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



  • Why wait until December? The end of the model year is now and this is when you get your deals. Not on a Burb of course because they are selling like hotcakes. But as noted by others above (and the news media) Excursions are plentiful on dealers lots. People just aren't buying them and so dealers are dropping prices to rock bottom to get rid of them. Of course your resale down the road will be terrible but at least you get a cheap truck. Good luck with your purchase.
  • i had to decide between a ford ex and a yukonxl and was initially impressed with the ford and having a ford explorer with 150000 miles (91) with very few problems and a strong drive train it was my first choice. i test drove both (i didnt even know at first that gm was redesigning their beast) and for our 3 kids in car seats and with my wife driving it mainly both were quite suitable. two things made me sway to gm the ride is definitely nicer and the weight was noticeable in corners and the yukonxl is not great at corners. i also had some negative experiences with ford first it pulled to the right (my exploder) they said it was a 4wd or all fords do this but an independant mechanic fixed a worn bushing and its been fine since, also the left rear axle seal went 5 times the same guy found a warped axle its fine now! all of this fixed out of warranty, consequently driving the ford was not as much fun as it is now. the straw that broke it though was when i went to use my spare tire on the front axle (i'd used it twice on the rear FIRESTONE ATX'S till i dumped them) anyway it did not fit the axle and ford w'ont replace it so i offered them a chance the refused so business goes elsewhere. i bought the yukon xl service is great and it drives straight and it is very comfortable for our long legs and i'm getting about 19 mpg on the highway i limit my city driving to the exploder.
  • yksyks Posts: 1
    I loved my 91 Sub. Drove it 200K miles then sold it to the son of a friend. Got a 97 Sub and life has been less than pleasing.
    I can accept the occasional mechanical problem. But dealing with the service department is so aggravating I could .... Why can't they just fix what I want or need and not try to sell me on another $500 of "due services"?

    Anyway. I have decided to go with an Ex rather than the new Sub-lite. Having a hard time finding other than a Limited locally. And just to be extra picky I want the split bench seat, not the chairs.

    Here's to the hunt...
    By the way -- both the friend and his son are still friends of mine. I won't dump the 97 on them.
  • After driving the 2k SUB and the EX, I know I did the right thing by buying the 1999 model Sub rather than waiting for the new models. Why Chevy made the 2000 smaller and got rid of the 42 gal tank beats the h--- out of me. I tow light trailers and put a lot of miles on it. When I'm not towing, I've been averaging 17.5 mph. Once I got over the 19 mpg mark. As far as the ride, the 99 is just fine although the 2000 is a bit cushier. But lets not forget that this is a truck. In my opinion the 99 Suburban beats them both!!!
  • Gary, the 99 sub is a truck but the 2000 sub comes with REAL brakes. I must admit, I really miss my 42 gallon tank. I put 48,000 on my 99 and my 2000 is far superior. Better brakes, handling, milage, ride, AC/heat, turning radius, auto electrical cut off after 20 minutes (my kids were always leaving the reading lights on). 99 had better low end torque, stereo, 42 gal tank, bigger windows, a little more room, hotter heated seats. My biggest gripes were poor AC for driver, inadequate brakes, and loose rattling seats. I like the 2000 better. Mike
  • I have now test driven both and have spent a lot of time with a 1995 K2500 Diesel and F-250. I appreciate the torque and gasmilage of the diesel. I apreciate the cold starting (<0 deg C) of the gas engines.

    But one big thing I noticed is that the payload of the 4wd psd excursion is ~1560 lbs vs 2800 lbs of the 454 Suburban. So what happens when I pile four big guys and a ton of gear and I exceed 1500 lb max payload. Granted it won't happen often, but it WILL happen. This goes back to the weight of the Excursion being so much more. Yes they have the same max towing weight, but if the Excursion is that roomy inside, I am more apt to max it. Can I raise the payload rating with helper springs or do other items become the week link. I know the brakes on the Ford can handle it, they work and feel great.

    That brings up another question. I have heard of some Suburban break problems. Was that fixed in 99 for the k2500?

    All in all, I like the ride of the Excursion better. It is more solid in the stock config than the Sub, but aftermarket components can cure that problem easily.
  • Great list! I am currently looking at a 2000/2001 Excursion Limited with the PSD. Any idea as to what a good price to deal towards on this model?? Should I wait until December to nab a 2000 at a discount?? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • December? They will be paying you to take one by then. Locally, Ex's are advertised with a $7,000.00 Discount!!
  • We went through the same set of calculations and came to the conclusion that the excursion was financially a tremendous deal. The difference in gasoline usage was almost insignificant...if less so for us, because we would not drive either vehicle that much in the city (we have two cars for the commuting, errands, etc.) Of course, these vehicles aren't for everyone..we pull a 4700 lb trailer plus loads of kids and junk for camping. The low interest rate on such an expensive purchase makes an awful lot of difference. I was surprised by the ease of handling of the excursion and its ability to tow heavy loads. I would second the opinion that it is quite roomy and comfortable. The brakes are terrific compared to the '99 Tahoe I had. The Chevy dealers here weren't real interested in dealing...they don't have any strippo suburban 2500s sitting around anyway. Besides, just take a look at the Tahoe/Suburban posting boards and there are a lot of unhappy people there.
  • In my earlier posting, I may have sounded a little hard on the Excursion and in my comparison I mentioned little about the great points about the Excursion. Until now I had more miles on the Sub. After a little more time on the EX I find the ride quite comfortable, maybe not as good as the Sub but still good. The Excursion rides well on the highway as well. I felt the fit and finish was a little better on the Suburban but there were other things that I had not considered. The second row seats recline (the kids fell a sleep on the way back from the store in them). In my 89 chevy pu I would open the window and rest my arm on the door with the rubber trim digging into my arm and eventually breaking down the rubber trim seal. Ford puts an armrest ledge so my arm doesn&#146;t rest on the rubber trim. Little things like that tells me there was some thought to the design. The automatic aft windows work quite well. I like not having the post in the rear door and unobstructed rear window. When I test drove the Sub it was very cold, I noticed that cold would radiate from the window and cause my shoulder to ache, this has happened with other vehicles as well. If you turn the heat up you are too hot, low heat and arm is cold. Not in the excursion, possibly because my shoulder is father away from the window or thicker glass.. Don&#146;t know but it is some of the little things that make me a happy camper. In stop and go traffic with short distances between stoplights I get about 11.2 mpg (it seems to go down if you have extended stop time at the light). I will have to wait until summer to tow the boat to the lake but from what I have read this should be great. The more I drive it the more I love it. I had already conceded to all the negative comments on this board were true and that I would have to live with them before I bought the vehicle and that is why it was discounted so heavily. I am finding many are exaggerated. I am even more pleased with my purchase. I like the two rear doors as opposed to a tail gate. Another pleasant surprise, I had to make a u turn, from the posts I though the Queen Mary had a better turning radius. I made it without backing up. Again another exaggeration or at least a misunderstanding on how well the Excursion can u-turn. What I am finding is the Sub and the Ex are more similar than dissimilar. They both have advantages and people choose what they like. The lower price of the Ex makes it an even sweeter deal for me. Since this is not my primary mode of transportation (I commute on a motorcycle to work and my sister takes the kids to school in it which is less than a mile away.) I recommend the Excursion as a great vehicle and an excellent value.

  • I just placed an order for an Excursion. This follows an order for a Suburban a month ago that I canceled recently when finding out that GM will not be producing the 9-seat version which I require for an indefinite period of time. I had already been upset about not being able to get both CD & casette on the Suburban, plus Chevy's unwillingness to drop anything from the MSRP, but I had gone ahead with the order due to the Suburban reputation and the $2000 credit I had earned on my GM credit card. But not knowing when I would be able to get my vehicle was the last straw and caused me to look elsewhere.

    No 9-seat Excursions were available locally, but the fleet manager assured me that Ford would produce one if I ordered it. Plus, I not only get an in-dash casette player, but was able to add a 6-disc CD changer. And the deal is $800 over invoice (+$200 advertising fee). So, $32,500 plus tax for a 9-seat 2WD Excursion + 6-disc changer and reverse sensing system.

    My question is regarding the merits of the 6.8L V10 vs. the 5.4L V8 engine. I went with the smaller engine, assuming that the gas mileage will be better, but how much better? There is no data on either engine version. Maybe it's not worth it. Plus, I'm concerned about having enough power in the V8. I will not be doing any towing, but I have 7 kids (thus the 9-seater) and we take some camping trips that have us pretty loaded up with tents, bags, clothes, food, firewood, etc. Does anybody have the knowledge or experience to tell me if the 5.4L V8 will be able to reasonably handle my payload? I have a week to make a change before the order is actually submitted to the manufacturer. Any input is appreciated.


  • Bart - you are right. The Ex is probably a better deal right now for someone who really just wants to feel that got a great deal. As you said, Chevys are in high demand and they can't seem to build enough of them. The Ex just hasn't caught on and so Ford is using deep discounts and low financing to get rid of them. Otherwise they would have to shut down the plants which is not feasible economically as it cost thems millions, maybe billions to convert them for Ex production. I say you should buy what you want and be happy with it no matter what anyone else says. If you don't mind paying more for the Chevy because that's the kind of vehicle you want, great. And if you buy the Ford to get the better price in the short term and are truly happy with it great also. I just feel bad for those that jumped on the Ex when it first came out and paid full sticker because they just had to have one and then the bottom fell out. But then again, as long as they are happy with their purchase that's what matters.
  • Have just rolled first 30K miles on 2000 Excursion. Got this one in May and have spent a lot of hiway and off road miles, even some ice in 4 WD. Spent 300K miles in '94 Sub previously and had almost no problems,so I have a fairly good comparison. The Ex has the V10 and 4.30 limited slip so power is no problem. Here are my purely subjective observations:
    1. Lots more pulling power than the 350 Sub. Duh!! 2. More interior room, but less comfort than Sub,especially on 1000 mile per day trip, and I've made at least 6 of these days.
    3. 35% poorer fuel mileage than Sub. Avg 9.5 mpg
    4. Rougher ride than Sub.
    5. Feels top heavy. I no longer dodge anything,,just run over it. (1 deer already)
    6. Tows trailer much easier than Sub.
    7. Lots more room on roof for antennas!
    8. I have XLT package on Ex, Sub had Silverado,,,Ex is ahead in gadgets & creature comforts.

