The Ford Explorer Timberline was released a few months ago and it is supposed to offer access to the great outdoors to the customers of the model.
However, the President of Jeep Mr. Jim Morrison has other opinions about the car and has not been afraid to state them.
So, what has the president of Jeep said? Furthermore, how do the Ford Explorer Timberline and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk compare?
What Was Said About the Ford Explorer Timberline?
In an interview with MC&T, Jim Morrison stated that “I actually feel sorry for (Ford Explorer Timberline) customers that get tricked. You can’t paint a tow hook red. It doesn’t mean that behind the tow hook it would even hold up in the right moment that it needs to.”
He then added that “we design all of those Trail Rated elements from the ground up… it’s not just a marketing item, it’s capability that’s bred in. You don’t just put stickers and paint on things. We build it with incredible capability.”
The above statements suggest that the president of Jeep believes that the Ford Explorer Timberline is a marketing exercise with some different paint and badging that make it seem like it is off-road worthy when in fact it isn’t.
I can see where he is coming from and to some extent, I agree. However, let’s compare Jeep’s answer to the Explorer to see if it really is more capable off-road.
Ford Explorer Timberline vs Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
The way the comparison is going to work is by addressing the technology and characteristics of the two cars that enable them to go off-road. The one with the most off-road-worthy tech wins.
The Ford Explorer offers all-wheel drive without low range gears, all terrain tires, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, 23.5 degrees of approach angle, 23.7 degrees of departure angle, 17 degrees of brake over angle, and a rear limited-slip differential. Power to all wheels is controlled through traction control.
The Jeep Cherokee Trail hawk offers all-wheel drive with low range gears, all-terrain tires, 11.3 inches of ground clearance, 35 degrees of approach angle, 30 degrees of departure angle, 24.3 degrees of brake over angle, a rear limited-slip differential, a center diff locker and traction control.
So, from the above characteristics, it is obvious that the Cherokee is more off-road worthy due to the very important low range transfer case, significantly more ground clearance, and far better approach, departure, and break-over angles.
As the popularity of overlanding is growing, we will start to see more vehicles such as the Explorer Timberline emerging. The Explorer will be able to take you down a dirt road but little more than that.
On the other hand, the Cherokee does offer some true off-road capability along with comfort and safety.
It’s not going to match a Wrangler or 4Runner; however, it will be far more comfortable than those on the road.
What you should take home from this article is that before buying a car you need to assess what you are going to be using it for. If you are planning on overlanding often and need a comfortable everyday family car then the Cherokee is a great choice.
For someone who is only going to drive down a dirt road to get to a camp spot, the Ford Explorer Timberline will do the job.
It’s up to you to decide.