Off-road and adventure-oriented vehicles are the new hot trend across the industry. Less than a year after resurrecting the Bronco, Ford is about to please large families with a more rugged version of its popular three-row midsize SUV.
The new 2021 Explorer Timberline will arrive in dealerships this summer starting at $50,799, the exact same price as the mid-level Limited model. Orders are already being accepted.
Even More Diversity
The Ford Explorer lineup meets a variety of needs with many trim levels and a choice of four powertrain options including the efficient Explorer Hybrid and the sporty, 400-horsepower Explorer ST, not to mention the luxurious Explorer Platinum.
According to Ford, 56 percent of Explorer owners say they are spending more and more time in the great outdoors and off the road, hence the idea to create an SUV that’s specifically tailored to these people.
The new Timberline series is pretty much the equivalent of Tremor packages available on Ford trucks. The company hints that other models could follow the lead of the Explorer, with possible announcements coming later in 2021.
The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline features the turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine rated at 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Its so-called Intelligent 4WD system gets a Torsen limited-slip rear differential that automatically distributes torque to the wheel with the most traction.
Next, the Terrain Management system offers seven drive modes including Trail and Deep Sand/Mud, while standard Hill Descent Control maintains a steady speed of 3-19 km/h so drivers can focus on steering while heading down challenging trails.
In order to tackle bigger obstacles, the Explorer Timberline also benefits from underbody steel skid plates, a 0.8-inch raised suspension with heavy-duty shocks that were originally designed for the Explorer Police Interceptor, P265/65R18 Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, as well as specially tuned springs and stabilizer bars. Approach and departure angles are slightly improved, too.
And good news for families that want to tow a camping trailer or a boat: a Class III towing package comes standard and allows towing of up to 5,300 pounds.
The Ford Explorer Timberline is fairly easy to recognize, sporting specific front and rear lower bumpers with integrated tow hooks, high-gloss painted aluminum wheels with a laser-etched Timberline logo, black-trimmed headlights and taillights, a black Ford logo and a Dark Carbonized Grey grille. The last one is pre-wired and equipped to install a set of Ford Performance lights.
The model debuts with a new Forged Green Metallic body paint. Inside, look for unique accents and finishes (dashboard, steering wheel, doors and more) and Timberline logos on the front buckets. On a practical note, ActiveX seat fabric and rubber floor liners make the cabin easy to clean.
Ford claims the new 2021 Explorer Timberline has no direct rivals, but we can see it as an alternative to the GMC Acadia AT4 and, to some extent, the Toyota 4Runner. Honda is also reportedly developing a Trailsport variant of its SUVs including the Pilot.