Ford Explorer Timberline

It feels like there’s been a real uptick in big car manufacturers listening closely to customer feedback, and the new Ford Explorer Timberline is one such example. The company delivers on its promise to offer more rugged SUVs and trucks, with the new Explorer Timberline being “the most off-road-capable Explorer ever.”

Kumar Galhotra, President, Americas & International Markets Group, Ford Motor Company, states: “Ford is delivering on more capable SUVs with Timberline. Consumer data has shown us that now more than ever, customers want to get outside and explore nature with friends and family. Timberline hits a new sweet spot with these customers who want an ideal combination of passenger space, moderate off-road capability, and great manners around town.”

Ford explains that two consumer trends have come together to support the launch of the Timberline series. First off, the immense popularity and growing number of buyers who go off-roading. Second is data that shows a dramatic increase in people participating in outdoor activities and adventures than before the pandemic. So, what exactly has Ford enacted to make good on their “most off-road capable” claim?

Off-road capability begins with Ford’s standard intelligent four-wheel drive, which automatically adjusts torque between the wheels based on conditions and driver input to provide optimum traction. A new addition is a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, which sends torque to the wheel with the best traction and prevents the other wheel from spinning. The Terrain Management system offers seven drive modes, whilst Standard Hill Descent Control allows the Timberline to maintain a constant speed between 2-12 mph, assisting drivers in navigating uneven descents. The model further bolsters its all-terrain credentials with underbody protection, starting underneath the front, continuing under the engine and transmission, and through the rear—all to help protect key components. Steering calibration, stabilizer bars, and springs are specially tuned for this model and include an exclusive front rebound spring that helps prevent sudden jarring off road. Ride height is increased by 0.8 inches, thanks to off-road, heavy-duty shocks (originally developed for the Explorer Police Interceptor) and high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R18 all-terrain tires (surrounding high-gloss painted aluminium wheels with laser-etched Timberline logo). These are matched with unique front and rear fascias, resulting in an approach angle of 23.5 degrees and a maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, plus a minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches for navigating uneven trails. Recovery is enhanced, thanks to a set of red tow hooks at the front of the vehicle rated at 150 percent gross vehicle weight. The Timberline has a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing 300 horsepower and 310 pounds of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which provides all the performance you need for challenging terrain, highway miles, and around town. Customers can also opt for the standard Class III Trailer Tow Package, providing 5,300 pounds of towing capacity.

The Timberline launches in a new Forged Green Metallic, whilst including blackout treatment around the headlamps, taillamps, and black Ford oval, along with Timberline badges on the C-pillars and liftgate. Driving at night is made easier thanks to LED fog lamps and provisions/wiring harness in the Carbonized Gray grille that allows for dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights, with an output of 160,000 candelas (2.5 times brighter than the Timberline high-beam headlamps).

The exterior is complemented by a Deep Cypress interior trim, with an Ebony headliner, overhead console, A-, B- and C-pillar trim, grab handles, visors, and moonroof shade. The cabin incorporates a Stone Mesh instrument panel applique, distinctive Satin Silver Twilight on the center stack, steering wheel bezel, and door armrest trim. There are also Deep Cypress door trim panel inserts, Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel and door trim, plus Timberline logos on the front seats. Rubber floor liners protect the carpet, while ActiveX seat trim with cloth inserts is easy to wipe clean and helps prevent occupants from sliding in the seat over rough terrain. A heated steering wheel and front seats bring additional cold-weather comfort.

The Timberline doesn’t skimp on tech, boasting standard Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology. These programs offer Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Speed Sign Recognition, Lane Centering, Evasive Steering Assist, and voice-activated touch screen navigation. A standard 360-degree camera provides a view of obstacles around the vehicle, while a front camera is useful when cresting a hill off-road. There are three Outfitters packages: SkyBox, MegaWarrior, and FrontLoader. All three combine all-weather floor mats, crossbars, and the selected Yakima rooftop accessories for customers to take even more equipment on the road.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline looks to be a fantastic everyday adventure vehicle and is available to order now, arriving at dealers this summer.

$47,010 (Base Price) |


No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.