedness is enhanced by boxed frame rails, making the chassis stiffer and the ride quality better. It uses independent front suspension and a solid rear axle, while our tester had an optional load-leveling air suspension to keep the ride height constant, regardless of load. Its four-wheel-drive system is called Control-Trac and uses a computer-controlled two-speed transfer case and a center-disconnect front axle. Everyday driving uses A4WD, where the computer can sense wheel slip and activate the front axle for instant 4X4 engagement. The 4H (high) mode can be activated on- the-fly, and is used on mud, snow and ice, while 4L (low) offers a low gear ratio that provides stump-pulling power. Neither 4L or 4H are suitable for dry pavement. Speed-sensitive, variable-assist steering and four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) are standard.

SAFETY - Dual airbags, ABS and side-impact beams are standard.

OPTIONS - Load-leveling suspension: $815; heated front seats: $290; power moonroof: $800; power adjust pedals: $120; skid plates: $105.

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