SEE ALSO: Ford Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 40,205 Price As Tested $ 41,245 Engine Type SOHC 20-valve 6.8 Liter V10 w/SMFI* Engine Size 412 cid/6761 cc Horsepower 300 @ 4250 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 430 @ 3250 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 137.1"/80.0"/226.7" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 7,232 pounds Fuel Capacity 44.0 gallons Tires (F/R) LT265/75R16D all-season 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 8/12/10 0-60 MPH 11.0 seconds Payload 1,744 pounds Towing capacity 9,700 pounds * Sequential multi-point fuel injection
The Ford Excursion is a true utility vehicle and it excels at hauling passengers and cargo for jobs or vacations. It comes in XLT and like our tester for the week, the top-line Limited.
OUTSIDE - The Excursion is 19-feet long, 6.5-feet wide and "...just under seven feet tall..," according to Ford. Despite this claim, it rarely fits into multi-level parking lots or a home garage. Finding an accommodating mall parking spot is also a chore, and maneuvering through traffic can be nerve-wracking. Special steel extensions protrude down under the front bumper to reduce the risk of overriding a smaller vehicle while a giant frame-mounted trailer hitch similarly protects other vehicles in a rear-end crash. A massive chrome grille is set between flush, sealed-beam halogen headlamps, while a unique rear hatch incorporates a set of lightweight Dutch-style doors and a flip-up glass hatch which makes access to the cargo area easy. Its huge side mirrors are a necessity, while optional trailer-tow mirrors offer three times the viewing area. Running boards are standard equipment and feature standard illumination on Limited models but an option on the XLT.
INSIDE - There is quite a step up to climb into the 4X4 Excursion, but the running boards and large doors help. Grab handles are located throughout the cabin to assist as well. Excursions can hold up to nine people depending on the model, but the best arrangement came with in a seven seater configuration. Two up front, three in the middle and two in the third bench seatworks out just fine. The middle-row seats fold and stow flat for extra cargo space, and the third-row seat is simple to remove. The rear seats release and slide forward for rear access using a series of levers. The interior is loaded with amenities such as five separate power sockets and roof ventilation ports, a rear audio system, 10 cupholders and lots lots of storage. Our tester's front bucket seats were well bolstered and supportive. Excursion shined when we nearly maxed out its cargo bay with weight, easily swallowing 40 cases of lemon juice with room to spare. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, a powerful stereo, cruise control and variable speed intermittent wipers.
ON THE ROAD - The entry-level Excursion engine is a 5.4-liter V8. Called Triton by Ford, it produces 255 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. A Power Stroke diesel V8 is also available, making only 235 horses but a massive 500 lb-ft of torque. Ford expects 15-percent of Excursions buyers to opt for this engine but most will buy theirs with a 310-horse, 6.8-liter V10. With 425 lb-ft of torque, much of it available at low rpm, towing jobs of up to 10,000 pounds are possible. Fuel mileage is dismal, however, and that is expected from such a large vehicle. We averaged about 11 mpg with a full load of passengers and cargo. A 44-gallon gas tank helps mask its woeful mpg figures, so fill- ups are far between. The only transmission choice is an electronic four-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive models use a part-time, shift-on-the-fly 4X4 system. Engagement to the front wheels is done by twisting a dashboard-mounted switch, which activates a set of pneumatically-locking front hubs.
BEHIND THE WHEEL - Under Excursion's exterior is Ford's massive, body-on-frame Super Duty F-Series truck platform. Four-wheelers use solid front and rear axles with leaf springs while 4X2 models have twin I-beams in front with coil springs. Spring rates were reduced by 20 percent compared to the pickup, but the shock absorbers and sway bars were tuned for roll stiffness. Sporty handling is not its forte, and it's expected that caution must be exorcised when driving one. It's tall truck tires flex at the sidewalls when the steering wheel is flicked back and forth, and emergency lane-changes need to be performed gently. A reduced-effort steering gear helps in this area, as does the standard four-wheel disc/four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS).
SAFETY - Dual dashboard airbags, side-impact door beams and ABS are standard.
OPTIONS - Transfer case skid plate, $75; heated front seats, $290.