Since the Excursion got the axe last year, Ford has been without a truly full-size competitor to Chevy's Suburban and GMC's Yukon XL. But since the majority of Suburban and Yukon XL sales are the half-ton version anyway, a lengthened Expedition made sense as a viable competitor to the General's big bruisers. Hence, the 2007 Expedition EL. The EL matches its GM counterparts almost inch-for-inch. At 131.0 inches, its wheelbase is exactly one inch longer than the Suburban, but at 220.5 inches, is actually nearly two inches shorter than the Suburban's 222.4. But the Suburban maintains an advantage in overall interior volume at 137.4 cubic feet versus the Ford's 130.8.

Both the EL and the standard-length Expedition benefit from improvements to the drivetrain, with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. Both models also feature a redesigned 5-link independent rear suspension. The 3-valve-per-cylinder 5.4 Triton engine producing 300 horsepower and 365 lbs./ft. of torque carries over from the previous model, but the new transmission should help deliver improved performance and fuel economy.

Ford stressed safety in the release on the new models, emphasizing standard AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) on both models, as well as Dual-stage front air bags deploy with varying power based on crash severity, the driver's seat position and safety-belt usage. Optional is a three-row Safety CanopyTM rollover detection system that includes extended-duration side curtain air bags that extend down to the beltline, offering increased coverage.

The interior changes dramatically with a style inspired by the F-150, with a console-mounted shifter, the first time it has been offered in an Expedition. An integral part of modern, full-size SUVs has become the entertainment systems, and the new Expedition does not disappoint. An available 340-watt AM/FM audio system is MP3 capable and features an in-dash six-CD changer with six premium speakers, plus a subwoofer.

All audio systems come standard with an audio input jack with plug-and-play iPod capability. Options include factory-installed SIRIUS satellite radio and the family-entertainment DVD system with a large 8-inch flush-mounted flat-panel display and two sets of wireless infrared headphones. In what seems to be an industry-wide trend, optional 20-inch wheels will be available on both models.

The 2007 Expedition and Expedition EL are expected to go on sale in the Fall of 2006.

Specifications
Expedition
EL
Engine:

5.4LSOHC 3-valve Triton
Horsepower:300 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque:365 lbs./ft. @ 3,750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.0 in. 131.0 in.
Height: 77.2 in. 77.7 in.
Length: 206.5 in.
221.3
Max width: 78.8 in.
Suspension:
Front: Double wishbone short- and
long-arms (SLA) architecture with
coil-over, gas filled shocks
Rear: Multi-link independent
Capacities
Seating Capacity: 5-9
CurbWeight (2WD): 5,578 lbs.
5,928 lbs.
Cargovolume behind 1st row:
108.2 cu. ft.

130.8 cu. ft.
Cargovolume behind 2nd row:
54.9 cu. ft.

85.5 cu. ft.
MaximumPayload:
1,800 lbs.

1,700 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity:
9,100 lbs.