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Ford Excursion vs Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL - The battle of the titans



  • I am considering a sub or ex depending on several of the factors already discussed at length here. Thank you all for your input. One thing I have heard about subs is that there is a plant in Mexico and a plant somewhere in the States and that Mexican-built subs should be avoided. I am in Texas so I am assuming most of the new subs here would be from Mexico. Can anyone tell me if there is any validity to this story?
  • dmezdmez Posts: 3
    As far as I can find out, all Suburbans have their final assembly in Mexico. According to that is. The Fords are all built in their Kentucky truck plant along with all the Super Duty trucks. And I agree, I try to avoid anything assembled in Mexico. Quality is just not the same. I'm an electrician and we get a lot of products "Made in Mexico" now and quite frankly the quality is horrible compared to US manufacturing of the same product but the cost to the consumer is the same. EXPENSIVE! I can't see that their vehicle manufacturing would be any different. Hope this helps.
  • retractretract Posts: 13
    Both the US assembled and the Mexican assembled SUV's are very well made. This is mainly due to the "design for manufacture" strategy that was/is employed. The Mex assembled Suburban/Yukon XL is likely to be slightly better than the Janesville built Tahoe/Yukon. Some reports do support this. In any case, the parts are all the same US-made components made by GM's suppliers and are only as good as the supplier.
    Here is one BIG difference:
    In Mexico, the assembly worker has one of the most prized jobs in the whole country. If they get slack and start causing QA problems, then they are fired on the spot and replaced by another very eager worker.
    In Janesville, or ANY US automotive plant, the job security and many other dynamics of the worker/management relationship prevents this ultimate job motivation. I have spent a good deal of time in the assembly and powertrain plants and observed this relationship first hand.
  • Arthur,retract on post 218 could not have stated it better. Do not be aprehensive of the Mexico built vehicle. I have had a Jainsville suburban and a Mexican which I currently have now that has better body panel fit than the US one. BTW, the US one was returned as a LEMON. The Figmoman
  • I also had apprehension about Mexico production but I have 2 Yukon XLs--both made there and the quality is top-notch--no complaints. I had a 94 Sub made in Janesville and that was fine, too.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Mine is a long story, but I will try not to give too much unnecessary info or risk being chided by my wife for babbling. We have decided to get a full sized camper trailer. We are a 3 child/one large dog family and currently own both a 99 Toyota Sienna minivan and a 92 Nissan Pathfinder. Have loved them both, and know that we made the best decisions when buying them. As you probably notice however, neither is capable of pulling a 25' trailer, so we need to buy a towing vehicle. Now we have children, safety is our first concern, and that is why we purchased the Toyota (the Windstar and Sub were the only other considerations) For our new purchase I narrowed the choices to the Sub, Exc, and also considered the new F150 Supercrew with 4 full doors. The truck would be my usual vehicle, and only transport the kiddies when travelling. (The van has a much more convenient layout for putting 3 kids into car seats on a daily basis)
    The glaring deficiency in both the of the Ford products is the complete lack of any head restraint in the rear seat. (back seat in F-150 or 3rd row in Exc) That means, that in a couple of years when the kids are big enough, at least one of them is at much grater risk of neck injury in a rear end collision. I am much more sensitive to this because a girl was killed here recently after being rear ended waiting to turn left on a highway. She was sitting on a bench truck seat and died of severe neck/head injuries. Others in the vehicle who had head restraints were Ok. How can anyone market an upscale vehicle like this without full head restraints? At least the Suburbans have 4 head restraints in the 2 back rows.
    I live in Northern BC, and this is really 4x4 truck country. Lots of snow and ice, and at least 50% of the vehicles driving around are 1/4 tons or bigger. Personally, I much preferred the feel of the Excursion to the mushy no feedback feel of the Sub, and I found it felt more solid. The new Subs feel tinny and cheap to me. There is no way that their interior trim or finish is up to what should be seen in a vehicle of that price. I don't remember having that impression when we considered them in 98-99 against the minivans. Do previous owners have the same feeling? Yes, gas will be more expensive, but there are so many things I preferred about the Exc. However, if there is no way to get head restaints for our third child, it is a mute point. I will not buy the vehicle. Does anyone have any info on this?
    Some may think I am an overanxious parent, but before you judge, visit the IIHS web-site for safety info re. head restraints. They should be considered in the same scale as seatbelts, and there is no way you would want your child riding without a seatbelt.
  • retractretract Posts: 13
    Review my post #85 above and then read my statement below. I hope this helps.
    Regarding the "the mushy no feedback feel of the
    Sub, and I found it felt more solid" Comment: I respect your opinion, but I own or have recently owned 2 Saab 9000 Turbos, 1 Saab 900 Turbo, a Porsche 911, A Ford Expedition, A 91 Suburban, and a 2000 Suburban. The 2000 Suburban (with Autoride) drives like the Saabs even when towing 9000 lbs. Expedition is far better than the Excursion for keeping its tires planted on the pavement but they both feel as though they ride on $4.99 shock absorbers. They both feel top-heavy. The burb, IMO, drives like all next generation truck will drive is it uses modern multi-link rear and computer assisted shocks.
    Did you test one with the Autoride and did you drive the Exc on a rough road? Don't make your decision until you have. As far as the interior goes, the Burb and Exc both have plastic interiors. I don't see a big difference here especally when you have been driving around in more plastic interiors.
  • Hi #225
    good luck with your excursion, where did you
    find 2.9% financing and for how many months. The
    best I've seen here at the Ford Dealer was 5.9% for 36 months.
  • It is Ford motor credit and it is 2.9 for 5 years. At least that was mine. Head restrains. Do school busses or public transportation have them, no, because of the size of the vehicle and the location I guess. Many vehicles do not have side air bags. The Ex did not have one but I still bought it. You have to weigh those factors in any vehicle. 4 wheel drives are easier to roll over which may be a little harder on the head and neck than a rear end collision maybe getting a 4 wheel drive is not as a safe decision. Should the Ex have head restraints ( I assume you mean head rest) sure, I think they should do it in the future, there may be a reason they don't, I don't know. Because the airbag cannot be disabled if you put your kid in the front seat he may be killed, not by the crash but by the bag, seems unsafe to me. Maybe older children should not be put in the back seat. My Ex has the backup warning system to prevent you from backing over your young children or their friends. How could any company produce a vehicle that sits as tall as these and trucks do not have that feature? I believe in the future all vehicles will have it. So my point? As with everything the longer the companies are around the safer they get. They don't all move at the same time but there are moving in the direction of safety.

