Car of the Week - September 30, 2002

2003 Ford Expedition

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It may look unchanged on the outside, but changes there are a plenty within the 2003 Ford Expedition. From the brakes to the frame, the Clydesdale of SUVs is a stronger, quieter, safer, and more attractive. In terms of the ride, it is living proof of the superiority of independent suspension - giving its stiffer frame an unexpected comfort level. We enjoyed the brisk responsiveness of the new rack-and-pinion steering, the variable power assistance, and the reduced turning radius. The 4.6- and 5.4-liter V8 engines have been tweaked for more useful torque and are noticeably quieter.

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The interior is quite clean and friendly - the instruments are all easily usable - and the storage area and seat layout make it easy to move large families, groups, and their associated stuff. Our passengers enjoyed the ride and the sound system. The third row seating is actually usable seating by average sized folks - and speaking of size, if you like/need adjustable pedals, you got 'em. If mountainous or dangerous roads are a part of your environment you should opt for the Safety Canopy side-curtain airbag system for side-impact protection - and also for its oustanding rollover protection system - if the sensors detect an imminent rollover, the airbags remain inflated for up to 6 seconds. Good stuff. We don't think you should buy a full-sized SUV without test driving the very impressive Expedition.

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- Mark & Katie Fulmer

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