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2003 Ford Expedition Review
A leader in the large SUV segment.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2003 Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a full-sized beast that suffered through some bad times to emerge as one of the finest in class options. While the powertrain could use an updating, everything else has been brought up to speed. It offers a great value with many features and options, good handling, a pleasant ride, superior safety, and versatility. No longer in the shadow of GM SUVs, the full-size model should be on the list of potential vehicles for buyers needing a big, solid, and comfortable SUV.
Engines: 4.6-liter V-8, 5.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Expedition XLT, Expedition XLT Popular, Expedition XLT Premium, Expedition Eddie Bauer, Expedition XLT FX4
The 2003 Ford Expedition is larger and some of its exterior alterations, such as the egg-crate grille and raised hood, are adapted from the Explorer. Inside there’s new fold-flat second- and third-row seats with a power-folding option for the third row. The second row is split-40/20/40, enabling the middle section to slide forward. The Eddie Bauer package now has an in-dash six-disc changer that is optional on the XLT and steering wheel-mounted stereo and climate controls, as well as an optional DVD player, navigation system, and heated-cooled seats. A double-wishbone independent rear suspension system and a rack-and-pinion steering configuration improve road handling. AdvanceTrac stability control, along with ControlTrac four-wheel-drive system, are now available options, depending on trim level.
The 2003 Ford Expedition is a big SUV available in five trim levels: XLT Value, XLT Popular, XLT Premium, Eddie Bauer, and XLT FX4. The XLT Value is the basic workhorse model with 17-inch steel wheels, roof rack, rear wiper, rear defogger, and trailer hitch with wiring. The Popular trim adds running boards. The Premium trim includes alloy wheels. The Eddie Bauer trim adds a reverse sensing system. The XLT FX4 trim throws in unique shock absorbers with progressive damping, skid plates and fog lamps.
The 2003 Ford Expedition XLT Value trim starts off with a CD player, air-conditioning, a flip-up rear hatch window, and power-adjustable pedals. The Popular package includes rear-seat climate controls and auto-dimming mirrors. Opting for the Premium package will add power seats covered in leather and a floor console. The Eddie Bauer package features a trip computer, automatic climate control, and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Most of these items are available as stand-alone options. Other options include a CD-based navigation system, DVD entertainment system, a power fold third-row seat, heated-cooled front seats, and tire-pressure monitors. The interior is comfortable and spacious with plenty of cargo space. There are different seat options and the design and usability is good. The feature list is impressive and while some gadgets are only available for the higher trims, it is still cost efficient in the end as compared to some of the high-end rivals like the Navigator.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Ford Expedition's standard power plant is a 4.6-liter V-8 that develops 232 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. The larger available 5.4-liter V-8 produces 260 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic is still the only transmission available. A heavy-duty rear differential gives it a maximum tow rating of 8900 pounds, the highest in this class. Both of these engines are smooth and solid but lack the power of some rivals. Recent redesigns and upgrades have improved the handling. It’s still a big SUV, but the steering does communicate the road to the driver and body roll is no longer excessive. The ride is rather comfortable and smooth. Noise levels are kept down and the overall riding experience is pleasant. There are more nimble and agile rivals in this class, but at least the Expedition is improving.
The 2003 Ford Expedition features standard safety gear, including four-wheel anti-lock brake system equipped disc brakes enhanced with Electronic BrakeAssist and Brakeforce Distribution. Optional safety equipment for all trims include a tire-pressure monitor system and a class-exclusive Safety Canopy System that provides side- and head-impact protection for both the first- and second-row passengers. Eddie Bauer and FX4 models offer as an option the AdvanceTrac stability and traction control system. The IIHS has not performed safety tests. In limited NHTSA tests, it earns five out of five stars for driver and passenger safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Expedition XLT Popular: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Ford Expedition XLT Premium: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Ford Expedition XLT FX4: 12/16 mpg city/highway
- Interior design
- Hauling capabilities
- Handling abilities
- Crash test scores
You Won't Like
- Stability control only available on higher trims
- Slowed down by cargo
- Difficult to drive size
A leader in the large SUV segment.
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