    The ride is subjective, different people feel differently about it and who cares how a Saab handles, some people don't like the way it handles. That is why it is subjective. The EX vs Sub is a better comparison. The suspension system on the Sub is more modern and when I rode it, it felt slightly better handling but it didn't handle as well as my short bed 4x4 Chevy truck. (Which is as poor a comparison as the Saab). The EX is roomier inside. That is not subjective; the numbers show the EX to be 4 inches more shoulder and hip room and more head room. Is the Sub slightly better ride, slightly more quiet, 2 mpg gas economy increase $10,000 better? It may be cliché but that seems to be the $10,000 question. (Priced a similar featured Sub on the Chevy web site and it was $44,000 not to mention 2.9 5 year financing and availability. Chevy offers 0% financing on the blazer during truck month (no suprise there) but not on Silverado, Tahoe, Sub.)
  • 4sons4sons Posts: 1
    My choice has narrowed between the Ford Excursion Diesel and the Suburban 1500 with the 5.4 litre V8.

    Any experience with these two vehicles?

    I do not tow anything yet, but I am not ruling it out (boat or maybe camper in the future).

    I like the diesel for the increased mileage and longevity vs the Ford V8 and V10. Any ideas of the mileage I can expect with these various engines? The dealership says 10-12mpg with the V8 and V10 while with the diesel I can expect a little over 20mpg on the highway.

    I have driven both (only once each) and the suburban seems more nimble which is to be expected due to the excursions size. I really like both vehicles.

