Introduced in 1999 as a 2000 model year, the Excursion was immediately criticized for being too large to fit in most home garages and its poor fuel economy (around 12mpg-US (20L/100km; 14mpg-imp)-14mpg-US (17L/100km; 17mpg-imp) highway, 8mpg-US (29L/100km; 9.6mpg-imp) city, and 10mpg-US (24L/100km; 12mpg-imp)-11mpg-US (21L/100km; 13mpg-imp) combined highway and city) relative to the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, its chief competitors . Shortly before launch, the Sierra Club awarded the Excursion an "Exxon Valdez" award for this reason, in reference to the ill-fated oil tanker. Sales were initially good, but slowed as gasoline prices rose. In 2003, the 7.3 L Powerstroke diesel was replaced with a more powerful, 6.0 L Powerstroke diesel, giving 0 to 60mph times of under 10 seconds with reduced noise levels. Industry insiders expected Ford to stop producing the Excursion, but sales continued through the 2005 model year, for which it received a minor facelift, and production of the Excursion ended in September 2005.
Ford needed to free up capacity at the Louisville plant that produces the Super Duty pickup trucks. A more fuel efficient, extended-length Expedition, named the Expedition EL (Max in Canada and Mexico), has replaced the Excursion in the company's lineup for the 2007 model year.
A 4-speed automatic transmission was standard, a 5-speed automatic introduced in 2003, which also saw the availability of an upmarket Eddie Bauer trim line. The grille was updated for 2005. The 5.4L Modular V8 puts out 255hp (190kW) & 350lb·ft (475N·m). The 6.8L Modular V10 puts out 310hp (231kW) & 425lb·ft (576N·m). The 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel puts out 325hp (242kW) & 560lb·ft (759N·m).
The truck uses code U4 in the 5th and 6th positions of the VIN.
Engines included the following:
- 5.4L V8, 255hp (2000-2005)
- 6.8L V10, 310hp (2000-2005)
- 7.3L Diesel V8, 250hp (2000-2003)
- 6.0L Diesel V8, 325hp (2003-2005)
The Excursion included a unique feature called the "BlockerBeam", which was an under-bumper rollbar-like device that helped stop smaller vehicles from sliding under an Excursion during collisions. The BlockerBeam concept is now widely used in the industry.