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Full-Size SUVs Comparison

Take a look at our comparison of the 2007 domestic SUVs and tell us what you think.

Comparison Test: 2007 Full-Size Domestic SUVs

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

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Comments

  • Honestly, I'm not surprised. Although I personally like the Tahoe, the fact that the Expedition has fold-flat third-row seats was, I imagine, a very large factor that GM wishes they hadn't screwed up on.

    With that in mind, I'd not buy either. If I absolutely had to, I'd get an Acadia.
  • 73shark73shark Posts: 325
    Couldn't tell for sure but it appeared that the Ford didn't have a full complement of gauges. Also didn't mention that the V4 mode on the Tahoe only comes in when coasting or going downhill. Wish my Tahoe had the fold flat third seat.
  • By the Expedition's performance when towing. Especially given the higher tow rating (and tested weight behind it). Despite many owners' claims that this particular engine felt week, it obviously is stronger than they perceive it to be.

    Having said that, the $50k Tahoe price HAS to be sticker, because I've seen LTZs going for less than that, which means they've also got 20" wheels / tires and the Autoride suspension system- addressing two areas that the Expy won in, steering/handling and rear sag when trailering. It's even possible to get the LTZ without the backup cam / nav, making the comparison even more apples-to-apples.

    Not that I think it would have won. It's obvious that the reviewers:
    1) are enamored by smaller vehicles (heck, that's even expressed in writing!)
    2) therefore love vanlike fold-into-the-floor seats and IRS

    All that says to me is that at least the review presents a lot of information, but if you're in the market for something like this, disregard the editors' opinions and go with the fact-based parts when deciding which vehicle suits your needs and desires. It could be that the fold-flat / IRS or Ford styling does it for you. If so, great. If not, great too.
  • you guys didnt mention the fuel economy of the two SUVs. i'd kinda like to know how they did in a little more detail than the spec sheet, like what to expect on the highway, and when towing.

    Personally i dont need a third row seat, my '99 didnt even have the option, so its not really in the equation. A couple miles per gallon are a bigger deal.
  • Our actual observed fuel economy, 15.4 for the Chevy and 13.5 for the Ford, appears on the "Specifications and Performance" page, alongside the manufacturer's ratings.

    Towing fuel economy is shown and discussed under the "Tow Test Results and Explanation page," 8.1 for the Chevy and 7.7 for the Ford.

    Links to both of these pages appear in the column to the left of the story.

    As for things like the absences of gauge comments and V4 operational details, a very good observation, we couldn't put everything in this story. Since these trucks have previously had First Drives and Full Tests written about them, and the Tahoe is in our Long Term Road Test Blog fleet, we left certain details out to avoid redundancy and repetitiveness. ;-)
  • Despite weighing 280 more than the Tahoe, and being put at a disadvantage with another 1300+ pounds of ballast, the Expedition kicked butt with a 1600 pound penalty. Overall, a great article, but the towing test should have been done as is, without the ballast.
  • The tow test is totally useless. Both vehicle should have had the same weight to tow. Your logic is very flawed in that the 1300+ extra pounds that the Ford had to carry up would not effect its results in your tow test. It would be like doing a drag test and putting one vehicle with a 1300+ pound load and expecting it too not effect the outcome just because it rated to pull more. In a 1/4 mile test every hundred pounds is equal to 1/10 of a second extra time. So in a 1/4 mile distance of this tow test between the two vehicles you added over a full second every 1/4 of a mile to the Ford in the towing test. Tow ratings is not based on how fast you can pull a load but by how much your drivetrain can handle without falling apart. The only thing the Tow test shows is how the Ford can tow 6710 pounds up a hill and the Chevy only 5390 pounds up a hill. So how does the Ford rate at pulling 5390 pounds up a hill we will never know now will we. Do you guys think that maybe 1300+ pounds is gonna make a difference in the time and gas mileage of the Ford in the towing test it's a simple fact to move a heavier load will take more energy which means fuel and time than a lighter load.
  • I agree. This is why I was impressed with the posted observations of the Expedition's towing performance. I still don't understand all the owners' complaints that the engine feels weak, at least not based on the comparison test results here. Maybe Ford has improved something dramatically in the new drivetrain over the older ones though.

