Ford calls it the most off-road-capable Explorer ever.
As outdoor adventures become increasingly more popular, automakers are crafting off-road trim variants to appeal to this growing niche of car buyers. Recent examples include the Subaru Outback Wilderness and Toyota Sienna Woodland. Ford says it has seen a 56% increase in Explorer owners off-roading in the past three years and more than 35% of owners carry adventure equipment like a bicycle or kayak. To cater to this market, Ford has created the most off-road-capable Explorer yet.
Introducing the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, a more rugged, off-road-oriented trim level. We initially thought the Timberline could exist as a package for the luxurious Explorer King Ranch, but it's now confirmed that the two are separate models. Based on the specifications, the Explorer Timberline looks like a great family SUV for adventure seekers.
Power comes from the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder in other Explorer trims, producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque sent to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Timberline includes the Class III Trailer Tow Package as standard equipment, bringing a 5,300-pound tow rating. Though the drivetrain is relatively tame, Ford has dramatically improved the Timberline's off-road credibility.
This trim level adds a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, which helps manage wheel slip and traction. A standard Terrain Management System contains seven drive modes, including Trail and Deep Snow/Sand, plus hill descent control. Ford added steel skid plates on the underbody to keep it undamaged and retuned the steering, stabilizer bars, and springs. A new front rebound spring helps keep the ride less jarring off-road.
The Timberline sits 0.8 inches higher than a standard Explorer thanks to heavy-duty shocks taken from the Explorer Police Interceptor. Combined with high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires and unique front and rear fasciae, the Explorer Timberline boasts improved clearance. The approach angle is 23.5 degrees, the departure angle is 23.7 degrees, and it offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
This added capability comes with a more rugged look, capped off with a new available Forged Green Metallic exterior color. The Timberline receives a blacked-out look for the logos, the area around the lights, and the wheels, with Red Ember tow hooks acting as the accent color. Built-in LED fog lamps help light the path at night, and the grille includes a wiring harness for dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights.
Inside, a Deep Cypress trim color pairs well with the rugged exterior. The headliner, overhead console, pillar trim, grab handles, visors, and moonroof shade are all finished in Ebony, which contrasts against the Stone Mesh instrument panel applique and Satin Silver Twilight on the center stack, steering wheel, and armrest trim. The cabin is accented with Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and door trim.
Ford says this interior is adventure-ready with ActiveX seat trim and cloth inserts, which are easy to wipe. Those seats are heated, as is the leather steering wheel. Rubber floor mats come standard, as do Ford Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology. The Explorer has plenty of cargo space, but three available Outfitters packages add all-weather floor mats, crossbars, and Yakima rooftop accessories for buyers who need even more carrying capacity.
Pricing starts at $45,765 (plus a $1,245 delivery and a destination fee), and orders for the Explorer Timberline are now open, with units arriving at dealers this summer.