2013 Chevrolet Suburban vs. 2013 Ford Expedition

By Teddy Field

Let’s say that you live in a really nice neighborhood, have several teenagers, and your ‘toys’ require a tow hitch. How about your own motorized County? Or, perhaps you think smartphones are stupid, and long for a simple truck that just does ‘truck things’. You can check on movies times and the weather when you get home. Well, if either of those descriptions sound familiar, then have we got two Road Monsters for you.

Designed to run on coal during the Taft Administration, the 2013 Chevy Suburban offers everything that a well-heeled ranch owner needs. The 2013 Ford Expedition EL on the other hand, is the spiritual successor to the late Ford Excursion. A vehicle hated by everybody from Greenpeace to the NAACP. They said it was too big and thirsty, but it was unquestionably useful. So how does Ford’s old-school new comer compare to Chevy’s J.R. Ewing-mobile? Let’s find out…

2013 Ford Expedition EL

When you buy a 2013 Ford Expedition EL, the state doesn’t give you a tag number, they give you a zipcode. To say this thing is big, is the understatement of the century. You could park a Prius behind the power-folding 3rd row, then rent out the rest of the truck as a two-family duplex. It’s got seating for 8 Adults, with plenty of room for their luggage (42 cu-ft behind 3rd row / 130 cu-ft with all seats folded). The vast interior capacity is one of its biggest selling points, yet it manages to be blindingly easy to drive. Granted, parking the thing takes some practice. But overall, the average soccer mom will have no problem wilding this beast around the Costco parking lot (it comes with power-adjustable pedals, and side mirrors the size of Vermont.

2013 Ford Expedition

On the inside, you get the Best Hits of the 90’s, with simple green-lit gauges, hard-touch everything, fake woodgrain trim, and a cigarette lighter. An old-school touchscreen nav system is available if you need it. But most buyers would probably rather use their dog-eared Rand McNally atlas, to the mind-boggling MyFord Touch system.

Under the hood, the 2013 Ford Expedition EL uses Ford’s tried-and-true Triton 5.4L V8, which produces 310-hp, with 365 ft-lb of twist. There’s a modern-ish 6-speed automatic, but this motorized duplex isn’t what you’d call fast. Tromp the Go-Pedal and you’re treated to a fantastic V8 exhaust note. The scenery will flash past at an acceptable rated of velocity, but hitching up to anything approaching the EL’s 9,200 lb capacity (when equipped with 4wd) will surely slow forward progress.

2013 Ford Expedition

Overall, the 2013 Ford Expedition EL is a fantastic vehicle if you have a big family and big toys. Plus, you won’t have to break out the owner’s manual to figure out how to adjust the air conditioner.

2013 Chevrolet Suburban

2013 Chevrolet Suburban

If this were a beauty contest, the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban would win hands down. The angry front end blends with the chrome lined side profile, to create a truck that exudes presence. If you want to make a statement without shouting, this Chevy Suburban is for you.

2013 Chevrolet Suburban

The inside of the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban is filled with fake wood trim, and cheap hard plastic, just like the EL. The design and layout of the interior is much more pleasant, and there’s actually more cargo room with 45 cu-ft behind the 3rd row, and 137 cu-ft behind the front thrones. And the towing capacity of the 2013 Chevy Suburban is also slightly more than the big Ford’s at 9,600 lbs.

2013 Chevrolet Suburban

On the road, the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban is easy to manage, and the old-school 5.3L Vortec V8 pumps out an adequate 320-hp & 335 lb-ft. While both trucks may seem a bit underpowered by today’s standards, they both have sufficient power for their intended duties. And it won’t take an MIT degree to service them either. Just gas, oil, and the occasional spark plug. Since most owners keep their trucks for many years, such simplicity will be appreciated.


If you value volume over vanity, then the 2013 Ford Expedition EL is for you. Otherwise, go for the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban. It’s got similar abilities, with a much higher cool-factor (remember, the Secret Service uses these things).

<strong>Car Comparison: 2013 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 vs. </strong><strong>2013 Ford Expedition EL</strong><br />

SPECIFICATION2013 Chevrolet Suburban 15002013 Ford Expedition EL
Fuel Economy15/21/17 5.3L / 2WD14/20 5.4L
15/21/17 5.3L / 4WD 
Suburban Snob Factor10 / 10 Camrys9 / 10 Camrys
NHTSA RankingTop Safety Pick = N/ATop Safety Pick = N/A
NHTSA Ranking4 / 5 Stars4 / 5 Stars

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Chevrolet and Ford.)