Engineering Ford’s Jumbo SUV for Off-Roading

The Expedition Timberline is more than just big tires and skid plates, as chief engineer Mike Kipley explains.

Ford research shows more than one-third of Expedition customers go off-road. And almost 30% say true off-road capability is a must-have, noted chief engineer Mike Kipley. (Ford)

Rollicking hills, rocky ravines and water fording are among the lures of off-roading, and they formed the engineering bogies for the newest edition of Ford’s largest SUV. “Expedition Timberline brings the most off-road capability ever to the nameplate,” said Mike Kipley, chief engineer of the 2022 Expedition. Ford unveiled the vehicle at the Motor Bella event in Pontiac, Michigan.

Expedition Timberline picks up the heavy-duty underbody skid plate from Bronco. (Ford)
Expedition Timberline rides on special 18-in wheels shod with 33-in all-terrain tires. (Ford)

Timberline climbs and descends with improved approach and departure angles (28.5 degrees and 23.7 degrees, respectively), and a wider track. Changes to make this jumbo SUV off-road capable (the base Expedition is 201 in./5334-mm long, with a curb weight of 5368 lb./2435 kg) include a 2-speed transfer case with standard intelligent four-wheel drive, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, and unique 18-in. wheels fitted with 33-in. Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires.

“Ride height increases one inch, enabling best-in-class ground clearance of 10.6-in, plus there’s underbody skid plate protection, including the same front skid plate as the Ford F-150 Raptor,” Kipley told SAE Media. He noted that, by comparison, the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer claims 10.0-in of ground clearance with an air suspension. Timberline offers Trail Turn Assist, first deployed on the 2021 Bronco, for better maneuverability in tight off-road situations. The system uses torque vectoring and the vehicle’s brakes to shorten the turning radius.

Refreshed for 2022, Ford’s biggest SUV remains non-electrified, although some had predicted that the 2022 Expedition might get the twin-turbocharged 3.5-L PowerBoost full hybrid V6 powertrain that’s available in the F-150. “We continue to look at electrifying our entire portfolio,” said Kipley. “For now, our combination of V6 fuel economy and best-in-class [SAE certified] 440 hp and 510 lb-ft from our high-output 3.5-L EcoBoost [in the sporty Stealth Edition Expedition] is the best solution for this segment,” he reasoned.

The refreshed ’22 Ford Expedition has a standard 12-in. touchscreen or an available 15.5-in. portrait-oriented display. (Ford)

The aluminum-bodied Expedition’s exterior changes include all-new LED headlamps with light guide technology, as well as updated tail-lamps, new wheel choices, and new front and rear fascias. The cabin features new instrument panels with a 12-in. landscape touchscreen standard and an available 15.5-in. portrait-oriented touchscreen interfacing with SYNC 4 or the optional SYNC 4A communications and entertainment system.

2022 Expedition Limited and Limited Max can be fitted with the new Stealth Edition Performance package that provides a sport-tuned suspension, unique exterior trim and 22-in black aluminum wheels. (Ford)

Connected vehicle technology includes over-the-air Ford Power-Up software. The enhanced rear seat entertainment system enables video streaming and onboard downloading to high-definition touchscreens with 16 gigabytes of storage.

Driver-assist technologies on the 2022 Expedition include road edge detection, intersection assist, reverse brake assist, and evasive steering assist. Expedition Platinum provides Ford’s BlueCruise, a hands-free driver assist technology compatible with prequalified sections of divided highway.