The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is an off-road-focused variant of the midsize three-row crossover.
Suspension lift, Torsen LSD, HD shocks and retuned steering and suspension are all part of the package.
The Timberline will start at $45,765 in the U.S., at $50,799 in Canada.
As North American consumers are buying up midsize crossovers and seemingly adopting an active lifestyle, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline has just been revealed by the American manufacturer, aiming to gain market share in what it considers to be a “white space.”
Simply put, at the moment, there are very few mainstream, off-road-focused three-row crossovers on the U.S. and Canadian markets, so this new variant of the popular Explorer will almost have that niche segment to itself. There’s the GMC Acadia AT4 and the newly redesigned Kia Sorento X-Line, although Ford will arguably say these two rivals are smaller. However, the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee L will soon hit the market, and that space won’t be white for very long.
In any case, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is another take on the brand’s big crossover, which already offers affordable variants such as the base (U.S. only) and XLT trims, the luxury-minded Limited, King Ranch (U.S. only) and Platinum trims in addition to the performance-infused Explorer ST. The new Timberline is thus the rugged, adventurous, head-off-the-beaten-path version in the lineup.
“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,” said Ford Motor Company’s president, Americas and international markets group, Kumar Galhotra. “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.”
The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline receives a 0.8-inch (19 mm) suspension lift for a maximum ground clearance of 8.7 inches (220 mm), a Torsen limited-slip differential, heavy-duty shocks plucked from the Explorer Police Interceptor and retuned for off-road service, modified stabilizer bars and springs, steel skid plates, a recalibrated steering system and Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R18 all-terrain tires.
The Timberline also debuts Forged Green Metallic, a dark paint color that will blend in nicely with the outdoor scenery, along with Red Ember tow hooks and pinstriping up front, darkened headlight clusters and taillights, and glossy 18-inch alloy wheels. Unique front and rear bumper designs allow the crossover to boast a 23.5-degree approach angle and a 23.7-degree departure angle. A Carbonized Grey grille can be complemented with dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights with an output of 169,000 candelas.
Under the hood, we find the turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that develops 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, along with a 10-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive, or what Ford calls Intelligent 4WD, is standard, as is a seven-mode drive system that rounds up Normal, Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, Slippery, Sport, Tow/Haul and Eco modes. A Class III tow package is included, providing a max rating of 5,300 pounds (2,404 kilograms). Canadian fuel economy numbers aren’t available yet, but in the U.S., the Timberline gets city/highway/combined ratings of 19/23/21 mpg, down from the regular Explorer AWD’s 20/27/23 figures.
Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline’s cabin features a Deep Cypress trim colour, along with black headliner and pillar trim, Tangerine contrast stitching as well as exclusive Stone Mesh dashboard trim. Rubber floor mats in addition to ActiveX and cloth seat upholstery come standard. On the safety front, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ suites are bundled as well, as are a 360-degree camera system and a front camera, the latter being particularly useful when off-roading.
The new Explorer Timberline will hit dealerships this summer, carrying an MSRP of $45,765 (plus $1,245 destination freight charge) in the United States, and of $50,799 (plus $1,900 freight and delivery charges). It joins Ford’s light-truck lineup that already includes the off-road-focused Tremor editions of the F-150, Super Duty and Ranger, along with the off-road-ready Ford Bronco Sport and two-door/four-door Bronco.