CarsDirect articles: Chevrolet Tahoe vs. Ford Expedition

As an aside that would otherwise go unheard, I’m putting out blogs of my work versus my own thoughts, as they are two different things.

http://www.carsdirect.com/compare/chevrolet-tahoe-vs-ford-expedition

What I wrote before it was edited:
In 2013, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition sit in a very small class of the old school truck-based, body-on-frame SUV’s.  To make that class even smaller, Tahoes and Expeditions are also among the cheapest (both start around $48,500), crack the 20mpg barrier for EPA highway tests, and can tow 8,200lbs or more.

Ford’s Expedition was the middle truck-based SUV between the Explorer and the Excursion.  Now the Expedition is alone, as the former is now based on the Taurus and latter replaced by the longer Expedition EL.  It’s exclusively powered by a 5.4L Triton V8 with 310hp/365ftlbs of torque through a six-speed automatic, and can be had with rear-wheel or Control Trac four-wheel drive.  Fuel economy is listed as 14/20 for city/highway.  Expedition 2×4 models can tow up to 9,200lbs (9,000lbs for 4×4, and yet lower for longer EL models), but only with the optional heavy-duty tow package. Without the heavy-duty tow package the capacity caps at 6,000 lbs across the line, be it base 2×4 or an EL 4×4.

The Chevrolet Tahoe is the second largest SUV in the Chevy line-up, as it continues to be the shorter version of a Suburban.  Fuel economy of the Tahoe is only slightly above the Expedition at 15/21 city/highway, saved narrowly by weighing a few hundred pounds less, and having a tad smaller (and less powerful) 5.3L V8.  Horsepower and torque is a still-stout 320hp/335lbft which is 10hp up from the Ford, but 30ftlb short.  This torque deficiency does show itself in towing, as the Tahoe maxes out at 8,500lbs for 2×4 models.  However, that towing capacity doesn’t entail an extra cost package as per Ford, making the ground-floor Chevy more capable in that way.

Neither the Ford nor Chevy is exactly “new” anymore, since both were introduced in current forms back in 2007.  Regardless, the Tahoe has a certain newness the Expedition lacks.  Chevy took further steps forward in design both inside and out, as Ford stuck with a far closer exterior shape as that introduced for the 2003 model year.  For 2007 updated the interior with that found in the 2004 F150 pick-up—the Chevy shared the interior with the also new-at-the-time Silverado, again making the Ford seem aged prematurely.  Tahoe also offers up to nine seats (you can have a front bench) and a 20 city/23 highway Hybrid model (it can still tow 5,900-6,200lbs), neither of which Ford can claim.

My Thoughts:
Part of this was difficult because my parents bought Ford stock years ago under my direction, but also made harder because my brother Andrew was more a fan of General Motors (my father also loved his 1970’s Chevy 454 Crew Cab pickup).  It’s a very technical point, so that shall come later.

Straight off I’ll say we should be proud of both the Ford and Chevy because both have better fuel economy and towing than the Japanese offerings like the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia (the Toyota especially, as it’s a very powerful engine, and is far newer than the Chevy, Nissan, or Ford).

Between the Chevy and Ford, I love the Tahoe and have since it came out.  In fact, I prefer it’s exterior styling to the fancy brothers of the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.  While I think the Tahoe (and Suburban) deserve the 6.0L and 6.2L engines that GM has had at the same period, the 5.3L proves itself well enough.  That exterior styling preference is even more so when thrown against the soggy-faced Ford, and I’m not a fan of the old Ford 5.4L V8.

What’s more, when I look at the Expedition interior, all I see is the 2004 F150 interior.  It’s high time they update, as I was surprised the Tahoe/Silverado pickup share their interiors as well– but they look far better and less old than 2004 (rightly so– they’re from 2007).

Where this comparison surprised me came down to interior space and towing.  The Ford won out in towing and interior seat comfort/space, which I thought weren’t the case because of the independent rear suspension (the Tahoe uses a truck’s solid rear axle– simple but strong).

When it becomes more technical, I can understand my brothers point: Ford has a history of not using the same parts, which gets things confusing and infuriating when looking to replace it.

For example, I discovered that even though it’s pretty much the exact same thing, out 1987 Ford Ranger’s air-box (and thus it’s filter) is about an inch shorter in length than the 1988 with the same engine.  They changed the size of the airbox why?  But then, a lot of manufacturers do this, but his examples also included things like distributors: Chevy’s use a very similar if not identical distributor.  A car friend of mine is in the midst of replacing his Chevy S10 SS pickup’s V6 with a small-block V8.  The small blocks– be it a 5.3L or a 5.7– are essentially the same block but with different strokes, or so it’s been said.  Again, that makes parts and modifications fairly simple.

Another technical aspect was my feeling the Chevy 5.3L and Ford 5.4L are too old, but didn’t realize the Ford’s engine is more updated and powerful than the ones I’d previously driven in ’98 F150’s.  A three-valve set-up as opposed to just two increased what the 5.4L was capable of, among other touches.  The 5.3L remains pretty much the same, but as said before it does a commendable job under the circumstances, and that engine block is still a gear-heads dream to tinker with thanks to lots of parts shared among GM.

Overall, I’d have the Tahoe with a “but.”
There should have remained a 6.0L option in the Tahoe and Suburban.  The Escalade/Yukon Denali can keep their fancy 6.2L with over 400hp, but a 395hp 6.0L would have been a perfect choice for the Tahoe/’Burban combo.  There is at least talks of both the Fords and Chevy’s getting their refresh/re-model in a year or two.  Ford has rumors of finally updating the engine closer to current F150 engines, while the Chevy goes a little deeper (though still not seen outside of car-camo).  Where things stand now, yeah… Chevy for me.

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