The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline offers yet another option in the SUV’s growing lineup.
After seeing the Blue Oval’s more rugged Explorer model take shape over the past few months, the automaker revealed the off-road Timberline trim Wednesday. Meant for “memorable weekend adventures with family and friends”, Ford’s seizing on the growing market of buyers who want a rig to get them out into nature without sacrificing too much in the way of everyday practicality. Particularly as we head into summer, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline brings in another option for a crossover with some off-road goodies baked in, akin to the “Adventure”, “Wilderness” and “AT4” variants already on the market.
For a start, the Explorer Timberline gets a boost in ground clearance over the standard models. It gains 0.8 inches thanks to more robust heavy-duty shocks taken from the Explorer Police Interceptor and chunkier Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires. That brings the minimum clearance to 8.7 inches — exactly the same as Subaru’s crossovers and a touch higher than the Toyota RAV4 Adventure (8.6 inches) and much better than the GMC Acadia AT4 (7.2 inches). The Explorer Timberline also brings in unique front and rear fascias that help raise the approach and departure angles to 23.5 and 23.7 degrees respectively. The orange tow hooks that come as part of the package are rated for 150% of gross vehicle weight.
Couple to that steel skid plates, a Torsen limited-slip differential, new springs and stabilizer bars, and the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline does offer some substance for nature-seeking owners, at least on paper.
Other Timberline touches
With a Forged Green Metallic paint scheme and Deep Cypress interior trim with orange contrast stitching, as well as the unique grille and badging, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline will bring bespoke aesthetic touches to its off-road worthy variant. Ford also touts standard Co-Pilot 360 Assist+, 360-degree camera, Terrain Management and hill descent control. In terms of tech and features, Ford’s dirt-worthy variant builds on the XLT, right down to the three ‘Outfitters’ packages you can also get on that trim. That throws in some options like crossbars on the roof, all-weather floor mats and varying Yakima rooftop accessories, depending on which version you pick.
Like the XLT, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline packs the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Its 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque should be plenty of grunt for most of your light to moderate nature treks, and the Explorer does bring an ace up its sleeve over most of its rivals: towing ability. The standard Class III Trailer Tow Package offers 5,300 pounds of capacity, which is well above most other crossovers in the class, let alone any of its “adventure” rivals.
Update: An earlier version of this post did not have exact pricing. The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline starts at $47,010, including a $1,245 destination charge.