The Expedition, Ford's full-size sport utility vehicle, was introduced in 1997, replacing the Bronco model. For a time, the Expedition was Ford's second-largest SUV, placed between the mid-size Explorer and the larger Excursion. Since the Excursion was discontinued in 2005, the Expedition is now Ford's biggest SUV, and is the last of these vehicles to be built on a truck frame.
The Expedition seats up to nine people. Its fold-down seats can also accommodate large items in the cargo area. Fuel consumption is typical for a larger SUV, with estimates of 14 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 20 mpg on highways. The Expedition is available with a choice of selectable all-wheel drive (AWD) or rear-wheel drive. Its standard 5.4-liter, V8 engine achieves 310 horsepower. When fitted with a heavy-duty towing package, it boasts a towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. In keeping with its formidable towing capabilities, the Expedition is equipped with sway control features. The vehicle had been manufactured in Wayne, Mich., since 1997, but in 2009 its production was switched to Ford's Louisville, KY, plant.
Since its debut, the Expedition has been a luxuriously-appointed vehicle. The 1997 model included features such as leather seats, premium audio components and a moon roof. It also included a pneumatic suspension mechanism that, depending upon the terrain, would lower or raise the vehicle. The Eddie Bauer brand was added to higher-end Expedition models in 1999, and this branding continued through the 2010 model year.
The 2011 Expedition remains true to its origins as a heavy duty, yet upscale SUV. Some models offer an exclusive AWD system, as well as an independently-fitted rear suspension. The V8 engine has fuel flexibility, enabling it to accept E85 fuel, gas, or a combination of the two elements. Convenience options include a power lift gate, power running boards and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Many models are equipped with satellite radio, reverse gear sensing devices and leather seats that are heated and cooled. Current premium versions bear the Limited and King Ranch designations. Safety features are abundant on the Expedition. The vehicle includes six airbags as standard equipment. When an owner's mobile phone is connected to the vehicle's SYNC system, it will automatically call the 911 emergency operator when airbags are deployed. Should a collision occur, the Expedition's horn will sound automatically and its hazard lights will begin to flash.
Although concerns about oil prices have eaten into sales of larger sport utility vehicles in recent years, the Expedition still commands respect in the industry and among drivers as a well-built, reliable car. Consumer Reports magazine gave high ratings to the 2011 models, and recommended them to buyers.
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