Ford’s massive, burly flagship SUV isn’t any greater however considerably burlier for 2022. Two new trim ranges have been added for the 2022 Ford Expedition as a part of a mid-cycle replace that included some inside and exterior styling tweaks, revised engine tuning that delivers extra energy in greater trims, a brand new infotainment setup and an expanded rear-seat leisure package deal that integrates Amazon Alexa performance into the Expedition’s current suite.
The cabin sees the largest transformation, as that is the primary time in Expedition historical past that the full-size doesn’t share its sprint design with the F-150 (though to be persnickety, it is shared with the Lightning). The Expedition’s new sprint sits decrease and wider, housing a typical 12-inch Sync4 infotainment display screen or the non-obligatory 15-inch Sync4A unit discovered within the Mustang Mach-E. There’s additionally an obtainable 22-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and BlueCruise hands-free freeway driving help, though that is solely obtainable on the Platinum trim for now. A brand new “Stealth” package deal obtainable on a number of trims conveys a road efficiency vibe, and when paired with the obtainable 440-horsepower EcoBoost V6 it does a convincing impression of an Expedition ST, even when not in identify.
There’s additionally the 2022 Ford Expedition Timberline, which shares that punchier V6 and pairs it to quite a lot of off-road gildings, and that’s what Ford invited us to Holly Oaks ORV Park in southeastern Michigan to drive. Following within the footsteps of the Explorer Timberline, the Expedition of the identical selection borrows a couple of tips from a few of Ford’s current off-roaders, together with underbody skid safety from the F-150 Raptor and the Path Flip Help characteristic that first made headlines when Ford demonstrated it on an early Bronco prototype. It’s a useful characteristic on tight trails, even on Ford’s smallest 4×4.
However the Expedition is just not small. Actually, even a few of the pleasantly forgiving trails at Holly Oaks supply up tight switchbacks that may’t be negotiated in something longer than a two-door Bronco or Jeep Wrangler with out resorting to a three-point flip. In these cases, Path Flip Help has a shot at being upgraded from gimmick to “gotta have it,” offered in fact that it really works, which it basically does. And I don’t simply imply on paper; I’ve used it earlier than. However as my progress at Holly rapidly confirmed, simply because one thing features doesn’t essentially imply it features effectively — or each single time.
Earlier than I clarify its shortcomings, it’s necessary that you simply perceive how Path Flip Help works. It’s a brake-based trick that drags the within rear wheel in tight turns to make the automotive pivot round it, slightly than rolling by means of the flip in its pure — and naturally a lot bigger — turning radius. The braking half is dealt with completely by the pc; the half the place you carry out an ideal pirouette round that stationary tire is on you. Naturally, your outcomes could range.
However earlier than you get to that half, it is advisable flip it on. To take action, you click on the little Expedition portrait within the higher left nook of that new infotainment display screen. This menu shows your less-often-used options — you already know, those that was discovered on buttons, in all probability down the place the sprint met the console. You already know, those with icons possible obscured by moldy Rice Chex and lint that may not truly be lint. Is that purple?
Anyway, again to the Expedition. Now that the characteristic is enabled, it lies dormant till you method a nook and apply full steering lock. When you’ve bought the wheel up towards the cease, you’ll hear the ABS system seize the within rear wheel for expensive life. That is your sign to get on the throttle and belief the pc to do the remaining. And in a Bronco, hey, no massive deal. It’s a compact 4×4 that’s comparatively simple to reign in if issues get bizarre. However this is not a Bronco, is it?
No certainly. The Expedition Timberline is 17.5 toes lengthy and weighs north of 5,500 kilos. That’s numerous SUV, and I’m working with numerous energy (440 horses) and numerous torque (510 pound-feet). That’s 950 methods for me to screw this up, and Path Flip Help is simply that — help. It could actually’t cease me from over-, under- or in any other case mis-driving this nook. Being me, I instantly checked off all three bins.
Foolishly believing Ford would by no means ask us to attempt a characteristic except it was assured to work, I eased as much as the primary switchback, hauled the wheel over to the left and squeezed gently and progressively onto the throttle. The fitting rear wheel dutifully responded, digging laborious into the smooth filth — a bit too smooth, because it turned out. Gentle sufficient, the truth is, that braking the within rear wheel didn’t truly preserve it stationary; it was merely alongside for the experience.
Aggressive throttle helped the Expedition discover filth it may seize onto, however by that time I used to be hopelessly off-line for the laborious left-hander. Defeated, I unwound the wheel to ship Path Flip Help again to sleep and completed the maneuver with a fast three-pointer. Lesson discovered: a instrument is just as efficient because the craftsman who wields it. When the subsequent alternative arose, I knew what I used to be moving into and managed to Goldilocks the ability supply and execute the maneuver in a single shot. See? It does work. You’re welcome, Ford.
The remainder of my jaunt by means of Holly’s poison-ivy-lined gravel pit proved comparatively uneventful. Take that as reward if you’ll — it’s definitely not meant to be criticism — however it gave me loads of time to ponder the package deal in entrance of me.
Whereas it’s laborious to fault Ford for chasing the identical nominally outdoorsy clients as different producers, I’ve a tough time envisioning the client who seems to be on the Expedition Timberline’s spec sheet and says, “That’s precisely what I want.” If you happen to’re one of many seven folks on Earth who actually, actually love their Expeditions and are simply sick and uninterested in having to restore underbody injury from an unmaintained, boulder-ridden driveway or path to an off-asphalt vacation spot, man, has Ford bought the truck for you.
Can it go off-road? Positive. Does it achieve this in addition to (or higher than) another equivalently priced 18-foot monstrosity? Yeah, in all probability. Is it thrilling? Good God, no. It’s an Expedition — an 18-foot daycare bus with sufficient latte capability to serve a whole PTA. Simply admit you just like the burly tires and the little orange stripe on the entrance. You don’t have to faux it’s essential to spend $85,000 on an SUV with off-road tires to get round that one kink in your lake home’s filth driveway. Plus, no one shall be impressed by your shiny new truck for those who plow it sideways right into a Sycamore making an attempt to appear to be Ken Block. Go away these shenanigans to the Bronco crowd.
After the off-road tour (little “e”), I hopped into the one non-Timberline mannequin I may get my fingers on — a Restricted, because it turned out — for an hour-long loop across the rural and far-suburban enclaves surrounding the little city of Holly, permitting me to get a really feel for the up to date inside in the true world. The 15-inch model of Ford’s up to date infotainment runs Sync 4A (in distinction to the usual Sync 4 that powers the smaller display screen) — the identical interface whose depths I needed to plumb to find the hidden off-road options within the Timberline.
Merely put, I favored it higher off highway, the place I had extra time to peruse every web page searching for what I wanted. It’s one factor to sit down for a minute or two on a mud path pondering numerous non-obligatory gimmicks and devices; it’s one other to be in 50-mph site visitors with the odor of skunk seeping into your garments as you attempt to keep in mind which sub-menu is hiding the “recirculate” button. Other than the training curve, nevertheless, I had no different complaints.
Timberline is a life-style look package deal with simply sufficient underlying operate to legitimize it. It doesn’t should be aggressive with anything off-road, strictly talking. It simply must look the way in which it seems to be and are available outfitted with the identical massive, dangerous engine provided within the Expedition’s different top-dog trims. By these measures, it’s a house run.
I wasn’t in a position to pattern the Expedition Platinum with its commonplace BlueCruise, nor the brand new B&O audio system, so keep tuned as these enter wider circulation and we have now the chance to spend extra time with them. Within the meantime, relaxation assured that the 2022 updates do nothing to decrease the Expedition’s competence as a mega family-hauler. Choosing the (higher, in our opinion) long-wheelbase Max mannequin will lock you out of Timberline, however hey, have been you actually going to make use of it anyway?