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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Ford Explorer Timberline Promises to Be the Most Capable Off-Road Explorer Ever

I’ve never been much of a Ford guy, to be honest. But the Ford Explorer Timberline does have some great looks. In fact, I think it looks kind of mean.

It’s a nice step forward in the evolution of the Explorer model (which, by the way, when I hear the name Explorer I think of the original boxy rig that was in Jurassic Park, don’t you?).

Anyway, I’ll get to the specs and features of this thing in a moment, but first I want to say that what really grabbed my attention about the promo video above is that midway through it the Explorer was pulling a Turtleback Expedition trailer!

As many of you likely know, I have a Turtleback trailer and it is absolutely badass. In my opinion, there is no better off-road capable trailer on the market. Kudos to Turtleback for being featured as a companion to Ford’s newest off-roader – it is a feature well-deserved!
Now, let’s unpack the specs and features of this beast.

The Most Off-Road-Capable Explorer Ever

 Ford Explorer Timberline hauling a trailer

According to Ford, the Explorer Timberline will be the most off-road-capable Explorer ever. Now, it isn’t going to be a Wrangler-killer right out of the box, but it does come equipped with some excellent features for light off-road adventures.

It starts with improved approach and departure angles of 23.5 degrees and 23.7 degrees respectively, which might not seem fantastic, but considering it’s more than 3 degrees of improvement in front and 1.7 degrees of improvement in the rear, it’s a nice upgrade. The improved approach and departure angles are paired with steel skid plates that run from the vehicle’s chin backward to protect the powertrain and other delicate parts that could be damaged when off-roading.

The Most Off-Road-Capable Explorer

The Explorer Timberline gets a modest suspension lift and rugged 265/65R-18 Dueler All-Terrain tires from Bridgestone. The combination of the two results in an increase of 0.8-inches of additional ground clearance bringing it to a respectable 8.7 inches of clearance.

In back is a Torsen rear differential that directs torque to the wheel with the best grip. Combined with the terrain management system that features seven modes for everything from hill descent to deep snow, Ford thinks this rig will do just fine on the trails, even without a low-range transfer case and a first gear ratio of 16.9:1.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to be pulled out of a jam, the Explorer Timberline comes equipped with dual tow hooks on the front (which are bright red and look awesome) that are rated at 150-percent of the gross vehicle weight.

Additional goodies include the heavy-duty shocks from Ford’s Police Interceptor (with rebound springs in the front) as well as new anti-roll bar and springs as well as revised power steering calibration.

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Ford Explorer Timberline Power

Ford Explorer Timberline

Unsurprisingly, the standard engine in the Timberline is the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost. The engine pumps out 300 horses and 310 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

According to Ford, the Timberline has a 5,300-pound towing capacity using the Class III trailer tow package that comes standard.

Just for comparison’s sake, this EcoBoost engine produces eight more horsepower than the old V-8 that Ford used from 2006-2010 and produces 5 lb.-ft. of torque less than the old V-8. It shows just how far Ford has come in the evolution of its more eco-friendly 4-cylinder engines.

How About that Interior?


The Explorer Timberline is fitted with standard rubber floor liners and ActiveX vinyl and cloth seats that are easy to clean. This model features an exclusive Deep Cypress green interior with Deep Tangerine accent stitching that looks like a million bucks. Add to that Ebony black features on the pillars and headliner, Satin Silver accents throughout, and Stone Mesh trim on the instrument panel for good measure. The Timberline logos on the front seats are a nice touch as well.

Seat Back

In the front you get a heated steering wheel, heated seats, and the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ package, which features safety systems like lane centering, evasive steering assist, and adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition. You also get a 360-degree camera and a front camera to help you identify obstacles on the trail.

The Explorer Timberline Could Be Mistaken for a Police Interceptor

Explorer Timberline in the forest

As I said at the outset, this thing looks mean, and I think that’s because its looks are reminiscent of a Ford Police Interceptor package. If you really want people to mistake this thing for a cop car, you can add optional LED lighting on the front for $499.

I personally love the brand-new Forged Green Metallic color with blackouts around the taillights and headlights. There’s even a black Ford Oval. The orange accent on the front bumper combined with the carbon fiber-looking grille gives it a little bling without being too flashy.

Front Wheel of Ford Explorer

The 18-inch wheels are pretty flashy though, with a gloss-black finish and the Timberline logo etched onto them. They are very pretty, but after some off-roading, I suspect they won’t look as nice!

If you want to add some more capability to this rig, you can choose one of three Outfitters packages from Ford, including the Outfitters SkyBox, the Outfitters MegaWarrior, or the Outfitters Frontloader. In all three cases, you get all-weather floor mats inside and crossbars on top of the vehicle for select Yakima accessories.

Overall, the Explorer Timberline looks to be a great addition to the Ford lineup. I doubt it’s going to hit the Rubicon Trail with much success in this form, but you know at some point someone is going to geek this thing out to make it a true off-road beast.

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