The Real Deal: Ford Expedition EL Vs Chevrolet Suburban Like MaryAnne Vs Ginger

John Clay Wolfe
by John Clay Wolfe

Ford Expedition EL or Chevy Suburban? Ford’s late-starting expedition into the oversized SUV genre got lost on the way to the jungle. But when they finally arrived, Ford had their bearings straight. The Mack Daddy Expedition EL is way more ride for your money than the Suburban, no doubt. But the Suburban is the STAPLE of all STAPLES. And it’s the cooler whip. Thank President George. Bush’s patronage forever put the Suburban in the automotive walk of fame. W did for the Suburban what Obama did for the 300C, what Snoop did for the Deville, what little Puff Daddy did for the Range Rover, what Gilligan did for the Island, what Pam Anderson did for loose women worldwide . . . you get the point. Game over?

SUV sales may be way, way down, but school parking lots throughout this great country of ours continue to be stuffed with middle class moms driving Chevy Suburbans. The Expedition EL may have it all over the Chevy Suburban (it doesn’t), but it’s like Ford and Chevy said to each other “let’s step outside”—only to find themselves alone. Without an audience. And too weak too fight.

Once again, Ford brings the product, but fails to bring the noise. The Glass House Gang has more or less abandoned all their SUV advertising in favor of hard-to-find PC hybrids, crossovers, small cars, God knows what and (thank God) the F150. They might as well build the current Expedition (and most excellent Explorer) out of stealth material.

Meanwhile, Ford’s missing a golden opportunity. The Suburban is finally losing its stranglehold on middle America’s upper middle class; a position the Chevy SUV’s held since the modified trucks replaced the Buick Estate Wagon as the kiddie schlepper of choice. (The Jeep Grand Wagoneer was a serious early 80’s contender, but mechanical issues kept it from the crown.)

The heartland’s Yuppies (yes, there is such a thing) are not happy that GM’s gone bust. Folks, these people disown family members that go bankrupt. And times are tough. Down at the county club, ladies who lunch now have something called “a budget.” Lexus and Mercedes SUVs are [still] on their radar, but even further out of their price range. And hubby [almost] learned his lesson about buying a high-status lifestyle on what the Brits have the good sense to call the “never never.”

See the issue at hand? The Suburban fit a niche perfectly. Chevy’s XXL SUV refugess could go into crossovers or cars or cute utes. But NOW is the time for Expedition EL to go once more into the breach dear Horatio, and close up the wall with English dead (Range Rover LR3s?). With a little help (hello Ford marketing?) and gas prices remaining stable a bit longer (hello recession?), ex-Suburbanites could be eased into an Expedition EL.

Check the numbers. Yes, SUV sales are cellar dwellers. But last October, during the beginning of the post cash-for-clunkers hangover, sales of the Ford Expedition were down “only” 1275 units vs. the previous year’s October totals. Meanwhile, sales of the Suburban were up 999 units. Oh shit. Ginger, you ignorant slut.

John Clay Wolfe
John Clay Wolfe

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  • Accs Accs on Oct 31, 2009

    Hmmm First: Mary Ann is the nice hot little slice = a S2000, NSX, Prelude. Good looking after how-ever-many-years and doesn't have any of the issues that more expensive women / vehicles have. Now Maybe I'm in the minority here.. Maybe Im in the majority. I spend an hr every day in the morning going to work. I also spend 90min every day GOING HOME from work.. everyday crossing state lines.. every single damn day. AND... The majority of shit I see on the road is Burbans, Tahoes, Expeditions of all sizes shapes and shades of DARK BLUE. They are empty They are carting around 1 person. And they sit in the left lane. They arent towing anything And have plenty of soccer and kid stickers in the back windows. Towing with one of thise fuckin things.. Is like buying a plane for the peanuts. Ya could do better with less. MUCH LESS!

  • Keith Tomas Keith Tomas on Nov 01, 2009

    Have you seen the two that played Mary Ann and Ginger lately? Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) has aged much better, although she has a police record. Ginger (Tina Louise) has become addicted to plastic surgery and begs for free meals at fancy restaurants, trading in on her fame as Ginger Grant.

  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.
  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
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