Get Out And Explore... Literally!
The Ford Ranger made a comeback, the Bronco is back, there is talk of a new UTE with the Maverick nameplate, North America is running rampant with Raptors.. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Ford Explorer would receive treatments to excite those to take to the outdoors. In the last 3 years, Ford has found that Ford Explorer owners have reported a 56% increase in off-road use due to the increasing engagement to the outdoors has grown.
The 2021 Ford Explorer "Timberline" builds on the current generation of Explorer SUV based upon the 2019+ model year. Since 2004, Ford had taken the North American Explorer and taken it to a uni-body based chassis which does separate it from it's down under brother, the Ford Everest which is nearly identical with the main exception of the Ford Everest being a true body-on-frame vehicle.
The Ford Explorer Timberline is powered by Ford's 2.3L Ecoboost Inline-4 engine bringing 300 hp to task and churning out 310 ft-bs of torque directed through Explorer's 10-speed auto transmission and intelligent all-wheel-drive system. A selectable Terrain Management is standard in the options for more dialed in control, including an "off-road-specific" trail mode and deep snow/sand options.
The list of off-road treatments start off with new front and rear facia's with far much better approach and departure angles, 23.5-degree approach and a 23.77-degree departure respectively. The Timberline, sitting an extra 0.8-inch higher for a total of 8.7 inches in ground clearance, has been reported to offer more robust heavy-duty shock absorbers, which were originally designed for the Explorer Police Interceptor variant of the Ford Explorer. Combined with steering calibrations, a well deserved Torsen rear limited-slip differential, anti-roll bars, and matched springs will help keep the more aggressive 265/65-18 Bridgestone Dueler wrapped around a complimenting "gloss" black 18-inch wheels etched with the Timberline logo wheel keeping the rubber side facing down on or off-road.
The Timberline has a nearly full length "steel" underbody skid plate system which added protection is always a bonus in our book. Other really useful options we like seeing is the increasing desire for HDC, or Hill-Decent-Control in the new vehicles, we feel it builds driver confidence when needed. Maximum towing capacity is 5,300 pounds to help round out some extra utilitarian options and for eye-cathing glints, you can't miss the always favored red color coded tow hooks.
Ford did launch the Explorer Timberline in a NEW flavor of "Forged Green Metallic" color. A Deep Cypress (green)was also made available complimented by some notable but popular accents. Some well accented panels etched with the Timberline logo let on to the get-out-doors type you may be. The Ford Badge has been swapped for a more edgy blacked out verse the standard Ford blue version, with black-out bezel treatments blending in the front twin projector-looking headlight bezels and rear taillights.
The addition of AUX forward facing lighting slim-lined in the grill work and LED driving lights standard, mid level in the bumper fascia, will certainly attribute to both rugged character looks and useful functionality without the cut-&-pasted aesthetics.
The cabin also gets a blacked out headliner, which might come in handy for any van-life type car-camping time. The stone-patterned mesh like dashboard trim with silver accents throughout the center stack and console are just the right amount of civility mixed with Ford's Active-X water-resistant simulated leather upholstery, featuring a Dark Orange baseball stitching with gray heathered cloth inserts rounding out the interiors outdoorsy feel, especially on those brisk trail mornings or cool desert night drives with the standard heated seats, as is the steering wheel. Rubber floor liners are there of course to help make cleaning up adventures much easier and keep the carpet clean underneath.
Ford Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) are standard on every Explorer Timberline adding to the media centers voice-activated navigation system. At the time of writing this, its been reported a 360-degree camera setup with a separate forward view to help you solo spot things when cresting hills will be available too.
Other creature comfort options include; ACC (adaptive Cruise Control) with stop-and-go, lane-centering, speed sign recognition, ESA (Evasive Steering Assist) which determines if you may have a collision into a vehicle, and you're not steering hard enough to avoid it.
We have no worries that the Explorer may become another well market supported SUV seen out and about on the backroads and across the landscape. Already we're seeing racks, rack accessories, RTT options, and a host of interior and general accessories spreading in anticipation of things coming down the wire.. We'll be here to help along the way.
The Ford Explorer Timberline release date is scheduled for the summer of 2021. Prices will be available closer to its arrival at dealerships.
- Ford Authority
- JD Power
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