    How will the Chevy V8 hold up? Any major problems with this engine (5.4 liter) or transmission? Many recommend the Diesel, but these are primarily Ford people. There are still alot of Suburbans on the road so they must be holding up. Right?

    I am just looking for advice, my family has outgrown the minivan and we do alot of outdoor recreation (camping, kids sports, etc..).


  • I have a 2000 sub. This is my 4th GM truck and while ive had trouble with the last three, this is a keeper. It is a fresh design and they have addressed the problems of the past. Im very happy with mine. It is very smooth and quiet, stops well and for its size, gets good mileage. I average 16 MPG for all around driving, have got as high as 20 on the road. It is very nimble for its size. Do not be afraid of the Mexico build! You cannot tell the difference between the two and frankly i think the mexican worker values his job much more than the "protected" union worker and might be a little more concientious in doing a good job. I think ford puts out a fine vehicle too. The excursion is built on the super duty platform and I am building a second one into a fire truck at work as we speak. I have dissasembled the cabs and dashboards extensively and added and modified the wireing. What I have found with both Ford and GM is excelent build quality. The power stroke diesel is an excelent motor but an expensive option that will take a lot of driving to offset the cost of the option versus mileage. I prefered the smooth quiet luxury ride myself. The ford will definetly have a more truckish ride and realize that you will be hauling almost 2000 pounds more vehicle weight around which definatly impacts mileage with the gas motor. A real plus for the ford is you can make a much better deal on the cost. GM is selling them as fast as they make them so its hard to deal. Good luck with your choice and let us know what you decide. Mike
  • dmezdmez Posts: 3
    If your only consideration is the diesel over the gas for the improved mph, you have to consider that it will take approximately 36,000 miles to the break even point. Also, the fact that a gas engine doesn't even need a tune-up for 100,000 miles shows that the maintenance factor is low too. I am very fond of diesel engines. It is very hard to kill them. If you are doing a lot of heavy towing then the diesel might be the way to go. I have the V-10 in my Ex and tow a 7500 lb. trailer with no problem. Also have a 1986 Ford F-250 with International diesel with 200,000 miles on it. The engine runs great but the truck is no longer street legal. The body and along with everything else just wasted away. So that's part of the problem. The diesel engine will out last the rest of the truck with no problem.

    I too considered the diesel when I ordered my truck but I figured the longest that I would probably keep this truck would be ten years max and figured the gas engine would suite me fine and so far I'm not sorry for the decision.

    Another factor about diesels is that they liked to be driven. They are not a good choice for the 1 mile ride down to the store and back. They need to be run hot. My brother is a diesel mechanic and says that the worst thing for a diesel engine is a quick hop and not letting it get hot. It can damage the turbo charger over time and that is a costly item to replace. Ford guarantees the turbo charger for 100,000 miles but for a diesel that's just getting broken in.

