Exterior Design ****
For a Baby Huey, the Expedition EL is a svelte looking ride. The previous generation 'Peditions (and their even uglier Lincoln counterparts) were too tall for their relatively short length, such that they came across as hunchbacked. By stretching the wheelbase by two feet, Ford created a balanced, well proportioned SUV. From the side, that is. Head on (or worse, via rear-view), the 2007 model looks like an iron wall with nostrils. Fifth star action withheld for a forgettable rear end.
Interior Design ****
If not for the gloriously relaxing seats, I'd be handing out just two stars. That's because the EL is basically an F-150 inside. Notwithstanding Ford's recent line about tough luxury, people of means who buy large, comfortable SUVs like nice stuff, and I've seen better plastics on a barbecue-grill lighter. But back to the seats. Without fail, everyone I had try the front lounges said something like, "Wow. These are really comfortable." The back seats (and the seats in back of the back seats) are practically as good. Also, Ford's touchscreen nav/radio solution is the industry's best. And, for sheer entertainment, the rear-mounted button that closes the lift-gate never got old. Even though it beeps to warn you the gate will be closing, it'll still bash you in the head if you don't get out of the way. I like that.
That the EL can even get up to freeway speeds merits more stars, but I'm not about to start handicapping these ratings. I still have no idea how long it takes this guy to hit 60 mph. How's this: It's faster than a house. Once you're bopping along at highway speeds, the 365 lbs. ft of torque served up by the 5.4-liter V8 (same as the Mustang GT500, though non-supercharged ) pulls it past slower SUVs with ease.
Three tons of fun is no fun at all to stop, so for most of my week with the Expedition I avoided emergency procedures. Still, as I am paid to find out, standing on the stop pedal both works and defies physics. It is also a good way to teach a child about the word "wobble." Two stars simply because it can
As good as it gets. Sure, above 80 mph the fat starts fidgeting, but like me, you might find it soothing. Regardless of velocity, you're driving around in a water bed. The massive wheelbase, 55-profile tires and a nice suspension tune proclaim comfort ber alles. And don't worry about bumps, jags or expansion joints; the EL sure doesn't.
Many people complain it's not fair we subject trucks and SUVs to the same rigorous, exacting analysis we do cars. I agree, so I didn't even bother checking this guy's maximum hoonage potential. And if the seven-passenger GL450 didn't exist, I'd hand out more stars. As the big Benz exists in the form of itself, two stars is all I can give. Still, I've driven worse. In fact I'm driving worse right now (hint: random, hanging ass).
Ford's new six-speed slush box is great. It shifts seamlessly and the tall sixth gear lets you pretend the Expedition gets 20 mpg on the open road. And if you floor it, it holds the lower gear nearly to redline. Nice job, FoMoCo.
Let me count the ways: Sirius, CD-changer, GPS Navigation, DVD for the kids/those who forgot to yell "shotgun!," parking beeper, heated/cooled seats, electric fold-flat seats and a button that shuts the tailgate. There are some missing pieces, though. Only the driver's window is auto-down. And it doesn't auto-up. The air-conditioned seats - the world's best idea - barely work. And where's the rearview camera?
130.8 cubic feet. Ridiculous.
With every single option box checked, our EL went over the $50,000 barrier. That isn't cheap, no matter how you slice it. In fact, it's the most expensive Ford you can buy. Sure, it's a good vehicle, but $50,000 for a body-on-frame SUV that's had a few too many double Quarter Pounders? No thanks. Check fewer boxes? You could, but even though they don't work very well you just gotta get the AC seats. Plus, you'll grow to fear gas stations.
If gas were $0.90 a gallon, and free from both pollution and politics, the Expedition EL would make a lot of sense. But let's say for a second that you're rich and just don't care. While extremely utilitarian, the EL offers the driving dynamics of a shed, parking is unfun and people quite literally laugh as you pass. I liked my pet hermit crab, but the fact that he carried his house around with him everywhere he went was a little goofy.