Tag Archives: full-size SUV

2022 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

Expedition proves big is in for size, and price …

Remember when buying a large SUV didn’t cost as much as your first or second house?

Then again, your house didn’t have smart cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera, or even a fancy Bang & Olufsen stereo with 22 speakers. Heck, most of us used to be happy with a couple big boxy speakers and a receiver with bass and treble controls.

Well, times are changing fast and big is definitely viewed as both better and necessary by many vehicle buyers today, despite the increased cost of gasoline. To meet that demand Ford has refurbished its large Expedition SUV and like every other maker has slathered on so much luxury that it rides like a living room atop velvet wheels.

The tested Expedition Limited 4×4 added a whopping $13,960 worth of options to the full-size off-roader already gussied up in its mid-level trim that starts at $69,040, including delivery. So this handsome blue-gray, Blue Tinted Clearcoat ($395 extra), hit $83,000 on the nose. My second home was only slightly more and did come with a ½-acre lot. Hey, it was a few decades ago!

Beyond the size and cost, and note there are three trims costing more, plus an Expedition Max that’s nearly a foot longer, the Expedition is a pleasant highway cruiser. That’s because it’s loaded with luxury and seven drive modes allowing a driver to take it off road or at least splash through mud and slush with the ultimate authority.

I enjoyed the body-on-frame truck, and you would too on a long highway jaunt as the interior is quiet, the leather seats well cushioned and shaped, plus the handling easy, if vague. In fact, there’s barely any road feedback yet still the big brawler is easy to corral in a lane.

Oh, there’s body lean in a tight turn, but there’s no Sport in this Sport-Utility truck, outside of the Sport drive mode you can dial in to firm the wheel, but still it only feels heavier, not sportier or more responsive. Other modes include Normal, Eco, Mud/Rut, Sand, Slippery, and Tow/Haul. There’s also a Pro Trailer setting for easier backing up with a trailer, presumably hauling a high-powered cigarette boat.

Power is not a concern, despite the disappearance of Ford V8s. No, the twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine normally creates 325 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. But the test unit added the $9,880 option package that includes both a huge panoramic power sunroof and to the power point, an upgraded 440-horse version of the same engine. It also included a sport-tuned suspension, black painted aluminum wheels and a bunch more (see the stat box).

Towing? Yes, it’ll pull 9,300 pounds.

Shifting comes from a silky smooth 10-speed automatic and despite the sport suspension the Expedition’s ride is boulevard premium. Think old Caddy, Lincoln, or Buick sedan in their hay day.

Inside the Expedition is lined with black leather featuring red stitching, part of the Stealth package, and includes a flat black textured trim on the dash and console that is particularly snazzy and avoids nasty glare that gloss black trim often reflects. Trim around the trim is a chrome look.

No way to avoid the gargantuan 15.5-inch info screen mid-dash. It’s a $795 option here, replacing a 12-inch screen, which likely would be sufficient. No problem seeing this as it’ll overwhelm your eyeballs. Several friends told me it would be way too much for them to constantly look at, and I agreed in that it’s so big you struggle to find some of the touchscreen icons, such as those for heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. Those need to be buttons that are easy to find on the console.

Most of the info screen’s functioning was good, and there’s a large volume knob embedded in the screen, a nice touch. But you must wait a minute for the screen to reboot every time you start the truck. Bigger isn’t always better!

Expedition is a three-row vehicle and roomy for up to eight passengers if you go with the standard second row bench seat. This one had captain’s chairs in row two (both heated), so would only accommodate seven. Cargo room is modest behind that third row, but large once it’s lowered and huge with both rear rows down. Remember there’s a Max version with another foot of cargo room in back.

This is a big beast with a roomy cabin and third-row seat, powered of course!

Ford puts power buttons inside the power hatch for lowering both the second and third row split seats, which makes it flexible for hauling long items, but still packing four or five passengers aboard.

Speaking of power, there are power-adjustable pedals and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel too, and a wireless charger in the console. Power running boards also deploy whenever the vehicle is unlocked or a door opened, and then re-fold after all doors have been shut for several seconds, or the ignition is turned on. I still worry about how these will survive Wisconsin winters, but I’m assured they will.

Not a huge fan of the rotary shifter, but one gets used to it.

Ford makes sure all the usual safety equipment is here, from smart cruise to lane control devices. All work fine.

A few odds and ends. Ford continues with its rotary gear shift knob on the console, which I still find a bit awkward, but I’m sure it’s here to stay.

That Stealth package also adds black accents in addition to the wheels, the badging is black as are the mirror caps and the tires are giant 22-inchers, meaning they’ll cost a fortune to replace, but then this is an $83k vehicle, so one assumes cost is a minor concern to the buyer.

Running boards are powered to aid in climbing aboard, and the sunroof is huge!

