2000 Ford Expedition

By March 31, 2000
2000 Ford Expedition

Ford’s Expedition is selling like hot cakes at least partly because it does everything it was designed to do and it does it well. Its good looks certainly don’t hurt.

For 2000, power adjustable pedals are standard, while a new sonar Reverse Sensing System alerts drivers to objects behind the vehicle when backing up. Optional side-impact airbags are also available.

Model Lineup

Two trim levels, XLT and Eddie Bauer, make up the Expedition model range. With little demand for plain, entry-level vehicles in this class, Ford equips the XLT well and the Eddie Bauer even better. Visual differences between XLT and Eddie Bauer are confined to paint and trim. Checking off items from a long list of optional equipment for the XLT blurs equipment level distinctions between the two.

XLT and Eddie Bauer trim levels are available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Expedition derives much of its chassis and mechanical hardware from Ford’s F-150 pickup.

Walkaround

Expedition borrows the best styling elements from the Ford F-150 pickup and Explorer sport-utility. From nose to windshield, the Expedition shares sheet metal with the F-150. From the front doors back, the Expedition has the contours of an Explorer. No panels interchange between Expedition and Explorer, but the resemblance is unmistakable.

This combination works well. The Expedition is handsome, with a sloping hoodline and rounded front end that reflect attention to aerodynamics. It’s a design that pays off with improved fuel efficiency and reduced wind noise. As a matter of necessity, the sides and back are shaped more for utility than style. But clever use of trim and rounded corners provides some visual definition.

Stretching more than 17 feet from nose to tail, the Expedition is certainly no compact. There’s no way to disguise that. The Ford Excursion and Chevy Suburban are even longer. Ford touts the Expedition’s shorter length as a benefit when trying to fit into a garage. An Expedition will fit into some garages that are too small for a Suburban, but check yours to be sure as garage sizes vary.

Interior Features

The Expedition’s generous outside dimensions provide for a large, commodious interior. Two seating configurations are available. Ordered with optional front bucket seats and a center bench, the Expedition can comfortably haul five passengers. Ordered with the standard front full-width seat and center bench makes room for six passengers. Well-padded chairs provide comfortable seating.

The optional third-row bench provides seating for two more passengers — three if they are small. Getting in and out of the third seat requires some agility, though, so it helps if they are small and young. Our XLT came with attractive color-keyed door- and dash panels, power windows, mirrors and door locks, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel and a good audio system. First- and second-row occupants get separate heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls; a third set of controls for the third seat is optional.

A curved dashboard houses instruments and controls where they can easily be reached. An optional large center console offers additional storage space and a place for front-seat occupants to rest their arms. The Eddie Bauer comes with an overhead console with a digital display that provides compass headings, date and time and average fuel economy; a switch operates power swing-out rear quarter windows.

Attractive and durable materials are used throughout the Expedition’s cabin. Soft-touch coverings are applied to switches and door panels. The window switches are lighted internally at night, a nice touch that not all vehicles carry. Optional adjustable pedals allow the driver to adjust the pedal cluster at the touch of a dashboard-mounted switch. With a range of adjustment of three inches, this feature allows shorter drivers to find a more comfortable driving position with greater ease.

Driving Impressions

From the driver’s seat, you can’t help but notice the size of the Expedition. Speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering works in the driver’s favor by keeping steering effort low. Brake pedal feel is light, yet precise. Lots of large windows, along with big mirrors, make it easy to see in all directions. Extra care and attention is required when maneuvering in close-quarters, however.

The ride quality is good, though it is not as soft as that of a traditional family sedan or wagon. The two-wheel-drive Expedition is slightly smoother on the highway, but both two- and four-wheel-drive versions ride nicely considering their size and weight. An advantage of the Expedition’s long wheelbase is a resistance to pitching over freeway expansion joints and other irregularities. When driven on back roads, the Expedition does not lean unduly in corners, nor does the front end dive excessively under hard braking.

An optional load-leveling system ($815) uses compressed air to compensate for varying loads while improving ride quality. Built into the system is a one-inch increase in ride height. When parked, the system can make the Expedition 4×4 kneel down to lower the step-in height, which makes getting in and out of the vehicle easier.

Four-wheel-drive Expeditions are more competent off road than their size and fancy trimmings suggest. While serious rock-climbing is not suggested, occasional forays off the beaten path can be undertaken without fear of being left stranded. By simply turning a rotary knob on the dashboard, the driver can choose between two-wheel drive, part-time four-wheel drive, full-time four-wheel drive and low-range four-wheel drive.

Beyond the choice of two- or four-wheel drive, the buyer also chooses between two V8 engines. The 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V8s are identical save for displacement. They are smooth and quiet. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The larger 5.4-liter unit delivers extra pulling power for full passenger loads and heavy trailers. The 5.4-liter V8 produces 345 foot-pounds of torque, enabling it to pull a trailer of up to 8300 pounds when ordered as a 4×2 with 16-inch wheels and the 3.73 axle ratio limited-slip rear differential ($255). An Expedition 4×4 with the smaller 4.6-liter engine and big 17-inch wheels can only muster 5500 pounds.

Summary

The Expedition offers a blend of strength, refinement, comfort, good road manners and exceptional finish quality. The lure of the Expedition is its versatility. The Expedition can carry a large family in limousine-like splendor, pull a trailer, move cargo or explore places beyond pavement’s end.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:XLT 2WD ($29,750); Eddie Bauer 2WD ($36,040); XLT 4WD ($32,620); Eddie Bauer 4WD ($39,790)
Engines:215-hp 4.6-liter sohc V8; 260-hp 5.4-liter sohc V8
Transmissions:4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):dual front airbags, ABS standard; side-impact airbags optional
Safety equipment (optional):N/A
Basic warranty:3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:Wayne, Michigan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Expedition XLT 4x4 ($32,620)
Standard equipment:air conditioning, passive anti-theft system, power windows, mirrors and door locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/cassette stereo, cruise control, power adjustable pedals
Options as tested (MSPR):all-terrain tires ($230); 16-inch cast aluminum wheels ($250); limited-slip differential ($255); skid plate package ($105); trailer towing package ($390); load-leveling suspension ($815); Comfort Convenience Group ($1,495) includes captain's chairs with center floor console and six-way adjustable power driver's seat, third-row removable bench seat rear seat, rear heating and air conditioning, privacy glass, dual illuminated visor mirrors, illuminated running boards, overhead console with compass and outside temperature display
Destination charge:$665
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):$36825
Layout:four-wheel drive
Engine:5.4-liter sohc V8
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):260 @ 4500
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):345 @ 2300
Transmission:4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:13/17 mpg
Wheelbase:119.0 in.
Length/width/height:204.6/77.5/74.3 in.
Track, f/r:65.4/65.4 in.
Turning circle:40.4 ft.
Seating Capacity:5, 6, 9
Head/hip/leg room, f:39.8/61.5/40.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:39.8/62.3/38.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:35.1/59.8/28.8 in.
Cargo volume:118.3 cu. ft.
Payload:N/A
Towing capacity:7500 Lbs.
Suspension, f:Independent
Suspension, r:live axle (4x4)
Ground clearance:N/A
Curb weigth:4850 lbs.
Tires:P255/70R16
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity:26.0 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of March 31, 2000.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-392-FORD - www.fordvehicles.com

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