Filling a void in the huge sport-ute class that was previously owned by GMC, the Excursion thuds onto the scene boasting, that at almost 7 ft tall and 20 ft long, it will still fit into a standard garage. This behemoth transports up to nine adults, has 48.6 ft3 of cargo space with three rows of seats in place, and is touted to be environmentally friendly. The Excursion is also rated as a low-emission vehicle, and approximately 85% of it is eligible fodder for the recycling bin.
Powering the Excursion includes a 5.4-liter V8 delivering 260 hp, a 6.8-liter V10 with a projected 300-hp, and a 7.3-liter V8 diesel at 235 hp. The truck comes with optional 4WD on the V8 and diesel engines, but is standard on the V10. The 4WD system features a part-time, two-speed transfer case with electronic shift-on-the-fly. Power to the front wheels is supplied by a dash-mounted selector switch that operates an electropneumatic pulse vacuum hub locking system. Switching is claimed to be almost noiseless with no shift delays, even in cold weather.
The Excursion begins with the same chassis developed for the 1999 Ford Super Duty F-Series pickups, with modifications to the suspension and steering for ride and handling. Changes from the Super Duty Series include revised sway bars and spring rates, softer suspension bushings, and revised jounce bumpers and retuned shock absorbers. Heavy-duty gas-charged shock absorbers have a 40% reduction in pressure, reducing harshness. Spring rates are also reduced by 15 to 20%. The vehicle sits on a steel frame fitted with a boxed transmission crossmember for rigidity and low powertrain noise. Integrally welded body and suspension mounting brackets add strength. A two-piece frame rail permits a complete front-end replacement module for easy repair.
Additional crossmembers, called the BlockerBeam system, are said to help share the burden of a crash with a smaller vehicle. The system is a hollow crossmember which hangs from the frame by two 7-in. L-shaped brackets. Essentially a second bumper, it is approximately 2.5-in. below and 6.5-in. behind a conventional front bumper. In a front collision with a car, the system makes contact with the frame rails of the car, to prevent it from sliding underneath the Excursion. Upon impact, the L-shaped brackets bend to help disperse energy and limit damage to the car’s passenger compartment. For rear impacts, a 3.5-in.2 steel trailer hitch spans more than three feet across the Excursion and attaches to the frame. It is said to prevent low-riding cars from sliding underneath in rear collisions.