    So far, so good, no mech problem other than a few
  • Prestonk...It is my understanding that the V10 gets considerably better mileage than the V8. The Excursion is a very heavy vehicle, and the V8 has to strain much harder to keep it rolling. The V10 handles the job without breaking a sweat. You'll like it better for hauling a load, too. Some people prefer the diesel engine, but I don't want to put up with the noise and extra maintenance to gain a few more miles per gallon. Frequently, the price of diesel is higher than unleaded regular, so the MPG difference evaporates. I can buy a lot of gas for the $4000 price difference between the V10 and the diesel. I recommend the V10 with the 3.73 ratio axle.
    Anybody buying either a Suburban or an Excursion had better plan on considerable fuel costs, regardless of what engine you choose. It comes with the territory. I bought oil company stock, so it helps ease the pain when I fill up.
  • jogibajogiba Posts: 27
    My stepson just took our Excursion for a saturday nite date. The local school had a car wash today ..$5 for cars and $7 for trucks,Vans and SUV's.So I was glad to give them $7 to wash my Excursion even though I had to do the wheels and tires when I got home. So he has a clean black Excursion to cruise in.He said all his friends think the truck is cool.The Excursion is my wife's truck...I have a ZR2 4x4 3door S-10 Pickup.

    We were thinking of a Suburban but my wife liked the dutch doors on her Astro Van so when she took the Excursion for a test drive she was hooked. I was suprised she even likes the diesel.

  • I would call around and maybe get one that is not local. When I first started looking is was in the market for a 4door crew cab. It test drove the v8 and v10. The v10 is the way to go in my opinion, it defiantly did not push the truck as well and that was unloaded. You should consider canceling your order and calling around to other states for what you want. I paid 34000 for mine and it is 4wheel drive limited and just about every feature. I have been surprised by the gas mileage of the v10. One thing, I have the 373 rear end, I am sure the 4.30 will not do as well. Even with this rear end the truck picks up pretty well, and if you put your foot into it, it goes and I am high altitude. Good luck. You should make your dealer give you a test drive of the f250 crew to give you some idea of the power difference but remember the EX is heavier.


    I think that you should not just purchase anything based on cost. I guess I was trying to show a cost benefit. The ride/gas mileage/noise level is only slightly better than the Chevy. If you really desire those qualities you should go with [non-permissible content removed] or a Landrover, but then price becomes an issue (at least it would for me) So my point. I agree that everyone should be happy with what they choose. For me (and not you or anyone else) after you I did the cost/benefit the EX shines. Even if the Chevys were available to get one as nice as the EX would put the price into orbit for me and for what? Only slightly better performance in the areas we discussed earlier. You then must consider the merits of the EX. So to base a comparison on cost only, a person must consider all the pros and cons. The reason I even posted was because of a basher out here who made emotional based arguments that did not consider the facts/features/qualities of the EX. To each his own. Fortunately everyone does think exclusively like you or I because one manufacturer would be history. I like Chevys, I still have one but I had to choose the best value (cost/benefit analysis)not just cost, so for me and at this point in time I got a EX. The Chevys are revamped and nice but I can't justify one in my mind.
  • Thanks for the input on this. If the V10 gets better gas mileage, I suppose that I'll go for it. There doesn't seem to be a disadvantage to it other than the initial cost. Even though 2 of you recommended the 3.73 rear axle, it seems that in California I am required to get the 4.30 with the V10 (don't know why, something about California emissions).

    The dealer looked around California and didn't find a 9-seater. I think 2000's are pretty much gone here, but I haven't tried a nationwide search and am not sure that it would be worth it, esp. with 2.9% financing expiring.

  • Amen, brother. We're both pleased with our choices and based on our own analysis we bought the vehicle that was right for us. That's what it's all about.
  • I am looking to buy a SUV. I would like to hear more likes and dislikes on these two. Right now I am leaning towards the ex 4X4 limited loaded for about 38,000 any ideals is this a good price or not. Any sub owners want to talk me out of the ex. also did I tell you the price included a VCR player and screen.Thanks for any advice
  • hanslghanslg Posts: 1

    Are you trying to get this in leather?
    You can probably take the center console out and replace it with a leather SteelHorse middle seat/organizer. This unit even has provisions for a VCP in the back. The only problem is relocating the CD changer and rear-audio controls.

    Drive safe,
  • 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: 1,306
    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..).


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