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



  • 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.

  • Lovrien,
    Before you trade the Expedition for the Suburban, go take a look at the Edmunds Suburban Townhall site. The number of blown engines and trannys is amazing.
  • cathacatha Posts: 1
    Help me out here... I've searched the car lots and seem to find the 2001 Suburban on of the best vehicles on the lots. I've read the problems some are having with the older models, is the 2001 LT w/ the 5.3 worth almost 40,000? Please advise!
  • I put a K & N filter in, not for the milage, just to let the engine breathe a little better and for the cost, it's cheaper than replacing the filter a couple of times.

    I have not seen any noticable increase in milage....
  • If you would of been a real man you would of bought a FORD EXCURSION. Just you wait when your trans goes out and the dealer won't repair it for you. Than you'll be wishing you would of bought a real truck and not the mickey mouse mexican made sub. My deepest sympathy for you.
  • I just purchased a 2000 Suburban 4X4 and it is a fantastic truck. I drove the Excursion and found that although very well appointed, the ride and overall performance was lacking. When I went to the Ford dealership, the first two I wanted to test drive wouldn't even start!! I finally got behind the wheel of the diesel and found it very loud on the interior and the ride was much like a tank with leather seats.

    Ford is currently having sales issues with the Excursion for a number of reasons: 1) It is too high to fit in most garages and parkades. The dealership had the "manager demo" that had to be lowered just to be used in downtown areas. (This is funny because I believe that I read the clearance of the Suburban is greater, headroom difference is negligible, but overall height is 7 inches lower than the Excursion). 2) The truck rides very poorly. 3) Fuel economy is beyond brutal. A person AT THE DEALERSHIP stated that you do not want the V10. Avg economy is around 3 in the city and 10 on the highway. OUCH! The diesel is better, but very loud and expensive.

    Now, onto chevy. I owned a 95 Chev Z71 extended cab before this and found it to be an outstanding truck. Other than routine maintenance, I never had any issues that required any expensive or lenghthy repair times. (I fixed the seat that I broke through misuse and replaced the starter beginning to end in less than an hour). That's IT!

    The new Suburban (2000+) has some incredible improvements. It's ride and comfort are second to none (including Expeditions) and are a real pleasure to drive. The ladies of the house should also feel comfortable driving this as visibility is good and steering is very light. I purchased the LS model (Loaded except for leather as leather is too cold in Canada!!) It has ALL the creature comforts one could ask for. The new 5.3 vortec is very modest on gas compared to the Ford products, yet power and towing capabilities are not compromised. I average close to 19-20 in mixed driving... Let's see Ford pull this off!!

    I honestly went into this purchase with an open mind and researched and drove everything I could to come to this decision. Let's face it, these are not cheap vehicles and this decision should not be taken lightly. All things considered fairly and objectively, the Suburban wins hands down. Believe me, if Ford had the best, a Ford is what I would be driving, but it simply does not have all the technology offered in the Chevy and has a lot of refinements needed in order to compete.

    Right now is a great time to buy a 2000. I was offered a great deal PLUS .9% for 4 years or 2.9% for 5 years (keep in mind this was in Canada).

    Good luck in your decision and I hope the information above is helpful.
  • "Rides like a tank with leather seats" hmmm sounds good to me. That tank-like protection is one reason I bought an X for my wife and 4 kids. Also Suburban owners will be into their second or third engines just on normal wear when the Powerstroke Diesel is just geting broken in. I'm not even considering egine problems. I too was torn between the two, , Subs. vs. X., until I visited the Suburban website at Edmunds. Every other message is about a blown engine or tranny. Some people may luck out and get a good product, but overall the reliability of GM products is lousy. I then test drove an X and owned it 15 minutes later. And I got 0.9% for 5 years.
  • "Every other message is about a blown engine or tranny"You were reading a different suburban website than the rest of were.
  • Go to Edmunds Suburban website and you'll see in the Forums listed that under Suburban they've even started a forum entitled "Reliability?Suburban". Then go into that site and start counting.
  • The forum you speak of talks about any year of suburban not just 2000,2001. The 99 and older did have a lot of problems. I know, i had one. I now have a 2000 and am very happy with it. I have been reading the "Reliability? Suburban" and other related posts for one year now. That is what prompted me to look into and order a new one. Mike
  • I'm looking at trading my 99 Suburban w/ 454 for Excursion Ltd w/ P'stroke, but have been told that Ford may retire the Exc. Any truth to this? Or is it a malicious rumor by Chev salesman?
  • The 2002 GMC Yukon XL is going to have a new radio with 100 nationwide channels and 2 satellites beaming the signals. Also, the Quadrasteer all-wheel drive option and the Duramax Diesel engine option.

