(Following a leak this morning, Ford has officially announced the 2007 Ford Expedition, a day head of schedule). The 2007 Expedition's new design, inspired by the best-selling Ford F-Series truck, signals big improvements in capability, functionality and toughness, the company said. The Ford Expedition now comes in two sizes for 2007 - regular and EL (extended length) - offering full-size SUV purchasers increased choice. With an extra 24 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seat, Expedition EL is an efficient people and cargo mover with the capability to tow more than 9,100 pounds. Expedition EL is unique from the B-pillar back with its own floor pan, one-piece body side, running boards, rear fascia, roof rack, rear quarter glass, one-piece headliner and quarter panel trim. The second-row doors are also unique to improve the ingress and egress to both second and third rows.

Expedition is powered by Ford's tough truck-proven 5.4-liter Triton V-8. With single overhead cams, three valves per cylinder and variable cam timing, the 5.4-liter engine delivers a balance of refinement and muscle. Rated at 300 horsepower and 365 foot-pounds of torque, Expedition can tow up to 9,100 pounds.

"The crisply defined surfaces and chiseled good looks exemplify the feeling of athleticism," says Chelsia Lau, Expedition chief designer. "Expedition's unique design proudly displays its Ford SUV heritage while creating its own unique personality and character."

Expedition's seating also is more capable. The driver's seat's rearward track travel was increased by 20 millimeters to accommodate drivers from 4 feet, 11 inches up to 6 feet, 4 inches. Expedition XLT features six-way power-adjustable front seats, with a 10-way-power driver's seat standard on all models with leather trim.

Expedition engineers set aggressive targets for reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Normal conversation is easily discernible from the front row all the way to the third-row seat, thanks to improved sound-deadening materials in the carpet and headliner, increased insulation behind the dashboard and door panels, thicker side glass and a specially engineered roof panel that doesn't move as much, thereby reducing interior noise.

Bigger, softer body mounts and improved engine and transmission mounts isolate the cabin from unwanted vibration. Wind tunnel-tuned-and-tested outside mirrors further reduce wind and road noise. Even Expedition's tires have been specifically tuned to reduce road noise.

The 2007 Expedition's all-new independent rear suspension (IRS) features a five-link design for better control of fore/aft and lateral load forces. Monotube shocks on all four corners allow for more precise tuning and a better ride. Expedition's second-generation IRS improves upon the segment-leading system introduced in the 2003 Expedition.