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2021 Ford Explorer Timberline: The family SUV just got a whole lot tougher

New 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

The wheels. The orange tow-hooks and accents. What’s not to love? (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor company)

As people return to the great outdoors for adventure and meaningful family time, many automakers have answered the call with more rugged dual-purpose family vehicles that can handle a little extra adventure. The Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport are good examples of this, and now we have the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, too.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Ford Explorer, and these photos took me by surprise. Without even seeing one in person, I want a Ford Explorer Timberline. I’m sure it has something to do with the orange accents against the deep moss green exterior.

Whatever the reason, this is one sweet-looking SUV, and I can’t wait to experience it off-road!

Off-road cred in a 3-row, 7-passenger SUV

Thanks to increased ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, steel skid plates, limited-slip differential, all-terrain tires and new shocks, springs and stabilizer bars this Explorer can not only leave the pavement but also climb, ford water and play in the mud. Towing a trailer is an option too.

This new Explorer is better equipped to handle off-road terrain. The awesome starts with Ford’s standard intelligent four-wheel-drive system, which is smart enough to calculate and adjust the torque needed for the moment based on conditions and driver feedback. A new limited-slip rear differential provides better traction and keeps the vehicle moving by sending torque to the wheel with the best traction.

Seven drive modes and hill descent control combine to enable drivers to focus on steering down uneven descents without worrying about speed or traction.

Steel skid plates come standard on the Explorer Timberline to protect the underbody in the front, under the engine and all the way to the back. The Timberline also has custom steering calibration, added stabilizer bars and springs that are specially tuned for this vehicle, including an exclusive front rebound spring to help prevent sudden jarring when your front tires drop into a low spot.

The ride height of the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is raised by 0.8 inch, thanks to more robust, off-road-capable heavy-duty shocks. The high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires have a special tread pattern that is good for both off-road traction and on-road quietness. This, along with unique front and rear fascias, results in an approach angle of 23.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, plus a minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches for navigating unpaved roads and uneven trails.

The Explorer Timberline features a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. We’re talking 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, makes the Explorer Timberline capable of towing RVs, ATVs and boats weighing up to 5,300 pounds.

First impressions matter

The photos made such a big impression on me. Unique to the Timberline edition, this Explorer will launch with an all-new Forged Green Metallic exterior color. All models will feature blackout treatment around the headlamps and taillamps and a black Ford oval, along with Timberline badges on the C-pillars and liftgate. Those beautiful Red Ember tow hooks at the front are rated at 150% gross vehicle weight, and the high-gloss painted aluminum wheels feature a laser-etched Timberline logo.

A few more details include:

  • LED fog lamps
  • Dark Carbonized Gray grille
  • Auxiliary lights
  • A Deep Cypress interior color
  • Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel and door trim
  • Timberline logos on the front seats.
  • Standard rubber floor liners
  • Standard Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology
  • Standard 360-degree camera

Get ready to customize!

For those who want even more, Ford offers three Outfitters packages – Outfitters SkyBox, Outfitters MegaWarrior and Outfitters FrontLoader. All three packages combine all-weather floor mats, crossbars and the selected Yakima rooftop accessories, so you don’t have to leave anything behind.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is available to order now and arrives at Ford dealers this summer. For more information, you can check out the full press release.

Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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  1. Joel May 5, 2021

    I didn’t expect Ford to offer an off-road focused Explorer considering they will have a 4 door Bronco.

    1. Avatar photo
      Jill Ciminillo May 5, 2021

      Seems like the new mantra with a lot of automakers is “off-road all the things …” — wait until you see the new version of the Subaru Outback coming out …

    2. Erica Mueller May 6, 2021

      But the Bronco won’t have the third row. The Explorer does. I think this will be great for the avid campers, cyclists, etc who need more passenger or cargo space.


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