    I hope all this information is helpful.
  • I currently own a 99 Suburban and am contemplating trading the lemon on a 2000 Exc. Limited. For any readers who want the facts, go to When I first visited, I thought it was sour grapes. Now 36,000 miles later, It's almost scary how I've experienced most of the same problems with my Mexican built Suburban. Undersized brakes, premature brake wear, pulling to right when brakes are applied, broken door handles, cracked windshield, chirping heater fan are a few of my complaints. Last week I discovered the factory battery leaked acid out of the positive terminal and corroded the lead so bad that the post fell out of the battery.
    With 36,472 miles my battery cables were out of warranty. No problem my $1,700 extended warranty will cover it! Wrong again! Battery cables aren't covered, and neither is towing on uncovered components. I changed it in the rain. Took two pair of vice grips to free the cable from the bolt after it fell out of the battery. Later learned 1995-1997 GMC Sub's and Yukon's are currently being investigated by the government for the same problem. Before buying a Suburban, I urge everybody to research GMC's technical service bulletins, and visit the National Highway Transportation web site before they choose to purchase a GMC Suburban. Listed there are hundreds of complaints to the government, many similar to those listed above.
  • A lot of people say the Excursion is too big. Its only nine inches longer than a Suburban. It is actually the same length as my extended cab short bed pickup. If thats too big than a lot of trucks should be taken off the road. A lot of people say it gets bad mileage, I remember when most cars didn't get as good as the Excursion gets. There has been a lot of advancements in engine technology and for the power out put there shouldn't be any complaining. I own horses and when I am going somewhere with horses I would rather have something bigger so I can carry my horses and the riders. No small SUV can carry all the tack and the riders while pulling a 8,000-9,000 lbs trailer. Most people have a reason for having an SUV that big. Quit complaining. If you don't want something that big than don't buy it.
  • flmom2flmom2 Posts: 1
    I am so happy with my 2000 Excursion. The only bad thing about it is the gas mileage in town, but with everything there is a tradeoff,our comfort and safety for less mileage is fine. My husband was driving it on Friday on the interstate and the construction truck in front of him lost a 5 foot long steel pipe, it hit my new truck then ricocheted off to the next lane and hit a mini van. We have a salad plate size dent in the bumper, the van has $3000 of damage and had to be towed. If my husband had been driving his BMW he would have had a steel pipe for a passenger and probably would have been killed. We agree that we will only replace this with another one when it is time to do so. I have driven a friends suburban and I think that this drives much easier and I do not have a problem parking at all.
  • acobraacobra Posts: 1
    I've seen posts relative to K & N packages on Excursions and effects on mileage. Can those of you that have K & N installations, give me info on what specific installs you did and the effect? I have a 2000 Limited with a V-10 and 3:73 gears. I get decent mileage, but if I can get even more power and mileage I'm all for it!

  • I have owned 3 subs over the past 15 years. I have loved all of them. I am sure the new gen. is another great unit. I am disappointed in the reduction in interior storage space behind rear seat. All of my subs have been low maintenance / low problems.

    Still I am seriously checking out the PSD Ex. I really like the machine. I am having a problem with the dealers (most don't know a truck from a tonka.)

    I want to order an Ex without all that body molding crap. Can you do that? If not, does it come off easily... without damaging paint etc? Are the cloth captain seats in the XLT the same as the leather captain seats (obviously except the shell)? Has anyone had any experience with the Banks power products upgrades to the PSD? What kind fuel mileage are the PSD Ex's getting?
    Is the interior of an XLT the same as an LTD (with XLT options added to equal the LTD and I know the XLT does not come with the wood grain fluf.)

    This has been a great thread. I hope some of you can help me fill in a few of the blanks that the dealers can't.
  • Subcursion,

    Any Ford Excursion brochure should be able to answer most of your questions.

    Ans, Limited Excursions come with the mold, XLTs do not. You can take them off on the Limiteds but wouold have to scrape off some double sided tape. I heard of this from someone, I'd keep it if I had the Limited, maybe repaint it the same color as the whole truck. Seats are the same, the front middle 9th seat does not come in leather. All Limiteds and XLTs with Conveninece package which also has leather have a center console instead of the seat. Banks I heard is good, so are other upgrades for the diesel. Kenne Belle supercharger for the V10 but why?? 300+hp is enough for me. Check out forums for more info. As long as you get the Convenience package with the XLT, it's almost the same as the Limited, except no wood, no Limited embroidery and mine had no rear sensor warning thing. I think fog lights are an option on the XLT. I had to have silver so I had to get an XLT. Just check out the brochure, that's the most accurate info. Forget the guys that drive a pinto at the dealer.

    FYI, there are a few changes on what's standard and what's an option between the 2000 and 2001 models.

    Good luck,
  • Anyone know if Ford will offer power pedals for the Ex?
  • have a 97 Expedition with 58K and have never
    had a problem. My wife wants a 3rd seat for our
    children and a chevy dealer has a Blk 96 Suburban
    K1500 with 4WD. It has 64K and as he claims " good
    Maint. record". The dealer will trade straight
    across.Is there any advice on this model from
    anyone ? I'd love to hear an opinion.

This discussion has been closed.