    BTW, the unloaded overall economy results still favor the Tahoe by a decent margin (15+ vs. 13+), so even though the tow test was a bit unbalanced purely because of the ratings, I doubt the Expy would've done much differently on the fuel economy thing than it already did. The hillclimbing (speed) numbers may've looked better though.
  • why does it always seem that car websites and people put the blame on American cars.
    I understand that back in the nineties ford ,and GM were the first to have large suv's, but it is now in the 2000's.
    You said for your title only in america when Nissan has the Armada, and Toyota has the Sequoia. Why did you not test them.
    That's right you only test foreign cars when they are up to date, but you tested the Chrysler Town& Country when that is outdated.
    It always seems that when peaple metion american cars it always negitive, even though GM is making a good comeback.
  • The tow test is totally useless. Both vehicle should have had the same weight to tow. Your logic is very flawed in that the 1300+ extra pounds that the Ford had to carry up would not effect its results in your tow test. It would be like doing a drag test and putting one vehicle with a 1300+ pound load and expecting it too not effect the outcome just because it rated to pull more.

    As one who has worked for OEs, and been involved in a lot of towing development projects, I have to say that while I understand this line of thinking, I disagree with it. Totally useless? No way.

    If a manufacturer rates a vehicle to tow a certain amount, we want to verify that claim. Bottom line. When shopping, can you trust the figure, or is it so much marketing hype?

    As equipped, Ford claimed 9000, Chevy 7200. To tow the lighter trailer behind the Ford too would have given it an advantage, as it wouldn't be as highly stressed as the Chevy. With the same trailer, it would be like asking a middleweight to fight a heavyweight. So, yes, the Ford is handicapped based on its higher rating.

    And while it's true that oil, trans, and water temperature are at the crux of a manufacturer's tow rating, the ability to maintain speed up a grade, the behavior of the transmission while doing so, and the gearing are equally considered. I've done those tests myself as an engineer.

    And as a civilian towing my own enclosed trailer, the ability to merge onto the highway smoothly and at least keep up with traffic when climbing a grade, and perhaps pass a few semis on the way up, is important.

    Towing 0-60 isn't quite the same as the tests we do when we compare, say, a Porsche to a BMW. In those cases, weight isn't handicapped because neither car is in the business of hauling or pulling any payload, apart form itself and it's passengers. They both are towing zero. They only claim to be quicker than the other guy.

    So would the Ford have been quicker and faster towing the same weight as the Chevy? Yes indeed. But with an 1800 lb rated capability difference, I think we could have predicted that without doing the test at all.

    I'm sorry, but that's just the way my automotive engineer brain thinks! Doesn't anybody have my back?
  • You said for your title only in america when Nissan has the Armada, and Toyota has the Sequoia. Why did you not test them.

    The availability of the Ford, for our tests, was too tight. We couldn't assemble the others at the same time. Because the US offerings are hot, we felt that we should get the information out to you as soon as we could. We have the Tahoe for a year, so look for comparos including the others in the coming months.

    It always seems that when peaple metion american cars it always negitive, even though GM is making a good comeback.