Likewise, gas mileage is nothing special. I got 17.8 mpg and the EPA rates this at 16 mpg city and 22 highway. Currently no hybrid Expedition is offered.

A base Expedition XL with rear-wheel-drive lists at $51,080 with delivery and one can add 4WD for about $2,000. That’s not inexpensive, but IS roughly $30 grand less than the tested Limited.

If you want or need more fancy features there’s the King Ranch and Platinum versions, the Platinum listing at $77 grand and easily exceeding $87,000 with options. A new more off-road worthy Timberline edition with additional ground clearance, bigger tires and underbody protection also was new for 2022.

One could imagine Expedition feeling overpriced, but consider the Chevrolet and GMC competitors, the Tahoe/Yukon and Suburban are equally pricy and the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer can hit $100,000 or more. Less pricey models are the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia, depending on trims.

FAST STATS: 2022 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

Hits: Handsome truck with oodles of power and room. Good ride, big towing capacity, off-road capable, seats 7 or 8, comfy seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated second row, heated wheel, good safety equipment, panoramic sunroof, power running boards, 7 drive modes, wireless charger, power pedals, power tilt/telescope wheel, pro trailer feature.

Misses: Vague steering, feels huge, monster info screen feels overwhelming, heated seats and wheel handled via screen, rotary shift knob takes getting used to.

Stylish headlights here!

Made in: Louisville, Ky.

Engine: 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, 375 hp/470 torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 5,837 lbs.

Wheelbase: 122.5 in.

Length: 210 in.

Cargo: 20.9-104.6 cu.ft.

Tow: 9,300 lbs.

MPG: 16/22

MPG: 17.8 (tested)

Base Price: $69,040 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $67,356

Major Options: Blue-tinted clearcoat, $395

Group 304A (panoramic roof, 3.73 Axle Ratio, black exterior badging, reverse brake assist, red brake calipers, 360-degree split view camera w/F&R washer, dual exhaust, floor mats w/logo, Ford Co-Pilot360 assist 2.0, black mirror caps, P285/45R22 tires, active 2.0 park assist, 22 speakers, engine sound enhancement radio equipment, enhanced active noise control radio equipment, Bang & Olufsen audio, black roof rails, power running boards, Stealth Performance Edition pkg. including red stitching, sport-tuned suspension & black painted aluminum wheels and 440-hp engine upgrade), $9,880

Heavy-duty trailer tow pkg., $795

CCD w/sport-tuned suspension, $995

ControlTrac w/3.73 EDLS, $1,100

15.5-in. info screen, $795

Test vehicle: $83,000

Sources: Ford, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

Why should Jeep have all the nostalgic off-road fun? …

Jeep has been mining the retro vein of off-roading SUVs for decades, so why shouldn’t Toyota?

This Y-chromosome packed market imagines itself crushing boulders and slopping through mud that’s butt deep for fun on weekends. Never mind that the family might like a comfortable ride to the grocery store, or hockey practice.

Toyota knows its market and knows they’ve got a good thing going, so there’s no overwhelming need to vastly update its Land Cruiser and 4Runner models. The Cruiser is the full-size off-roader (2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition | Savage On Wheels) while the 4Runner is a mid-size muck marauder that hasn’t been remade in 12 years. Oh, there are refinements each model year, but under the skin is a model hasn’t changed much, nor needed too.

Standard still is Toyota’s solid but boat-anchor heavy 4.0-liter V6 with seemingly ancient 5-speed automatic. Most SUVs now feature 8- or 10-speed automatics aimed at saving fuel. Many also now have turbocharged engines to increase power and also cut fuel use.

Not to dwell on the negative, but the EPA rates the tested new 4Runner TRD Sport at 16 mpg city and 19 highway. Somehow I managed 18.8 mpg in about 70% highway driving. But let’s be honest, if you’re wanting an off-road capable truck gas mileage isn’t likely your main concern.

Things like ground clearance, which is 9+ inches here, are vital. So is 4WD and hill descent control. Both come on this TRD Sport and Toyota even ditches the big 4WD shifter lever on the console for a dial for high and low range. The hill descent button and another to adjust for off-road conditions are on the overhead control panel.

Watch Mark’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q4OO9c6OgE

But Toyota says this new TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Sport model is actually more tuned for on-road driving, which seems sort of counter-intuitive with that big air scoop on the hood, the unique 20-inch wheels and knobby tires and the Softex (leather like) seats that are easy to clean.

Yet the X-REAS Sport Enhancement Suspension is standard on the Sport model and its goal is to adjust quickly to road conditions and provide a more sporty and pleasant on-road ride. The ride here though remains trucky, and this IS a body-on-frame beast, with plenty of bounce and jiggle. Better rides usually come with unibody construction found in most crossovers and cars.

Handling is truck vague too, but fortunately the steering effort is light, which makes it easy to control on the highway. Power is strong as indicated by the V6. Horsepower is 270 and torque is 278. The 4Runner is rated to tow 5,000 pounds.

