Hot hybrid to juice up refreshed 2022 Ford Expedition full-size SUV

by Chuck Giametta

2021 Ford Expedition Limited with FX4 Off-Road Package

What changes will make the 2022 Ford Expedition different?

Fresh styling and a 450-horsepower hybrid option should help this full-size SUV answer all-new versions of the archrival Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The biggest changes since its model-year-2018 redesign aim to keep the 2022 Expedition relevant, partly by betting a gas-electric hybrid is a smarter way to boost power and fuel economy booster than the diesel engine available in the General Motors competition.  

Appearance updates will likely concentrate on the nose and tail, leaving the body largely untouched. A revamped dashboard could upgrade to an available 12-inch central infotainment touchscreen. And hybrid versions could offer Ford’s Pro Power Onboard integrated power generator. Expect the ’22 Expedition to return with seating for seven or eight and in regular-length and extended Expedition Max form, both with a choice of rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).

Along with its upscale platform-mate, the Lincoln Navigator, Ford’s biggest passenger vehicle is an old-school sport-utility vehicle. Unlike a crossover SUV, in which body and frame are a unified carlike structure, its body attaches to a separate truck-type frame. This heavier-duty construction suits towing and hauling, but generally can’t match crossovers for ride, handling, or fuel economy. GM’s rivals – Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade — are built that way, too. And their model-year 2021 redesign finally gave them the comfort and packaging efficiencies that come with an independent rear suspension. That means Expedition and Navigator no longer enjoy one advantage that helped make them the superior all-around SUVs.

Should I wait for the 2022 Ford Expedition or buy a 2021?

2021 Expedition Limited

Buy a ’21 if you want a handsome SUV with plenty of room, good performance, and muscle enough to tow 9,300 pounds. The ’21 Expedition has the look and engineering that came with the 2018 redesign, a redo that brought a new body made mostly of weight-saving aluminum and a more powerful yet more fuel-efficient powertrain.

Wait for the 2022 Expedition to get the styling and features that’ll sustain this SUV to its next full redesign, likely for model-year 2024 or ‘25. Appearance changes for ’22 won’t be drastic; expect mostly revisions that’ll strengthen its family resemblance to Ford’s redesigned F-150 pickup truck. Ford would do well to tap the new F-150 for some cabin features, too.

We’d recommend it borrow pickup’s available 12-inch infotainment touchscreen in place of Expedition’s 8-incher, which now seems undersized and outdated. Expedition buyers probably would also appreciate the new F-150’s innovative front-seat worksurface, in which the center-console-mounted gearshift collapses to make way for a flip-out tray perfect for take-out lunch or a 15-inch laptop. Upgrading some of the prosaic plastics and commodity-grade controls that cheapen Expedition’s dashboard would be welcome, as well.  

Most significant, wait for the ’22 if you’re intrigued by the prospect of an Expedition hybrid option. It would team a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with an electric motor and almost certainly be the most powerful and fuel-efficient Expedition. It could be teamed with Ford’s Pro Power Onboard integrated-generator system capable of running a wide range of electrical accessories, from power tools to mini refrigerators.

Expect the 2020 Expedition lineup to again include an entry-level LX trim tailored to fleet and commercial buyers, and retail models returning in XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum grades. All will be available in both regular and Max lengths.

Will 2022 Ford Expedition styling be different?

2021 Expedition Limited

Evolutionary best describes anticipated changes. Figure a revised front end with reshaped headlamps and perhaps greater variety in grille textures to emphasize model-grade differences. Altered taillamp lens and additional model-differentiating brightwork are probably on tap, too. The ’22 XLT should return with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, the Limited with 20s, the King Range and Platinum with 22s. A variety of bright and dark wheel finishes will be available, along with optional sizes for the XLT and Limited. Also back will be various appearance packages, typically adding black-themed trim and wheels.

The regular-length Expedition will again match up with the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Expedition Max with the Suburban and Yukon XL., At about 18.5 feet – enough to test the size of most residential garages — the Max will remain considerably longer than the regular Expedition, by 9.1 inches in wheelbase (the distance between front and rear axle) and some 12 inches overall.

Max will again add about 12 inches to length of regular Expedition (2021 Max shown)

The two ’22 Expedition should again have essentially the same passenger volume, though. The Max will continue to devote most of its extra length to cargo space. Expect 36 cubic feet behind its third-row seat versus the regular Expedition’s 21. With the second row folded the difference should repeat at about 80 cubic feet versus 64, and with both the second and third rows folded it should remain about 121 versus 105. All ’22 Expeditions will again come with a power-folding third-row seat and a power liftgate with separate-opening glass. A power-folding second-row and hands-free liftgate should remain optional on the XLT, standard otherwise.

2021 Expedition regular-length

While the 2022 Expedition and the similarly freshened ’22 Navigator will remain siblings beneath the skin, the Lincoln will almost certainly continue to look and feel far more upscale throughout. The difference has been most pronounced in their cabins, the Navigator boasting world-class materials, the Expedition making do with a multitude of hard plastic panels. More soft-touch surfaces would help the ’22 Expedition match the upgraded interiors of GM’s latest full-size SUVs. Expect the Expedition XLT to again come with cloth upholstery, the Limited with leather, the King Range with logoed Del Rio leather, and the Platinum with sumptuous perforated hides with quilted bolsters complemented by real wood accents and gracefully stitched door and dash trim.

2021 Expedition Limited

This big Ford will again be difficult to beat for passenger room. All but the King Ranch should return with seating for eight. Two second-row buckets would remain standard on the King Ranch and optional for the other models, at around $600. All second-row seats slide, all seatbacks recline. There are latches for up to five child safety seats.

2021 Expedition Limited

It’ll again be a decidedly tall step into the interior, so you’ll make liberal use of the grab handles and standard running boards (likely to again be power deployable on all but the XLT). Once aboard there’s stretch-out space on substantial seats in the first two rows.

2021 Expedition third-row seat

The third row is a challenge to reach but reasonably accommodating for adults. There’s surprisingly good legroom although the tradeoff for a seat cushion that isn’t uncomfortably low to the floor is tight headroom for those over 5-foot-6. GM touts the improved third-row accommodations in its redesigned Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac SUVs, but we’d argue Expedition and Navigator, along with the Toyota Sequoia, maintain the edge in third-row room and comfort.

Any 2022 Ford Expedition mechanical changes?

’22 Expedition likely to offer Ford’s new PowerBoost hybrid powertrain

Yes, the hybrid. It would almost certainly borrow from the new F-150 a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 supplemented by an electric motor. Ford calls it the PowerBoost Hybrid V-6. It would be an option to Expedition’s returning engine and be significantly more powerful, with an estimated 450 horsepower and more than 500 pound-feet of torque. It could increase trailering capability by several hundred pounds, to more than 10,000 pounds. And it’d be more fuel-efficient than the gas-only powertrain, helping the ’22 Expedition answer the high-mileage turbodiesel inline-six-cylinder engine (277 horsepower and 480pound-feet of torque) available in the redesigned Chevy and GMC rivals.

Like all ’22 Expeditions, the hybrid would use a 10-speed automatic transmission. It would employ regenerative braking and coasting to recharge its onboard lithium-ion battery pack. Engineers would aim to package the battery so as not to compromise passenger and cargo space. As in the new F-150, the hybrid could be made available with Ford’s Pro Power Onboard integrated-generator system with 120- and 240-volt cargo-area outlets capable of supplying electricity to camping, party, and work-tool accessories. On the F-150, the PowerBoost Hybrid V-6 is available across most of the lineup. Which Expedition grades would offer it remains to be seen. It probably would cost about $2,500, with Pro Power a separate option.   

Returning as the 2022 Expedition’s base engine will remain a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 from Ford’s EcoBoost engine family. It’s likely the XL, XLT, Limited, and King Ranch would again have 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque and the Platinum would again get 400 horses and 480 pound-feet. However, If Ford believes it could further harsh GM’s new-SUV buzz, it could make the 400-horsepower version standard for ’22 and elevate the Platinum to the 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet this V-6 makes in the Navigator.

2021 Expedition Limited

Even with the hybrid, the ‘22 Expedition will continue to go it alone in a class where every rival comes with a V-8. So it’s a good thing the EcoBoost 3.5 would again give up little performance to any rival V-8. The Platinum’s version feels a bit more responsive than the base iteration, though neither furnishes the unabated thrust of the Navigator’s rendition. Still, abetted by the quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, and with more torque than any direct-rival V-8, any ’22 Expedition should easily satisfy every acceleration challenge. And weight savings associated with the aluminum body help it achieve segment-leading tow ratings for gas engines: 9,300 pounds for the regular-length, 9,000 for the Max.   

Expect every ’22 Expedition to return with Normal, Economy, Sport, and Tow/Haul drivetrain modes. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, all-wheel drive optional at around $3,000. That’s a little pricey, but this should again be a comprehensive setup with low-range gearing, a locking rear differential, and driver-selected settings for mud, ruts, grass, gravel, snow, and sand. The FX4 Off-Road package would again add low-range 4WD gearing, seven underbody skid plates, special gearing, off-road-tuned shock absorbers, and other heavy-duty enhancements, but retain the standard 9.8 inches of ground clearance. For 2021, the FX4 package was available on regular and Max XLT and Limited models at $1,650.

FX4 Off-Road Package includes low-range gearing

No vehicle so big – even the regular Expedition is about 17 feet long, 6.5-feet tall, and weighs nearly 3 tons — is agile. Body lean and noseplow become pronounced if you rush into a turn. But there’s no reason to suspect this SUV won’t continue to be sure-footed and balanced enough to corner confidently at any reasonable speed. The steering should remain nicely weighted, natural, and progressive, although in our tests we could detect some squirm from the slightly knobbier FX4 package’s tires.

Ride quality will again be best – and unruffled by anything short of a sinkhole — with the 18-inch wheels and relatively tall-sidewall tires. Bump absorbency tends to suffer with the larger wheels and tires, but never gets punishing. A suspension that automatically adjusts to road conditions should return as an option on the Limited and standard on the King Ranch and Platinum. Called, Continuously Controlled Damping, it works subtly to maximize comfort and composure.              

Will 2022 Ford Expedition fuel economy improve?

2021 Expedition Limited

Yes, thanks to the hybrid. EPA ratings were of course not released in time for this review, but we’ll venture a rough estimate of 22/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive, 21/24/20 with AWD, and an overall range of around 700 miles between fill-ups. Those sorts of ratings would build on Expedition’s standing as the most fuel-efficient entry in this admittedly thirsty class.

Among returning gas-only models, expect regular-length ’22 Expeditions to rate around 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive and 17/22/19 with AWD. Look for every 2022 Expedition Max to rate the same 17/23/19 with rear drive and 16/21/18 mpg with AWD. Ford should continue to recommend 87-octane gas for all ’22 Expeditions.

Will the 2022 Ford Expedition have new features?

’22 Expedition could get fold-out front-seat work surface from new F-150

Along with possible connectivity upgrades, look for expanded safety technology as standard or optional. Every ’22 Expedition will return with autonomous emergency braking that can stop the SUV to avoid a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian Also included will be blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, lane-maintaining automatic steering correction, and automatic highbeam headlamps.

For model-year 2021, adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead, even in stop-and-go driving, was optional on the XLT and standard above that.  remained an option for the 2020 Limited and was unavailable on the XLT. Other manufacturers make this feature standard on far less expensive vehicles, and we believe Ford ought to include it on every version of a family-oriented SUV such as the 2022 Expedition.

Ford should, though, bolster Expedition’s safety equipment with features introduced for the redesigned F-150. On the agenda would be Active Drive Assist, which allows hand-free driving on sections of pre-mapped highways. An onboard camera tracks the driver’s eyes, insuring attention on the road. Also new would be Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic and applies the brakes to thwart an unsafe turn. Active Park Assist 2.0 is coming, too. It builds on Expedition’s already-available hands-free parking system by assuming all steering, shifting, braking, and accelerator control during parallel or perpendicular parking while the driver merely holds down a button.

’22 Expedition could offer the new F-150’s 12-inch touchscreen

The reconfigured dashboard would probably include enhanced digital gauges but could retain the central 8-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, with the 10-inch optional on lower trims and included with the King Ranch and/or Platinum. Also in the pipeline is an upgrade from Sync 3 to the automaker’s Sync 4 infotainment interface with double the computing power.

In addition to those already mentioned, standard features on every ’22 Expedition will again include a power driver’s seat with power lumbar, remote keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, 15 beverage holders, WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four 12-volt power points, automatic highbeam headlamps, fog lamps, and power heated side mirrors with security approach lamps.

The ’22 Limited should again add to the XLT such standard features as ambient cabin lighting, power-adjustable pedals with memory, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, automatic-folding mirrors with memory and auto-dimming, rain-sensing wipers, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Many of these features should again be optionally available for the XLT. Expect both the ’22 XLT and Limited to offer a panoramic moonroof, at around $1,475.        

Expedition panoramic moonroof

The 2022 Expedition Eddie Bauer should again include all the above, plus Active Park Assist, LED headlamps and foglamps, and a surround-view camera. Expect most Eddie Bauer equipment – sans its specific logos and trim – to again be optionally available for the Limited.

The ’22 Platinum will include all this, plus its own exterior and interior trim and upholstery, multicontour massaging front seats, and active noise control.

While Ford’s adept Sync 4 interface for mobile devices will be included on every ’22 Expedition, to ensure real-time GPS mapping in the absence of a cell signal you’ll need the imbedded navigation system. Expect it to remain standard on the King Ranch and Platinum and optional for the Limited within several packages.

A dual-headrest-screen rear entertainment system should return as an option for all ’22 Expeditions. Also available across the board will be a heavy-duty tow package with an electronic limited slip rear differential, special axle ratio, integrated trailer-brake controller, heavy-duty radiator, and Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

How will 2022 Ford Expedition prices be different?

2021 Expedition Limited

They’ll increase. How much depends on a variety of factors, including competition from the redesign GM SUVs and maybe even Ford’s need to recoup sales lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In any event, the ’22 Expedition will remain competitively priced. Most buyers opt for a regular-length model with AWD. With that, the XLT should again account for about 26 percent of Expedition sales and start around $59,500. (Estimated base prices here include Ford’s destination fee, which was $1,695 for the 2020 Expedition.)

About half of ’22 Expedition buyers should again choose a Limited; look for it to be priced from around $70,000 with AWD. Estimated base price for the ’22 King Ranch (5 percent of sales) is $79,300 with AWD. Expect the ’22 Expedition Platinum AWD to start around $80,300.

For Max versions, anticipate adding around $3,000 to these estimated base prices. For rear-wheel drive, subtract around $3,000.

When will the 2022 Ford Expedition come out?

2021 Expedition Limited

Look for a 2022 Ford Expedition release date during the second half of 2021.

Best 2022 Ford Expedition competitors

Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Toyota Sequoia

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]