Blue Oval behemoth beefing

Blue Oval behemoth beefing image

Text: Jude Morte / Photos: Jude Morte | posted March 03, 2009 00:00

Ford unveils new Expedition, E-150 Club Wagon

If you think there's no local market for American vehicles that are as large as a house, Ford Group Philippines (FGP or Ford) begs to differ.

Despite its parent company (Ford Motor Company) getting waylaid by the US-centric global financial crisis, FGP feels that the extremely moneyed here in the country still need comfortable transportation for them, their business associates and their loved ones (and perhaps including their security staff) and recently launched 2009 iterations of the Ford Expedition and the E-150 Club Wagon.

Although not much different from the 2008 Expedition, Ford's flagship SUV does carry significant and substantial changes. The P 3.099 million Expedition (billeted as an Eddie Bauer EL 4x4) totes an additional 375.92 mm in length and an additional 24 cubic feet of cargo space, embodying the EL (Extended Length) badging attached to its name. Exterior wise, it also has newly designed 16-inch chrome/forged aluminum rims that make it look more for urban cruising than frequent off-road warrior.

Inside is where the Expedition's biggest changes reside. Within the head unit now resides Ford's hands-free SYNC connectivity technology - similar to Chrysler's MyGIG voice activated/Bluetooth activated in car entertainment - and allows you to make hands free calls or look for certain playlists/artists/tracks on your external MP3 player and plays the searched tracks on the head unit without the use of an FM frequency-based third party transmitter. Toting a Microsoft powered operating system, it requires the driver to tote a mobile phone with Bluetooth connectivity to engage the SYNC system. The cabin also has a Centerslide™ sliding center section that can be moved forward up to 11 inches (279.44 mm), providing front occupants easy access to the second row. Lastly you can close the tailgate at the touch of a button located within the d-pillars.
The Expedition still retains the small block 300 hp/495 NM 5.4L Triton V8 that powered the previous model, but is now ethanol blend capable of up to 85 percent. This means that the SUV is E85-ready, and gives consumers more options at the gas station. "This new flex fuel offering will provide a key benefit to customers who desire E-85 capability in a vehicle with the functional attributes that only a full size SUV can provide," said Steven Tan, Ford Group Philippines vice-president for marketing and sales.

The new Expedition has a number of features that will give the owner and the driver peace of mind, be it while at the petroleum forecourt, parallel parking or fording through the rain. An Easy Fuel™ capless fuel system eliminates the inconvenience of forgetting to put the gas cap back on after fueling, and can also help prevent emissions from escaping. An SOS post-crash alert system comes standard, in which the horn and hazard lights are activated when the airbag is deployed, thus alerting oncoming motorists and potential aid quickly. There's a new anti-theft perimeter alarm system, a reverse-gear activated camera, and rain sensing wipers will also be standard. The latter uses an advanced optical sensing system to detect how hard rain is falling and consequently determines when and at what speed the windshield wipers are activated.

The P 1.86 million E-150 Club Wagon no longer looks like – and drives like – a delivery van. The front fascia evokes images of the discontinued Ford Excursion supersized SUV, and the van itself totes a right hand side sliding door, side step boards, and tall side mirrors.

Much like its Expedition sibling, there are a lot of changes to the Club Wagon's cabin. The front seats are now captain's chairs, and the driver's seat totes six way power assist adjustment. The doors have new storage bins designs, with an elastic driver's side map strap. The engine cover has a newly designed slim line console, and has a bevy of storage bins and two cupholders that can hold even a one liter bottle of water. The audio entertainment is MP3 capable, and the front aircon vents are of the circular rotating type. Seating is still capable of handling seven people comfortably, but the rear area has a center aisle slip-though option for hyperactive kids.

Moving the E-150 Club Wagon's 3,865 kg gross vehicle weight forward is a 4.6L V8 capable of running on E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) or pure petrol, mated to a four speed a/t (with overdrive function). Should the van experience extreme lateral loads, AdvanceTrac ® with Roll Stability Control (RSC®) responds to the potential of rollover, in addition to helping a driver reduce oversteer. Ford's system marries sophisticated electronics and advanced software to mitigate the chances of a rollover during an extreme maneuver.

The E-150 also comes standard with a tire pressure monitoring system, which mounts a sensor in each wheel that monitors tire pressure. When the system senses that a tire is low on pressure, it sends a signal to the computer that lights a warning lamp on the dash. In addition, all rear center position occupants now have seat-integrated three-point safety restraints. A driver and front passenger air bag provides protection in frontal collision while side-door intrusion beams provide additional protection in certain side collisions. The presence of ABS helps provide steering control in hard-braking situations, reverse sensing and a factory-installed integrated trailer brake controller that allows direct operation of the trailer's electronic brakes by squeezing the control module on the instrument panel with more confidence than typical aftermarket systems.

With the new Expedition Eddie Bauer EL 4x4 and the new E-150 Club Wagon, Ford definitely beefs up its behemoth utility line.