2001 Ford Expedition

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2001 Ford Expedition Review
Roominess and style.


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.

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, because the Expedition sits tall with tall fenders. Backing up is aided by the optional reverse sensing system ($200), which starts beeping as you approach objects behind the vehicle; this system offers great convenience and can even reduce the chance of injuring someone when backing up.

ZExpedition feels softly sprung, meaning the ride feels cushioned over bumps and jolts. It felt far more comfortable than most pickup trucks and sport-utilities and even on many sedans when traversing the rough, cobblestone streets in the historic Fan district in Richmond, Virginia. The tradeoff is that the Expedition bobs around over big undulating bumps like Dad's old station wagon.

The two-wheel-drive Expedition feels slightly smoother on the highway, but both two- and four-wheel-drive versions ride nicely considering their size and weight. Vibration can be felt through the steering wheel, acceptable for a truck like this one, but not a luxury car. 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. Brake pedal feel is light, yet precise. The over-assisted power steering does require frequent corrections on the highway, which keeps the Expedition driver busy.

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, as if the Expedition wasn't tall enough. When parked, however, the system can make the Expedition 4x4 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 full-time four-wheel drive, part-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 engine produces 232-horsepower; the 5.4-liter puts out 260 horsepower. Both are smooth and quiet, and mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Shifting is surprisingly smooth, given that the Expedition is based on a pickup truck. Shifting up from second to third to fourth when cruising is almost seamless - you can barely feel it.

The larger 5.4-liter V8 delivers extra pulling power for full passenger loads and heavy trailers. It produces 350 foot-pounds of torque, that force that propels you away from intersections and up steep grades, enabling the Expedition to pull a trailer of up to 8300 pounds when ordered as a 4x2 with 16-inch wheels and the 3.73 axle ratio limited-slip rear differential ($255). An Expedition 4x4 with the smaller 4.6-liter engine and big 17-inch wheels can only muster 5500 pounds, though one of our correspondents was quite pleased with it when towing a big travel trailer from Portland to the Baja in Mexico.

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