The Ford Motor Company has seen its sales momentum severely stunted by the computer chip shortage, dragging down the production (and sales) of many of its new products. With a greater emphasis on trucks and SUVs than most competitors, supply-side issues have created many challenges for Ford as it looks to become two automakers from one — internal combustion vehicles and battery electric vehicles will soon separate.

Highlighting this drama for Ford is the full-size Expedition series, re-styled for 2022. Against new rivals from Jeep’s Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, plus GM’s re-designed Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban/Escalade family, as well as a new Toyota Sequoia, this very profitable (and still popular) three-row SUV segment has a lot more to offer consumers than ever before. New tech, new space, new powertrains plus higher tow ratings for most means that no manufacturer can expect to cede an edge to its rivals.

So, Ford created two new Expedition models for 2022 — the off-road-focused Timberline package with greater ground clearance, off-road 33-inch tires, a distinct interior plus a stronger 400 horsepower version of the stock 3.5-liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V-6, as well as a new Stealth Edition trim for mid-range Limited models that is stocked up for on-pavement sportiness. A Stone Blue Stealth Limited — in long wheelbase MAX model — recently paid a visit to Downeast Maine.

While a base Expedition is a sizable 5,800-pound, three-row SUV measuring 210-inches long on a 122-inch wheelbase, the MAX model stretches out to 222-inches long over a 132-inch wheelbase. The third-row seat power-folds, middle seats can be a three-person bench or dual captain’s chairs, while all rear seatbacks fold flat for maximum storage capacity, which is just under 130-cubic feet — about 15-cubic feet less than the latest Suburban.

The big Ford rides on a fully independent suspension, which includes beefy 22-inch blacked-out sport wheels here. Red brake calipers and tucked-in rear dual exhaust pipes are really the only clues to the Stealth model’s healthy engine upgrade — a 440-horsepower, 510-pound/feet of torque rendition of the Ecoboost twin-turbo engine. Running through the corporate 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed with GM, the Expedition MAX Stealth is the quickest SUV in this segment.

EPA mileage ratings are 16/22 mpg, with highway mileage settling in at 19.5 mpg during our visit, and urban driving producing a solid 21.5 mpg.

The cabin is spacious, comfortable, and quiet. The ride is smooth. But warn your passengers to hold onto their Dunkin beverages if you mat the throttle, unless you like wet cleanups.

The Expedition MAX Stealth’s interior and display screen. Tim Plouff

There are hits and misses. The Expedition’s power liftgate allows you to open the upper window separate from the whole gate, the massive panoramic roof creates a very airy passenger compartment, plus the power-folding running boards help everyone to gracefully enter and exit. The massive 15.5-inch touchscreen (a 12-inch unit is now standard) seems like overkill and looks like a late addition to the dash, while the absence of a heads-up display and massaging seats at this price point ($84,660 as shown) seems like a pricing miss.

Yet, the subtle vibe from the Stealth Edition’s aggressive stance will please buyers who want a little something special, without shouting about it. Grille shutters, those red brake calipers, unique LED lighting, and the 22-inch wheels work very well with the dark metallic paint. The high-output Ecoboost V-6 works strongly, and its subtle performance strengths over larger V-8 powertrains is quite surprising.

Pricing starts at $55,120 for rear-drive XL Expeditions. XLT trim rings in at $59,185 with four-wheel drive an additional $3,000. Limited begins at $69,345, with the Stealth package (304A) adding almost $10,000 to the sticker. Limited includes front tow hooks, tri-zone climate, trailer sway control, heated rear seats, heated and cooled front power seats, heated steering wheel, 360-camera, parking sensors, FordPass connect, intelligent 4WD with terrain selections, wireless charging, Bang & Olufsen 22-speaker audio, navigation, active noise control and much more. The Stealth package also includes sport-tuned adaptive suspension, 3.73-rear axle ratio, locking rear differential, plus an HD Class IV tow package.

Ford has struggled to get Expedition production where they want it, as F-series pickup trucks (like the recent Lightning) are commanding the needed parts. Consequently, sales are down 1/3 over 2021 — which leaves the Expedition barely ahead of the new Jeep Wagoneer on the sales charts, and far behind the GM family of SUVs.

With a performance edge, plus a wider range of Expedition models available, Ford hopes to turn the tide in 2023.

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles for more than 20 years.