by Jay Traugott
It wasn't so many years ago when full-size SUVs like the Ford Expedition were placed on the endangered species list. Americans suddenly desired smaller, more economical cars like the now-dead Fiesta and Focus. Times change. Gas prices dropped (again) and the SUV and truck craze is stronger than ever with no signs of slowing down.
The first generation Expedition appeared in 1997 and its most recent complete redesign debuted for 2018. And now it's time for the fourth-gen's mid-life refresh. Introducing the 2022 Ford Expedition with more off-roading capabilities, a slick new Stealth Package, and a longer list of available driver-assist features.
Ford's marketing data indicated that millennials are the fastest-growing demographic for the full-size SUV segment. The facelifted Expedition had to respond. Today's buyers have a number of requirements, among them luxury, technology, and adventure-oriented features. The 2022 Expedition aims to deliver on all fronts.
This is a mid-cycle refresh, so the Expedition's overall styling is not dramatically different. But there are some attractive updates, thanks in part to two new trims: Timberline and the Stealth Edition Performance Package. Familiar trims like the base XL, King Ranch, and the luxurious Premium return as well. The Timberline is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts (and the Jeep Wagoneer) with a best-in-class ground clearance of 10.6-inches. Ford also gave it the F-150 Raptor's underbody protection. Other features include orange body accents, 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires, and the Bronco's Trail Turn Assist system.
Offered to Expedition Platinum buyers, the Stealth performance pack is exactly that: enhanced styling with a gloss-black grille, mirror caps, roof rails, running boards, rear bumper skid plate, and red brake calipers parked behind 22-inch black wheels. It also has a sport-tuned suspension. Like the Timberline, it comes with standard LED headlights and taillights, and new wheel designs.
Ford says the new trims bring more "personality and design distinction" to the refreshed Expedition lineup. Basically, there's something for everyone.
Like the exterior, Ford refined the Expedition's interior but stopped short of a complete redesign. All trims come standard with the Sync 4 infotainment system contained within a 12-inch touchscreen. The optional Sync 4A system receives a 15.5-inch high-definition display. A 12.4-inch digital driver's gauge cluster with Expedition-specific graphics and animations is also optional.
A 22-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system is optional on King Ranch, Platinum Stealth, and Timberline trims. Those into high-tech will want the Platinum because it's the only model offered with Ford's hands-free Blue Cruise Level 2 driver-assist technology. Like GM's Super Cruise, it works on around 100,000 miles of roads throughout North America. Think of it as a more advanced version of adaptive cruise control capable of lane centering and speed recognition. Rear seat passengers now have an Amazon Fire TV-equipped entertainment system.
Like every previous Expedition, the newest model comes standard with two rows of seating and a third-row power-folding bench is optional.
The 2022 Expedition comes with only one engine option: the familiar 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, good for 440 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission routes power to either the rear or all four wheels. Remember, the Expedition is a traditional body-on-frame SUV and not a crossover. Among other things, this means it has some serious towing capabilities. Ford claims a maximum towing capacity of 9,300 pounds when equipped with the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package.
Some additional standard and optional safety and driver-assist features include Road Edge Detection, Intersection Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, and an Active Air Dam that improves aerodynamics at various speeds. Ford promises these systems will be kept updated thanks to over-the-air updates.
Ford has not announced final pricing at this time but promises production will get underway at its Louisville, Kentucky plant in early 2022. The outgoing model begins at just under $50,000 while the fully-loaded Platinum rings in at about $75,000. We don't expect these figures to change much.
Ford couldn't have launched the refreshed 2022 Expedition at a better time; the all-new Jeep Wagoneer has arrived and promises to be a tough rival. The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon corporate cousins still remain formidable foes, but the Expedition does now offer slightly better towing capacity. If you're dead set on three rows of seats, there's the Dodge Durango and Honda Pilot, though neither have a body-on-frame chassis. The Expedition's more luxurious relative, the Lincoln Navigator, is also expected to be updated in the near future.
Ford knew not to mess too much with a good thing. Demand for the outgoing Expedition was exceptionally high the moment it went on sale. We don't see any reason why that will change for 2022 and beyond.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Ford Expedition: