Experiencing the Stealth and Timberline

ford expedition Full Overview

Ahead of our drive of the updated 2022 Ford Expedition, Michigan had already received a lot of rain and the weather report called for storms on and off all day. No worries—it was the perfect forecast for a day at an off-road park, prime time for some muddy fun. While the vehicle in question, the 2022 Ford Expedition, a full-size three-row SUV, might not be the first off-road vehicle to come to mind when you think of some muddin’, Ford has been hard at work attempting to inject some adventurousness into its big family mover.

Among the Expedition’s updates for 2022, Ford added a pair of offerings to the lineup: a Stealth Edition Performance Package for a more powerful on-road experience and—more in line with our off-road park antics—the Timberline Edition which is the most capable version for anyone who wants to get a little gnarly off-pavement. Ford SUV marketing manager Craig Patterson says the automaker wanted to create an emotive series to better appeal to its customers. So, we threw some boots on and headed to the Holly Oaks ORV Park north of Detroit in Holly, Michigan, a playground built on former and active sand and gravel mines.

Expedition has been around since the first large SUVs rolled off the line in 1996. Buyers know it as a dependable, capable body-on-frame SUV with lots of room for people and their gear and the ability to tow 9,300 pounds. It’s not exactly known for crawling around trails, at least in stock form. Adding the more capable Timberline series to the Expedition line taps into the $900 billion off-road recreation industry that is growing at a 4.5 percent annual rate, Patterson says. Millennials have become the fastest-growing buyer group and they want experiences and a three-row vehicle to get to that remote campsite and do some kayaking. To that end, Ford introduced the Ford Explorer Timberline for the 2021 model year.

Powering all Expeditions is the high-output 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that generates 440 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.

The Expedition Timberline has a two-speed transfer case, seven-mode Terrain Management System, unique steering calibration, and 10.6 inches of ground clearance on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, which beats the Jeep Wagoneer’s 10.0 inches of ground clearance. This beast also has an impressive 28.5-degree approach angle and a 23.7-degree departure angle.

Playing in the Dirt with the 2022 Ford Expedition Timberline

To better look the part, the Expedition Timberline has orange-colored front hooks to match the orange trim in the cabin. The hooks went unused as we took the Expedition into the off-road park, where it performed better than anticipated, tackling trails and hills we suspect few owners will try. The Expedition navigated narrow cuts and sharp turns where Trail Turn Assist (which debuted on the Ford Bronco) reduced the turning radius substantially, preventing a multipoint turn.

Hill Descent control worked well creeping down steep and rutted paths where the SUV slid into grooves and continued on. The SUV also showed prowess climbing a small hill of sheer rock that would have been a mogul skier’s delight if covered in snow. The Expedition bounced and bounded, but never faltered, even when its long frame twisted and a wheel spun in air. We tested the F-150 Raptor underbody protection multiple times. The front camera was appreciated when it was the only way to see the trail ahead with the hood pointed at the sky.

Not only was the Expedition put through harder paces, but by the time we clambered inside the rain was coming down harder. Even still, there was only one planned steep and sandy hill climb that we had to back out of after the lead Raptor barely made it up.

All in all, the off-road chops of the Expedition are greater than most buyers will ever need and more than adequate for the camping most families will use it for.

Stealth Mode, Expedition Style

For those who seek their thrills on asphalt, there is the Stealth Edition package. We jumped behind the wheel of a rear-wheel-drive 2022 Ford Expedition Limited (base price $65,990) with the $9,880 Stealth Edition package bundled with the panoramic vista roof for a drive through the towns around the off-road park. The Stealth package is only available on Expedition Limited and Limited Max extended wheelbase. With a few other options, as well, the red Limited we drove stickered for $78,650.

The Stealth Package gives the Expedition a more menacing look with a gloss black grille, fascia, mirror caps, ane roof rails, plus a pop of color from the red-painted brake calipers peeking through the 22-inch black aluminum wheels’ spokes.

Inside is an all-black interior with red accent stitching on the doors, dash, steering wheel, and the comfortable black perforated and nicely bolstered seats. Ford thoughtfully added interior trim with an interesting weblike pattern to break up what would otherwise be a sea of black plastic. There is plenty of storage space, including the large and deep cargo bin between the front seats that easily swallows a purse and other items.

The SUV has the same high-output V-6 but with unique brake tuning. Brakes bite harder than expected and can be harsh at times, but they bring the 5,400-pound SUV to a convincing halt.

Power is more than adequate, acceleration is smooth, you can hear and feel the progression through the gears of Ford’s impressive 10-speed automatic transmission. The sound of the powertrain is neither a selling point nor a deterrent: it is not overly sonorous, nor is it whiny or loud and obnoxious. It sounds like an engine getting the job done. And it does not intrude on the relatively quiet cabin.

Noticeable during the city drive is the ability of the suspension to preview the road ahead to dampen the impact accordingly. It performed well, even on Michigan’s notoriously rough pavement.

Ford’s lane-keep assist system is easy to use and it keeps the vehicle from crossing any lanes, but it does ping from side to side in doing so, as opposed to some systems that center the vehicle and keep it there.

Steering is responsive enough, but a sports car this is not. Long gone are the days when driving a vehicle of this size felt like you were driving a school bus. Michigan lacks canyon roads to carve, but the Expedition experienced little body roll on the curvy portions of our route. It is only when taking a turn too fast that you are reminded that this is a very large vehicle. Running boards and grab handles make it easy to climb in and out.

It was about 50 degrees and drizzling during our drive, so the heated steering wheel and seats were activated and quickly offset the cold. The Expedition has the same center touchscreen as the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting: a large tablet with a clever integrated ring for manual volume control.

There is seating for three in the second row and these passengers have power and USB outlets as well as climate controls for fan, temperature, and where the air is directed. The second-row seats are heated on most trims. You can manually slide and tilt the second-row seat forward for access to the third row, or to fold it flat. There are also power controls in the cargo hold to fold the second- and third-row seats flat.

Blue Cruising in the 2022 Ford Expedition Platinum

We also hopped into a top trim Platinum, which is the only Expedition equipped with BlueCruise, Ford’s hands-free driver-assist system for highway driving. Blue Cruise was introduced on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E and F-150 and added to the 2022 Expedition, F-150 Lightning, and the Lincoln Navigator. It is standard on the top-end Expedition but is not an option on any lower trims.

BlueCruise does not have the ability to change lanes on its own yet—a cool feature on GM’s Super Cruise system—but Ford will eventually add the enhancement via an over-the-air update. Having Blue Cruise on top of the rest of Ford’s suite of safety systems gives the Expedition the most driver assist technology in the segment—at least until GM puts Super Cruise into the Chevrolet Tahoe. An interesting feature is Intersection Assist that will alert you and apply brakes if the vehicle detects a potential collision from an oncoming vehicle while you are attempting to turn left.

The Expedition Platinum has a new instrument panel with an available 12.4-inch digital gauge cluster, a standard 12-inch screen with Sync 4 or optional 15.5-inch portrait screen with Sync 4A, and optional 22-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Following the lead of Stellantis, Ford has added Amazon Fire TV for rear-seat passengers.

For the many Expedition owners who tow, the SUV has Pro Trailer Backup Assist 2.0 that no longer requires the owner to input trailer dimensions and put a spotting sticker on the trailer—with the help of cameras everything is now automated. The SUV knows where the trailer is, and the driver can use the backup screen and control knob to perform what can otherwise be a tricky maneuver.

Built at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, KY, the 2022 Expedition is on sale now with its ever-growing number of trim levels. If you want the extra power of the Stealth package or want to try some fairly serious off-roading, Ford now has you covered.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Ford Expedition  Specifications
BASE PRICE $54,415-$80,600 
LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD/4WD, 8-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINES 3.5L/380-hp/470-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6; 3.5L 400-hp/480-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6; 3.5L/440-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION  10-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT 5,350-5,550 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 122.5 in
L x W x H 210.0 x 79.9 x 76.6 in
0-60 MPH 5.8 sec (MT est) 
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15-17/19-23/17-19 mpg  
EPA RANGE, COMB 395 miles

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