2021 Ford Explorer Timberline gets ready to rumble

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline aims to take the road less traveled than other crossover SUVs. The new Timberline trim adds a limited-slip rear differential, a higher ground clearance, more skid plates, and other off-road gear to stray from the beaten path, Ford announced Wednesday.

The three-row SUV follows the Bronco’s return to the wilderness but without as much off-road capability. Instead, it’s made for adventuring from the garage to the trailhead, and hauling up to seven people and all their gear. 

Like the base Explorer, the Timberline uses a 300-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Timberline trim builds off the rear-wheel-drive Explorer with standard all-wheel drive that can split the 310 lb-ft of torque between the front and rear axle. If the system can’t send any torque to the rear wheels, say if it’s on ice or if the rear wheels are in the air, it sends up to 100% to the front wheels. When the rear wheels are grounded, a standard Torsen limited-slip rear differential shuttles torque to the rear wheel with the most grip and keeps the other wheel from spinning.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

The Explorer Timberline does not have a 2 transfer case with a low range setting, but a standard hill descent control system takes care of crawling downhill at speeds between 2 and 12 mph. It features seven drive mode settings, including Trail and Deep Snow/Sand, similar to other AWD Explorers. 

The Timberline raises itself above other Explorers with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, instead of 7.9 inches, and higher lower bumpers that increase the approach angle from 20.1 to 23.5 degrees, and the departure angle from 22 to 23.7 degrees. It also comes with standard steel skid plates to protect the engine, transmission, and rear-end components. Ford says the steering and stabilizer bars have been specially tuned. 

It rides on 18-inch wheels with high-profile Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, and has heavy-duty shocks Ford uses on the Explorer Police Interceptor. A standard Class III trailer tow package with a 5,300-pound towing capacity enhances the do-it-all capability.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

The capability might be overshadowed by the Timberline’s alluring look.  

It can be had with an exclusive green metallic color almost like a camo-lite, and the light housings, badges, and side mirrors get blacked out. The dark grille comes with a wiring harness to make it easier for owners to add auxiliary lights ($495 extra) in addition to the standard LED fog lights. Deep Tangerine tow hooks capable of lugging just shy of 9,000 pounds put fangs on the front. That reddish-orange accent color frames the lower front grille, and is repeated inside as accent stitching on easy-to-clean cloth seats. Heated front seats and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel also come standard.

Additional standard features include voice-activated navigation, a surround-view camera system and front camera for hill climbs, as well as safety features for on the road. Like other Explorers, the Timberline comes with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, but adds active lane control, and adaptive cruise control down to a stop. 

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

Ford is offering three outfitter packages—SkyBox, MegaWarrior, and Front Loader—with all-weather floor mats, crossbars, and Yakima rooftop accessories that differ by package.

Ford suggested the Timberline trim will be introduced on other Ford models later in the year. 

With an EPA-rated 19 mpg city, 23 highway, and 21 combined, the Explorer Timberline trails the standard Explorer AWD by 2 mpg combined. 

Priced at $47,010 including destination, the Explorer Timberline slots between the Limited and ST variants. Orders can be made now for delivery this summer.

Comments are closed.