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New Car Review: 2005 Ford Expedition

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PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2005 Ford Expedition rises to the challenge

By: Walter Hager

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Ford

There’s no middle ground, either you love them or you hate them. Yes I’m talking about SUV’s. I’ll wait a few seconds while some of you gag and cringe…OK, that’s enough. Truth is, even though overall SUV sales have been falling slightly over the past few months, they are here to stay. Due to high competition and demand, they are constantly being revised to see which one can outperform the other. Revised or not, one of the best full-size models is the Ford Expedition.

One look at the Expedition’s option list and you’d think these vehicles were made by Burger King. With six different trim levels to choose from, you can definitely “have it your way.” The low man on the totem pole is the XLS, which serves as the base model by offering black door handles and mirrors, a single CD player and a few other features. The XLT offers aluminum wheels, body-colored handles, overhead console and illuminated entry. Just up from that is the XLT Sport, which mainly offers exterior revisions that make it a little fancier than a regular XLT. The NBX comes only as a 4x4 with 17” wheels, skid plates, and specially tuned off-road shocks. The Eddie Bauer model is one of the more popular choices with buyers. It is equipped with dual-zone climate, power adjustable pedals, and heated side mirrors to name a few. The head honcho is the Limited model and it comes with 10-way power adjustable front seats that can be heated or cooled. All mirrors, handles, and side-cladding are also the same color as the rest of the body. Expect MSRP pricing to start around $33,000 and top out above $42,000.

Speaking of big numbers, let’s talk about the new Triton V8. Displacing 5.4 liters and making 300 horsepower, this new engine features a 3-valve head design that allows the engine to breathe better. As a result it now has more horsepower, torque, and better fuel economy. Even with the improvements the overall fuel mileage is average for a full-size SUV, coming in around 14mpg/city and 19mpg/hwy.

If there’s one thing Americans love in their cars it’s torque. Thanks in part to the new electronic throttle control, the Expedition snaps off the line and provides adequate acceleration through the power band. With 0-to-60mph coming in around nine seconds it’s not the most powerful V8 on the market, but it gets the job done when needed because the ETC can adapt better to your acceleration demands. A new 4-speed auto transmission adds even more smoothness to the ride.

Jump inside the 2005 Expedition and you’ll find a revised instrument panel and circular air vents. Of course there are the standard SUV features like DVD and navigation, but there is also the PowerFold third-row seat. Yes, I said a power folding third-row seat. No more reaching and pulling with all your might to get those seats down so you can have more room. Also available is a sliding second-row seat, which enables the front seat occupants to move that seat closer to them. This is sure to be a big hit for those of you transporting your little ones in the second row because you won’t have to reach so far back to tend to their needs.

While you’re thinking about your child’s safety, stop for a minute and think about yours too. The Expedition is the only full-size SUV to score the highest frontal crash test rating 4 years in a row, dating back to 2001. Speaking of safety, you’ll be at ease if you ever have to go off the beaten path. The Expedition’s first-in-class independent rear suspension allows each wheel to act independently, resulting in better grip and maneuverability.

If you were to get bored enough to start reading the dictionary, look up the word expedition. You might see something regarding “a journey undertaken by a group of people with a definite objective.” In this case the group of people was Ford and, with their hopes of gaining back lost market share, they had a definite objective to meet when they redesigned the Expedition. This model had to be better than the previous one. Well, the journey was undertaken and the 2005 Expedition is now better than ever. Mission accomplished.