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2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4

When a big SUV is a BIG SUV

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2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4

Expedition proudly chooses the latter, and wears bold two-tone Eddie Bauer paint and more than a splash of chrome.

Photo © Jason Fogelson
There are big SUVs, and there are BIG SUVs. The 2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 falls into the latter category. It is a BIG SUV. The 2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 arrives with a $38,475 base price (a whopping $49,230 as tested), a 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty and a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. Everything about the 2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 is BIG, including its appetite for fuel -- the EPA estimates fuel consumption at a rate of 14 mpg city/17 mpg highway. That's BIG in the wrong direction.

First Glance

When you're big, you have two choices -- slink off into the shadows and hope nobody notices, or dress up in your finest and dare anyone to snicker. Expedition proudly chooses the latter, and wears bold two-tone Eddie Bauer paint and more than a splash of chrome. The front end echoes Ford's best selling model, the F-150 pickup truck, with a brash chrome horizontally barred grille festooned with the big Ford blue oval in the center. Linking the Expedition with the F-150 is a smart move. Even though Ford's big SUVs have been historically quite popular and successful, they are now burdened with a negative connotation. F-150 has escaped broad criticism because it is a truck -- maybe Expedition can dodge bullets with the same semantics?

The Eddie Bauer theme carries around the side of the Expedition, with big contrasting colored rocker panels that visually connect the front and rear bumpers. Light rocker panels and a dark upper body lifts the look of Expedition off of the road, making it appear even taller than its 77.1" height. A level beltline stretches all the way around the vehicle, making the back glass a useful size and unifying the tailgate with the body of the Expedition. A swath of chrome focuses the eye on the middle of the tailgate, pulling attention away from the blacked-out rear pillars. All in all, a clean, assertive design that will appeal to the faithful and raise the ire of BIG SUV haters everywhere.

Continued below...

In the Driver's Seat

Expedition's interior is all about symmetry, balance and harmony.

Photo © Jason Fogelson
Expedition's interior is all about symmetry, balance and harmony. It's a refreshingly modern, comfortable place to be, and with the Eddie Bauer dress-up, it's even attractive.

I can't help myself -- I have to rail against the fake wood. I've run out of ways to hate plastic wood. I can only scream silently at the sight and touch of it. Most egregiously, Ford wraps the gear shift lever in the center console with the stuff, forcing you to touch fake wood every time you drive the Expedition. They may be able to fool your eyes, but they can never fool your hands -- it feels wrong.

Let's get back to the good stuff. Expedition's seats are really nice, covered in a thick durable leather, and accented with light-colored inserts and highlight stitching. It's a treatment that's reminiscent of the paint job on the exterior, and very attractive throughout the vehicle.

Expedition's dash is simple, straightforward and attractive in its symmetry. Round air vents anchor the design, and round gauges cluster above the steering wheel under a modest eyebrow. The center stack is neatly arrayed, with a big screen that comes as part of the $1,995 Navigation system option dominating. Buttons and knobs are smartly displayed, but maybe a little too similar in size and placement to facilitate operation without distraction.

On the Road

You don't buy an Expedition for the fun of it -- you buy it for the use of it. My test vehicle was fitted with captain's chairs in the second row, which made the useful seating for adults six. You could probably squeeze three pre-teens in the third row if you had to -- they'd each have seatbelts if you did. If you need to haul the whole family around on a regular basis, and the whole family numbers seven or even eight, Expedition can do the job in relative comfort.

It takes a lot of engine to move a BIG SUV, and Expedition has got 5.4 liters of V8 under the hood to handle the job. Rated to produce 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, the single-overhead cam design sends power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The four-wheel drive system is controlled with a rotary dial on the dash.

Safety features abound on the Expedition, which is great considering its purpose as a family hauler. Four wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, a three row safety canopy, side airbags and excellent front and rear crash ratings should make you feel much more secure behind the wheel. Four wheel independent suspension and power rack and pinion steering help Expedition handle well for a BIG SUV -- don't get overconfident, though. Expedition's center of gravity is still quite high, and you don't want to tempt the Fates with overly aggressive cornering or lane changes. You don't have to drive Expedition like a land barge, but don't drive it like a catamaran either.

Journey's End

If you really need a BIG SUV, Expedition is a stylish, lively choice -- especially in Eddie Bauer trim, and loaded down with $10,000 in options like my test vehicle.

Photo © Jason Fogelson
Driving a BIG SUV involves some serious compromises. You can't assume that you'll be able to get into every parking space or parking garage. You are going to use a lot of gas in your travels. You are going to feel the scorn of Prius drivers. Still, there are families for whom the Expedition or another BIG SUV is really the only practical choice. If you really need a BIG SUV, Expedition is a stylish, lively choice -- especially in Eddie Bauer trim, and loaded down with $10,000 in options like my test vehicle. If you can live without all the options and luxury appointments, you can still get the same mechanical underpinnings by choosing the Expedition XLT, which starts at $29,175 for the rear-wheel drive edition.

There are other BIG SUVs on the market to consider. Check out the Jeep Commander, the biggest Jeep ever made. It rides on the same platform as the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. The Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade lineup underwent a major overhaul for 2007, and I really like the performance of those vehicles. Don't overlook the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada and their upscale relatives, the Lexus LX 470 and Infiniti QX56. The Japanese do BIG SUVs remarkably well.

You should also take a look at the next size down -- the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Pathfinder -- to see if you could possibly live with a not-so-BIG SUV before you commit to the Expedition. Your pocketbook and the environment will thank you.

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