    The 2002 Ford Excursion will have adjustable pedals. That's it? Come on Ford!
  • good for gmc you better run out to the dealership when they first come out, so you can get one. Better yet, if you want a real truck go to your local ford dealership.
  • I have finaly decided to take the plunge and buy a 2001 big block Suburban or GMC. Even though I do some towing, I have decided to forgo the 410 read end for the stock ratio. What kind of gas milage can I expect?
  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    There is no truth to the rumor that Ford is retiring the Excursion. It makes a ton of money.
  • kreykrey Posts: 41
    What I've been told by a buddy who owns a local ford dealership is that he understands they are in the process of a bottom-up redesign of the Excursion, probably for 2003. He said too many people have complained about the height problems and the ride. The owner's son actually got stuck in a parking garage recently when he went up to the city to see a baskeball game. I'm told it was not funny.

    As for all the money they're making, I'm not too sure about that. True, they have a hell of a profit margin in these trucks, but you gotta have sales to make the money. Right now they're trying to give these trucks away where I live...$7-9K off msrp for a new 2001 limited.

    To be fair, demand for all new large SUV's is down, with the exception of the new Sequoia, but the Excursion is taking the biggest sales hit by far.
  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    Excursion will be getting a redesign, but only as part of the natural life cycle of its design, and certainly not for 2003MY. In fact the redesign has been pushed back from original plans.
    As for profitability, even with sales slow, I wouldn't worry about it. This is a big winner for Ford. Also, Ford can also simply build more Superduty trucks when Ex sales are slow. Can you really get one for $9K off MSRP?
    Don't most parking garages have a height restriction at the entrance? The owner's son sounds like an idiot.
  • phil62phil62 Posts: 6
    Yep, they're really selling 'em that cheap. I live in the Beaumont, Texas area and one dealer just east of here a week ago was advertising three of the 4x4 loaded Limiteds for a little over $32K (MSRP more than $42K.) I'd have bought one too, if it weren't for the height and parking issue. Not all garages post the clearance as well as they should, and if you phone their security staffs or attendants, half the time they don't know the clearance of their own garage. Besides, what if you get into one of these huge concrete labyrinths and then the clearance is lower further in? What a nightmare! I think if I can afford it I'm going with a Sequoia -- not quite as big as I want but it'll fit more places and will have significantly better reliability than the GM (and probably Ford) products. Just my two cents.
  • phil62, we are looking for an Excursion and would have no problem going to Texas to buy one ( we're in Colorado ). What is the name of the dealership advertising the $10K off MSRP price?
  • phil62phil62 Posts: 6
    I believe that dealer was Orange Ford/Lincoln-Mercury. They're in Orange, Texas, which is on I-10 just a few miles from the Louisiana border, so that's a heck of a drive from your neck of the woods. Here's the info: address is 16th at Green Avenue; e-mail; phone 1-800-817-5255. If it looks like you'll buy one from them, please e-mail me at Maybe you could mention my name so they'd have warm fuzzy thoughts about me if I do decide to pick one of their machines. :) Good luck.
  • "The new 5.3 vortec is very modest on gas compared to the Ford products, yet power and towing capabilities are not compromised. I average close to 19-20 in mixed driving... Let's see Ford pull this off!!
    Well FORD did pull this off and did better. I'm getting 22-24 mixed driving and paying a lot less for diesel than you are for gas.

    I have the PSD Excursion and is NOT loud in fact it is quieter when it hits speed than any vortec the planet.
    Now for the whiners gripping about parking garages, give me a break, the MEN who drive Excursions add 3"-5" lifts on to their TRUCKS and the operative word being truck NOT Chevy station wagon. So we that build our truck even HIGHER than factory could care less about parking in some downtown garage, that we will never go to or park in anyway.
    Why don't we complain on why the Excursion doesn't go 150 MPH
    at the drag strip, or why it can't fly ...get real. It is what it is! The MOTHER of all trucks with enough power to tear a Suburban in half.

    Since when is it a good thing to have a mushy ride in a truck. Oh, I know, when it's a Suburban Station wagon.

    I read all the Hundreds of posts regarding lousy suburbans and tranny's etc, and the most incredible thing - all these Chevy guys complain about how the Suburban is falling apart, ( Brakes, tranny Rear end etc) and then on the next breath say it's the best vehicle they have owned HUH!!!!!. Ya, but its OK now they fix'd all the problems in the 2000. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ya, right.

    Let me get this straight, Suburban has been around for 65 years according to the commercial, and just now in 2000 - 2001 they got it right. Can I just ask one question here - What took them so long?

    Ford first year out of the shoot, and it is heads and tails over a 65 year old WANNABE.

    Does anybody doubt who would come out a winner if a Suburban and an Excursion were in a head on accident...I think NOT.

    For no other reason with all the nuts on the road, you want to be driving in that tank with leather seats. Now that is music to my ears.

    And as far as all the complaints regarding PSD Excursions from Chevy guys, I can tell you it's ALL bunk. And this is from someone who drive one every day, not a three minute ride at the dealership.
This discussion has been closed.