Move over minivans: the 2022 Ford Expedition has everything you could ever want in a family vehicle and then some. The next generation of the Ford Expedition is full of updates, including two new editions that improve the capability for both off-road and on-road performance. Kids will be happy to hear the available rear-seat entertainment system is one of the features getting updated, and parents will be happy to get access to the BlueCruise hands-free driving platform. With all of the exciting updates, it’s easy to forget that Ford is in the midst of major shifts in the production of its vehicles as the entire company around the globe is revamping for EV production. Will it include the Expedition anytime soon? That question is addressed later, but first, let’s take a look at what’s shiny and new.
What’s New for the 2022 Expedition
One of the most substantial updates in the entire lineup of 2022 Expeditions has to be the new Timberline Edition. It seems like the entire automotive community is gabbing around the water cooler about the renewed capability of this formidable SUV, which Ford claims is the “most capable off-road SUV in its class,” even going so far as to directly compare some of the 2022 Expedition’s qualities to the Jeep Wagoneer. Boldly, Ford says the new Expedition has the best available ground clearance in its segment at 10.6 inches when compared to the Wagoneer’s 10 inches, and that the Expedition weighs 4 percent less than its Jeep counterpart, which should affect its capability positively. With the improved EcoBoost V6 engine, Ford also states that its horsepower and torque are increased over the Wagoneer. Fighting words from the Blue Oval, but Ford then targets other competition.
In the same media release, Ford tosses down the gauntlet to Chevy with its claims of 900 pounds more towing capacity when outfitted with the 3.5-liter engine and rear-wheel drive, as compared with the Tahoe’s best towing capacity of 8,400 pounds. As a three-row truck-based SUV, the 2022 Expedition certainly has its place as a family vehicle when you consider the interior space for both people and cargo. Ford is now renewing its case for the Expedition as a means for families to get out into the backcountry with the new Timberline, and it’s drawing a line in the sand for its competitors.
Taking from some of the F-150 Raptor’s cues, the Timberline shares in a few elements like the high-strength steel frame and underbody skid plates. Add to that the improved ground clearance and the 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires, and you start to get a picture of what the Timberline could do. Ford provides the Timberline with enhanced shocks and an off-road tuned suspension, though it might be even better to see Fox shocks to absorb the severe drops and bumps in off-road terrain. An electronic locking rear differential is almost old news with so many vehicles coming equipped with that, but it’s appreciated when you don’t have to stop and get out the toolbox.
Better news arrives in the form of approach and departure angles that are improved at 28.5 and 23.7 degrees, respectively. Compare that to the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer approach and departure angles of 25 and 24 degrees. The Expedition looks fairly good in terms of the changes to the front and rear fascia, especially for such a long vehicle. Having a two-speed transfer case for the 4×4 system will allow for hi and low gearing, and the amped-up EcoBoost engine will make 440 hp and a well-rounded 510 lb-ft of torque to handle its bulk as it travels over the trail.
While off-road readiness for family vacations is probably the most exciting improvement for the 2022 Expedition, the Stealth Edition available for Limited and Limited Max trims will get the same EcoBoost engine as the Timberline but fitted with on-road performance parts. A stiffer on-road suspension is sport-tuned for the pavement, perfect for speed on straightaways. When the government needs new fleet vehicles, the blacked-out Stealth Edition will be a perfect choice. All joking aside, the kids are going to love the tech upgrades for the new Amazon Fire TV addition to the available rear-seat entertainment, which they might use to distract themselves while the parents amuse themselves with BlueCruise or the new 15.5-inch tablet available for the infotainment system. Ford is getting much more tech-savvy since it went electric with the Mach E.
The Future of the Expedition: Is It Electric?
Now that Ford has taken the F-150 into fully electric territory with the Lightning, it stands to reason that the Expedition won’t be too far behind. Even though the platform for the Lightning was switched back to the old ladder frame to accommodate the battery packs down low – providing stability from the weight of the batteries – Ford has plans to upgrade platforms for full-sized vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs. No doubt some truck lovers are excited about the idea of the onboard generator that can power your house for three days in an outage and the insane amount of torque that comes from electric motors, but there are also legitimate concerns about going fully electric.
For starters, the driving range is a serious issue. It’s not the number of miles that give people pause, necessarily, but the fact that once you drive those miles, you must plug in and charge before you can drive more. If it were a matter of the same type of convenient few minutes it takes to pump gas, probably more people would be willing to convert to a vehicle that doesn’t burn fossil fuels. Unfortunately, charging takes a long time, and few people can imagine dealing with the inconvenience of a road trip that will require up to an hour of waiting for every few hundred miles you can drive. It doesn’t help matters that an EV is also directly affected by cold weather, and the battery life is adversely affected by how much you’re towing or hauling. The terrain is another factor, and that can significantly reduce the convenience of an EV.
While all these concerns simmer in the background, it looks as though Ford is planning to drop a hybrid Expedition soon since a test vehicle was spotted in Michigan early in the year. Even a hybrid would be a welcome means for saving on fuel costs, but the time of a hybrid release is still to be determined. In the meantime, Ford continues to develop other electric vehicles like an Explorer EV and has made clear its intention to have anywhere from 40-50 percent of the Ford lineup fully converted to electric by 2030.
In its effort to manufacture EVs sustainably, Ford has announced its plan to build what it calls Blue Oval City in West Tennessee, a complex it expects to use for assembly of all its EVs in the US, along with an additional satellite plant in Kentucky to assemble batteries. Both are expected to be online by 2025 as carbon neutral, sustainable facilities, which in itself is an impressive accomplishment.
For now, Ford is playing its cards close to the vest as it rolls out plans for future vehicles that are more capable and powerful than ever before, but the Lightning does make it clear that it’s within Ford’s wheelhouse to pull off a large SUV like the Expedition with a fully electric powertrain. In the meantime, people willing to take the plunge into driving an EV are enjoying the incentives for buying early emission-free vehicles, with tax breaks from the federal government, savings on maintenance with fewer necessary visits to the service center, and savings on fuel. Soon enough, the hybrid Expedition will make its debut, but until that day comes, we can all appreciate the fun of the Timberline.