    I don't think we portrayed these as negative compared to imports. The crossovers we alluded to include things like Saturn's Outlook and the GMC Acadia. In fact, we credited Ford and Chevy as being the dominant players in the segment.
  • ahightowerahightower DFWPosts: 431
    Makes sense to me.
  • ahightowerahightower DFWPosts: 431
    It's interesting that in the full test article on the Navigator L, the reviewer constantly compared it negatively against the Escalade. They preferred the Caddy's brakes, engine, interior, everything. Very little attention was given to the Caddy's third row. I realize it wasn't a comparison test, but I think that goes to show like some others have said, different reviewers on different days place different values on things. Take the articles for what they're worth, but do your own thorough investigation and determine your own needs and priorities before deciding one way or the other.
  • I've tested both vehicles to a large extent and am pleased with this report to help make the final purchase decision this Spring. My concerns are mpg and long term ride qualities, the latter of which suffer tremendously in American cars, at least the ones I've tried in used car lots. Ford isn't reporting mpg on the Expedition yet and Chevy has A LOT of angry customers that are threatening class action lawsuit over their supposed 21 mpg Tahoe.

    IMO: I lean towards the 07 Tahoe for it's somewhat sexier package BUT there's no doubt the 07 Expedition has the more complete package. Expedition has far more logical controls in the cockpit but are accented with 70's chinsey plastic chrome trim. It has far more logical 2nd and 3rd row accommodations including 2nd row cupholder that aren't at the passenger's feet like 2nd row Tahoe buckets and 3rd row fold flat feature that speaks volumes over Tahoe's idiotic 3rd row which are uncomfortable and a pain to deal with for cargo. Tahoe's guage package is far more appealing but have the usual stupid American logic in actual use of controls (no intuition when controlling rear passenger heat/air controls).

    Outside the box(es): Ford is all plastic, well actually they BOTH are but ALL the chrome you see on Fords' nose is crappy chrome plastic! And the 20 inch "chrome" rims: good old chrome plastic hubcaps like I bought in auto stores 4 for $100 when I had my 1st-2nd jobs. At least Chevy has the sensibility to give you real alloy for the $1500 wheel upcharge on Tahoe LTZ, plus in 2007 they really know how to make American trucks look studdly, or is it studly? I wouldn't know since I'm not studlly. The ride is very similar in both with perhaps a nod to Chevy in that it's a little more of a fun brick to drive than Ford. It's a hair sportier in the corners due to the $1200 Auto ride air suspension upcharge in LTZ. Remove Auto ride and I'd side with the authors that Ford probably has a better feel-certainly less of a bobbing ride than the Tahoe with stock 17 inch wheel and stock suspension.

    For 45 large you better like what you're buying and in the end with all it's logical amenities including a very, very nice ride the Ford just reeks of chrome plastic boat on wheels. (Plastic wheels that is). Wish it weren't true, the dealer's only 3 miles away...
  • 50k50k Posts: 10
    I am researching Toyota Sequoia for lease. I like my bullet proof 4Runner however my wife wants more headroom.
    Lease expiring on my 4Runner, Sequoia is the logical upgrade.
    My concern is wind and road noise. I have a 2005 Trailblazer and it is no where near the quality of 4Runner. This is preventing me from looking at domestic products.
    I have also found quite a few negatives on Pathfinder and Armada. ( Armada being built domestically).
    Are there any Sequoia drivers out there that can provide real world driving experience ?
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    2 probs
    Comparison test should be designed for consumers not engineers. I could care less if these vehicles can tow 89% of their rated capacity or not. In a comparison I want to know how each is likely to tow my 6500# boat.
    I don't want to guess that maybe the Ford would do just as good or better with the same load, I should get that info from you in a comparo.
    Save the "89% stuff" for the individual tests.

    Second, you guys need to put emphasis on real world use stuff. The Fold flat 3rd row is a nice feature but it is so rarely used by most drivers it shouldn't be a deciding factor. If you want to start spliting hairs then you could also say "well the Chevy has rear view camera, the Ford doesn't, thus we chose the Chevy." Again a nice feature, but not a deciding factor.
  • Comparison test should be designed for consumers not engineers. I could care less if these vehicles can tow 89% of their rated capacity or not. In a comparison I want to know how each is likely to tow my 6500# boat. I don't want to guess that maybe the Ford would do just as good or better with the same load, I should get that info from you in a comparo. Save the "89% stuff" for the individual tests.

    I understand your point and I think its quite valid. I think both points make sense--for different reasons.

    Time permitting, we can add another run up the hill in future tests pretty easily. Once the ballast comes out of the trailer for the lowest rated comparo vehicle's run, we can hook it back on to the higher rated one for a straight comparison pull. That way, we can cover the subject from all angles.

    But based on your 6500 lb boat, our Tahoe might well be over it's tow rating anyway. Because of options present, our Tahoe's actual tow rating is 7,080 lb, not 7,200. That leaves 580 lbs for your passengers, luggage, fishing/ski gear, boat fuel, and any excess personal bulk over 150 pounds* you might possess. I weigh 200, so when I drive this Tahoe, I can tow 7,030 lbs - by myself, with no luggage.

    This sort of thing is in the manufacturer's fine print. MAXIMUM tow rating, they call it. That sort of uncertainty is one reason why we tow at 90% (89% is how the final numbers worked out here) of rated capacity.

    *150 lb is the assumed driver weight most manufacturers use when they calculate their ratings.
  • But based on your 6500 lb boat, our Tahoe might well be over it's tow rating anyway. Because of options present, our Tahoe's actual tow rating is 7,080 lb, not 7,200. That leaves 580 lbs for your passengers, luggage, fishing/ski gear, boat fuel, and any excess personal bulk over 150 pounds* you might possess. I weigh 200, so when I drive this Tahoe, I can tow 7,030 lbs - by myself, with no luggage.

    If that is the case, the Tahoe rating would have to take a big hit if you chose to tow that boat. I cannot see the value to the logic of taking two vehicles in the same class in a head to head comparison and handicapping. The rated HP of the Tahoe was greater, so what handicap did that get? The tow test was less than useful due to the illogical effort to handicap the Expedition. I ran a test lab and supervised engineers for 17 years, and I can tell you that the only thing the tow test may have actually proved was that the Expedition was better equipped for the job at a lower price.

    The vehicles were supposed to be representatives of the same class of large SUV. If you were going to handicap ratings... the size of the tires should have been handicapped for, as well as the size of the brakes, the rated engine output, the different transmission gears etc. A head to head comparison should be just that. Use what you brought in equal test conditions and publish the results.

    If a manufacturer rates a vehicle to tow a certain amount, we want to verify that claim. Bottom line. When shopping, can you trust the figure, or is it so much marketing hype?

    That is fine. Verify the claim that the Expedition can tow more weight than the Tahoe, and the rating is accurate.
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    Exactly my point.
    Comparison testing should be "apples to apples". Otherwise it is not really a comparison.

    I can figure out for myself if a vehicle can pull my boat/camper/etc, based on its tow rating in a given setup.

    Like I said before, as a consumer, when I read a comparison test, I want to know how 2 different vehicles can perform the SAME job.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Not hardly. The fact that the Expedition is rated to tow more weight should have nothing to do with your test. It does tell me that the Ford has a good margin of weight pulling over the Chevy. That can equate to longevity of the drive train, especially is dealing with tow weights of say 6000 pounds or so.

    The Ford weighs 303 more pounds. That is what it is! You didn't add 303 lbs to the Tahoe to "Even" the playing field. And you should not have! However, you added 150 pounds to the already heavier Ford ?

    Then to add insult to injury you make the Ford "Tow" load 1320 heavier.

    So with the Expedition drive train dealing with 1470 pounds more weight we are now comparing performance?

    The only way to have a fair comparison is for each vehicle to carry and tow the exact same weight. The fact that the Ford is heavier means it would have to deal with that weight. That is OK!

    "Towing fuel economy is shown and discussed under the "Tow Test Results and Explanation page," 8.1 for the Chevy and 7.7 for the Ford."

    The towing economy is with the Ford dealing with 3/4 ton more "ADD ON" weight than the Chevy. Loose that 3/4 ton and the Ford would have done a bit better.

    Come on guys. Give us a test comparing Apples to Apples!

    Thanks,
    Kip
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