Monday, July 2, 2012

Used Car Review - Ford Expedition (1998-2002)

History books dictate that the real independence day of the Philippines is July 4. And what better way to "celebrate" it is by reviewing an American car. This vehicle is American as apple pie and definitely one of American's idol. For people afflicted with colonial mentality but price is a concern, Myk Belmonte found the perfect car for you. Just prepare the fuel bills, though.

1998-2002 Ford Expedition

The Ford U platform had been utilized in various Ford sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) sold in North America. Five versions had been made for different vehicles since 1991 and still in production up to now. Vehicles that used the U platform include the Explorer (and its Mazda Navajo, Mercury Mountaineer, and Lincoln Aviator twins), Explorer Sport Trac, Expedition (plus the Lincoln Navigator), North American Escape (and the Mercury Mariner), and the Edge (together with the Lincoln MKX).

Developed under the UN93 program, the Expedition replaced the two-door Bronco in Ford's line-up.  It featured many standard equipment plus two more doors than the vehicle it substituted. Standard but noteworthy features available included an optional third row, a choice of captain’s chairs or a bench seat in the middle, genuine premium leather on the seats (imitation leather is not available, to the protests of animal rights activists), and Ford's high-end Mach audio system with rear subwoofer.

The Expedition's arrival in the Philippines in 1998 also signalled the return of Ford in the country, which brought in a plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna. During its time, this was the 'it-suv' for politicians, showbiz people, business executives, and the papas of the Sex Bomb Girls (it was mentioned on one of their songs). It sold well to the moneyed crowd, since they have the capacity of maintaining an oil well at their backyards. It was continued to be sold until 2002, with the U222 chassis Expedition replacing it the following year. Trim lines available include the volume seller XLT, Premium Sport, and Limited.

Value and Costs
With the stereotype that high displacement vehicles (which are gasoline fuelled) receive locally come selling time, a first generation Expedition would usually be priced between P320,000-P480,000. There are various Expeditions in different state of condition, and mileage in their odometers. It would be better to focus on the vehicle condition rather than the features on it.

With its V8 engine, do take not that not all parts are available outside the casa. Maintaining one could cost you three weeks’ worth of groceries due to the large engine displacement, suspension bits, and some mechanical parts. If you are considering one, do check out the air-conditioning micron filter if it was replaced, brake pads since it could get worn out due to the bulky body, and the suspension system functions well.

Exterior and Interior
Bulky is one word to describe the first generation Expedition. It does resemble Ford trucks and even the flashy but impractical F150 pickup truck. Notice the curved sides which look well integrated throughout showing a balance which the doctor just ordered; and this one does not make it too tall or fat, just the right bulk. And you can't help but notice some chrome bits on the outside, they do the job well showcasing the SUV's luxury stature, but without going too much.

Going inside, large, child friendly sized buttons (which is a staple among full sized ones) greets the occupants.  Interior quality is excellent such as the fabrics (leather ones do have the tendency to wear out under the heat of the sun) that are placed on the comfortable front and middle row seats. The side facing third row - sold only in the Philippines - is definitely a source of knee pain for those who will ride in that position. Why have I say so? You sit in an awkward position (causing your knees to position 90 degrees to the floor) and children could breathe properly without bowing their heads.

An American car is not American if it does not have more cylinders. The Expedition is truly one, with a standard 4,601cc Modular V8 engine fitted under the hood. If you're after fuel consumption or practicality, definitely not a good pick. With 232hp at 4,750rpm and 393Nm at 3,450rpm on tap, it traverses well, but with some reluctance. Power distribution is fine but this causes the automatic transmission to be confused. This meant that there could be power, sometimes none; but it just requires pressure on the pedal to get things right

Driving Impressions
If you're a first time driver of these vehicles, you'll need time to master to drive these. The Expedition's handling is definitely not sports car inspired and does have the tendency of tipping to the sides on corners. Your passengers would certainly love this but tasking Mang Mario to drive for you (as a mean of livelihood) can be forgiven. Manoeuvring this vehicle is a challenge if you plan to use this as your daily driver.

Living the American life isn't as easy as you think. The Expedition is reserved for the determined few. If you could live with its horrible fuel consumption, body roll experienced when attacking corners, and maintenance costs equivalent to your pension plan; the Expedition is one good choice. That's if you plan to use it occasionally and someone will drive for you.

The Good:
  • Plush ride
  • Interior is executed well
  • Commands road respect
The Bad:
  • Prepare the fuel bills
  • Handling is not good
  • Good luck sitting sidewards in the rear
The Pick: XLT

Engine: 4,601cc Modular V8 gasoline
Power: 232hp @ 4,750rpm
Torque: 393Nm @ 3,450rpm
Fuel Consumption: 3-6km/L (city), 5-8km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle 4-link with coil springs

Price (New): P1,400,000-P1,700,000 (range from 1998-2002, estimated)
Price (Now): P320,000-P480,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Durango, Toyota Land Cruiser
On Sale: 1998-2002

Ford Libis - 637-2044
Ford EDSA - 744-2222
Ford Connecticut - 744-2234

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