I need your help. We are adding a larger vehicle to suit our needs better. The kids are getting bigger. Who saw that coming? We quit feeding them years ago. This is a joke.

The Contenders

I am looking at a 2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ that lived the first part of its life in New Mexico as a rental vehicle and the second part of its life in Mississippi.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ

The second vehicle is a 2014 Ford Expedition EL Limited that lived all of its life in Nebraska. It also had two owners, and the second owner put 60,000 miles on it since February 2018. Damn. The previous owner replaced the spark plugs at 65,000 miles.

2014 Ford Expedition EL Limited

The Suburban has 148,938 miles and the Ford has 121,225 miles.


The Chevy has the 5.3L V8 that makes 320 hp and 335 ft-lbs. The Ford has the 5.4L three-valve V8 and produces 310 hp and 365 ft-lbs.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ Engine

Peak horsepower and torque are 400 RPMs lower in the Ford. I’ve heard arguments that both of these engines are not great. The 3-valve Ford has issues with spark plugs breaking off, and the 5.3L V8 in the Chevy has some reliability issues. I work at a construction company, and two of the guys there have had oiling issues with their 5.3s. One threw a rod, and the other traded his truck before anything catastrophic could happen. *shrug emoji*

2014 Ford Expedition EL Limited Engine


The Expedition EL is shorter for overall length, but it is an inch taller. There is seating for seven in Expedition EL and the possibility of purchasing the second-row “jump seat” and installing it to make the truck an eight-seater. Both the rear bucket seats are heated. The front seats are heated and cooled.

The Suburban is longer and has three more cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third-row seat. It has the full second row and cannot be converted to buckets without replacing a large portion of the back seat. The outside positions of the second-row are heated too. The front seats are also heated and cooled. The steering wheel can be heated too.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ Second Row


Both vehicles come with navigation packages. Ford brings an early version of SYNC, and the Chevy is old enough that it is not even Cue. The Ford has DVD players in the driver and front passenger headrest, but I don’t know that we could scrape together five DVDs that more than one kid would want to watch. They are more concerned about power outlet availability. The Ford has a 12V in the front, one on the back of the center console, and a 110V AC outlet there too. There’s an outlet in the trunk of the Expedition, but it is so far from the third row that the kids will need a five-foot charging cable to use it.

2014 Ford Expedition EL Limited interior

However, the Suburban does not have DVD players, so the kids would be stuck with the two removable units that we own. These attach to the headrests. Again, we took them on our trip to Colorado last summer, and even though they were on, I don’t think more than one or two kids watched them. The Chevy has two 12V outlets for the driver and front passenger, a 12V for the second row, and another 12V in the trunk about the same distance away as the Ford.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ interior

Both vehicles have the driver memory settings, so my wife and I can easily switch on and off using the vehicle as the family bus.

This generation of Suburban is known for having some wonkiness to its Ride Control suspension system. I haven’t heard anything about the Expedition’s system, but I could have missed something.

Which one?

I have thought about this too much. I can’t tell which one will be the more reliable family hauler. The Suburban’s price allows for a little room just in case something goes wrong. However, it looks like the Expedition might suit our needs better and will enable us to expand to an eight-seater in the future.

What do you all think?