SEE ALSO: Ford Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 37,885 Price As Tested $ 39,840 Engine Type SOHC 20-valve 6.8 Liter V10 w/SMFI* Engine Size 413 cid/6761 cc Horsepower 310 @ 4250 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 425 @ 3250 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 137.1"/79.9"/226.7" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 6879 pounds Fuel Capacity 44.0 gallons Tires (F/R) LT265/75R16 all-season Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Eight-passenger/six-door Domestic Content N/A Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) N/A PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 15/18/16 0-60 MPH 9.5 seconds Maximum payload 1630 pounds Maximum towing capacity 10,000 pounds * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
(Matt Hagin says that if big is beautiful, the Ford Excursion is Miss American SUV. Bob Hagin prefers a more petite "dress" size.)
MATT - Getting into the driver's seat of this big Ford Excursion brings images of being a big-rig driver swinging into the cab of an 18-wheeler. This vehicle is mammoth and it filled up our driveway almost as completely as that old C-Class motorhome we used to have. Our Limited version of the Excursion weighed in at more than 6500 pounds and the heavier versions get pretty close to four tons. It can carry up to one ton and drag a trailer that weighs as much as 10,000 pounds. There's 48 feet of cargo space behind its third-row bench seat and if that seat is removed, the cargo space goes up by almost another 100 cubic feet. From the furthermost point on the massive chrome-plated front bumper to the tip of the standard-equipment trailer hitch in back, it measured 228 inches and there's almost enough ground clearance to crawl under it on all fours while taking that measurement.
BOB - Modern big sport/utility vehicles take a lot of flack from the popular press over the incongruity between the height of their front and rear bumpers compared to those of the average compact car. The front bumper on the Excursion has what Ford calls a "BlockerBeam," a built-in buffer that helps keep the little guys from sliding under its front end if it gets involved in a rear-ender. The tow-hitch receiver does a same thing in the rear, but if an Excursion owner happens to have a ball-hitch installed in the receiver, the tailgating Ford Focus will get sliced open like a can of tuna.
MATT - To pull all that weight around takes a lot of power and the Excursion can be had with three different engines. At the top of the heap is a 7.3-liter V8 diesel that doesn't put out a whole lot of top-end horses, but its torque is rated at 510 pound-feet at 1500 rpm, almost enough to pull a 10,000-pound trailer up a near-vertical incline. The "little" engine is a gasoline 5.7-liter V8 that carries overhead cams and puts out 260 horsepower with a torque rating of 296. The middle-duty unit is a V10 that displaces 6.7-liters and outs out 310 ponies and 425 pound-feet of torque. It's not as strong as the diesel, but it's still enough for the V10 Excursion the go from 0 to 60 in 22 seconds while pulling a 7000-pound trailer. If buyers plan to do a lot of recreational towing of boats or house trailers, they even have the option of a couple of alternate axle ratios and a limited-slip rear differential unit.
BOB - These engines all come with Ford's heavy-duty 4R100 four- speed automatic transmission and there's no stick-shift, even as an option. The chassis are pretty archaic in that the 4-by-4 version uses a solid front axle that's carried on leaf springs while the two-wheel- drive version uses Ford's ubiquitous swing-axle I-Beam independent suspension that's been a Ford truck stand-by for decades. The rear axle is also a "live" unit that is hung on leaf springs, all of which points up the common heritage the Excursion shares with Ford's F-350 series truck line. It's not very sophisticated, but it's sure sturdy.
MATT - It also shares some other attributes with the F-350 - things like a less-than-smooth highway ride and a turning circle of 50-feet. A driver might have a problem finding a parallel-parking spot in a downtown urban area or a parking space in the shopping mall that's wide enough. Ford makes much of the fact that the Excursion will fit in an "average" home two-car garage but there won't be much room left except for a couple of bicycles and a lawn mower. If it's equipped with the optional bench seat up front, the Excursion car carry nine adults in comfort along with their luggage, as long as they don't mind strapping some of it on the standard-equipment roof rack. Ford is also quick to point out that 85-percent of the stuff that goes into the production of an Excursion is recyclable and that 20-percent of the parts and equipment in one is made of recycled metal and plastics.
BOB - Now I know what happened to those millions of old Ford Pintos and Falcons that have disappeared into wrecking yards since the '80s.