Shoppers looking for the largest sport utility vehicle still must turn to Ford. Measuring nearly 19 feet long about 20 inches longer than the full-size Ford Expedition the Excursion is more than 7 inches longer than its next closest rivals, the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL.
Built on the same platform as Fords F-250 Super Duty pickup truck, the Excursion exceeds an 8,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (the vehicles weight plus what it can carry in passengers and cargo), which makes it exempt from federal emissions and fuel-economy requirements. Ford has been promoting environmental concerns in connection with its SUV lineup and says the Excursion qualifies as a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV).
Environmentalists have never stopped jeering at the jumbo Excursion, citing its close-to-insatiable fuel consumption. The 44-gallon fuel tank is indicative of the vehicles unappetizing gas mileage. But despite rising fuel prices in 2000 and the first half of 2001, Fords behemoth SUV has been selling well enough. A few fresh touches have been applied to the 2002 model, and power-adjustable pedals are now available. Certain individual options have been bundled into option packages. The 2002 selection includes the XLT, XLT Premium, Limited and Limited Ultimate, each available with rear-drive or four-wheel drive.
Traditional SUV styling includes four side doors. Ford claims the Excursions back doors are wider than those on the Chevrolet Suburban for easier access to the middle and rear seats. The rear door is a tri-panel arrangement, with a window on top that flips up and twin Dutch doors below that open to the sides. A BlockerBeam runs across the vehicle below the front bumper to prevent cars from sliding underneath it if a collision occurs. A standard trailer hitch provides similar protection at the rear.
The Excursion has a nine-passenger capacity, plus 48 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seat. The seats of the middle split bench tip and fold forward to allow easier access to the back row. The rear bench seat is removable and rolls on built-in wheels. With the rear seat removed and the middle bench folded down, cargo volume grows to 146 cubic feet; the space can carry a 4-by-8-foot plywood sheet. Optional power-adjustable accelerator and brake pedals adjust within a 3-inch range to suit individual drivers.
Under the Hood
Three engines are available in the Excursion. A 255-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 is standard on 2WD models. A 310-hp, 6.8-liter V-10 goes into 4WD models and is optional on 4x2s, and an optional 7.3-liter V-8 turbo-diesel produces 250 hp. Towing capacity is as high as 10,000 pounds with the V-10 or diesel engine. Antilock brakes are standard.