Despite the power though, the engine makes a good bit of noise under heavy acceleration and the truck’s overall feel is heavy as it grinds its way up to highway speeds. There’s noticeable tire hum at freeway speeds too, although better than in the Land Cruiser.

But I really like the simple interior and this one added automatic running boards to help us vertically challenged folks climb into the high-rider. There’s a button on the dash’s far left to turn that off, but unless you’re caking your 4Runner in mud you’ll likely want this feature engaged full-time.

Toyota added an 8-inch touchscreen a couple years ago and that is easy to use and see. Some SUVs now pack anywhere from 10- to 14-inch screens, the later bordering on overkill. An 8-incher is fine.

The Lunar Rock (light gray) test vehicle featured a black leather-like interior with textured black plastic dash trimmed in satin silver plastic. That trim needs upgrading to reflect the pricing here, but looks OK.

Everything is easy to see and use with big climate control knobs too, a 360-view backup camera, push-button start, plus solid safety features like blind-spot warning, smart cruise control, lane departure and automatic high beams.

Missing though are heated seats and a heated steering wheel, plus there was no sunroof at all, while most big and mid-size SUVs now tout panoramic roofs. A little disappointing too is the lack of a wireless phone charger and the lack of an automatic climate control system.

Quite the tower of power here for the console and center stack!

What you do get is comfy, supportive seats in a roomy interior with oodles of head and legroom in back along with generous cargo capacity that grows to a monster 88.7 cubic feet when the rear seats are lowered. This 4Runner added the snazzy sliding rear cargo deck ($350) that helps short folks, and others, retrieve cargo from deep in the hatch area. I like this feature, and one other, the power rear hatch window. There are buttons on the hatch’s face to lower it from outside if you just need to drop some cargo in the back. Another button is located on the console inside. Not many SUVs offer a power rear window.

There is, however, no power hatch here.

No power hatch on this retro off-roader!

The test vehicle added a bevy of small trim and interior upgrade options, plus a $1,585 premium audio package with that 8-inch screen and a navigation system, plus eight speakers and WiFi connectivity. Toyota’s Connected Services safety system is included too. That’s like OnStar in most other vehicles. If you have an accident or need help it’s just a button push away.

As the photos here attest, the TRD Sport also upgrades its exterior cladding with all the trim being body colored (gray) to give the exterior a unified look. Naturally the roof rack and window trim is black for a bit of an accent. There’s also a nose spoiler and TRD floor mats and TRD embroidered letters on the front seat headrests.

There IS a convenient pull-out tray to help shorties like me access their luggage!

Amazingly there now are eight 4Runner trim levels, so something for nearly any upscale budget.

A base SR5 model with 2-wheel-drive lists at $38,520 including delivery, but most folks likely will go for the 4WD model at $40,355 with delivery.

The TRD Sport is near that lower end, starting at $41,325 for 2WD and the tester at $43,200 with 4WD. With all its options this one reached $48,297.

But if you’ve got that kind of money to spend consider a Limited with 4WD for $50,100 or go all the way up to the TRD Pro (primarily aimed at off-roading) for $53,295.

For comparison’s sake you may want to check out the Jeep Cherokee or Wrangler Unlimited or maybe one of Ford’s new Bronco models, Ford’s Explorer or Honda’s Passport. If you prefer more on-road comfort there also is the Subaru Ascent or the more wagon-like Subaru Outback. For more luxury, but still with off-road capability consider Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, just to name a few.

The SUV market is so full of capable off-roaders that this market may be overstocked at the moment.

FAST STATS: 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

Hits: Macho styling, big roomy SUV that’ll haul and tow and do serious off-roading. Strong engine, good safety equipment, power running boards, power rear window, big cargo area with pull-out tray, easy-to-use screen and 4WD engagement knob.

Misses: Poor fuel economy, feels heavy, vague steering, noisy engine and tires on highway. No heated seats or wheel. No sunroof, wireless charger or automatic climate controls.

Made in: Japan

Engine: 4.0-liter V6, 270 hp

Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Weight: 4,750 lbs.

Wheelbase: 109.8 in.

Length: 191.3 in.

Cargo: 47-88.7 cu.ft.

Tow: 5,000 lbs.

MPG: 16/19

MPG: 18.8 (tested)

Base Price: $43,200 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $39,333

Major Options:

Premium audio, 8-inch touchscreen, dynamic nav, 8 speakers, Connected Services safety system, Wi-Fi connect, $1,585

Sliding rear cargo deck, $350

Automatic running boards, $1,500

Technology package, $1,310

Black exhaust tip, $100

Roof rack crossbars, $185

Cargo cover, $179

All-weather floor liners, $169

Cargo tray, $100

Door edge guards, $79

Test vehicle: $48,297

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage