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The Ford Explorer Timberline Edition: For Those into Pushing Envelopes

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The trend towards vehicle variants adapted for off-roading continues apace. Ford has presented the 2021 Explorer Timberline edition, designed for families who want a little more adventure than the regular version of the SUV is built to offer. This is the first of what will likely be several Timberline editions of SUVs in Ford’s lineup.

The looks
To begin with, the Timberline edition looks the part, starting with a meaner-looking Carbonized Gray front grille, blackened Ford logo and dark accents around the lights, plus a set of red tow hooks at the front, rated for 150 percent of the gross vehicle weight. Also present are exclusive fog lamps and an available Ford Performance auxiliary light set for the grille for even more trail lighting. The Timberline edition also gets the nifty Forged Green Metallic paint finish you see here.

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2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, profile
Photo: Ford
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, profile

The performance
More importantly, there’s substance to match the style here, meaning there are high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires and new heavy-duty shocks, and a ride height raised by 0.8 inches (here 8.7 inches compared to the 7.9 of the regular Explorer). Special dampers were imported from the Police Interceptor variant and tuned specifically for this model. Also adapted are the springs, stabilizer bars and steering rack. Ford has also included a unique front rebound spring that serves to prevent violent impacts on trails from being felt in the cabin.

Beneath the vehicle are skid plates for the front and under the engine, transmission and other key elements. It’s possible with the Timberline to take an approach angle of 23.5 degrees (up by 2.5) and a departure angle od 23.7 degrees (up by 1.7).

To help move the thing, Ford put in a new Torsen limited-slip rear differential that sends torque to the rear wheel that has traction while keeping the other from spinning. As expected, all-wheel drive is standard. The only engine for the variant is a 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinde, good for 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque in conjunction with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Also notable are the seven drive modes available via the Timberline variant’s Terrain Management System, two of which are the off-road focused Trail and Deep Snow/Sand. Hill Descent Control comes standard, as does the Class III towing package, which delivers a capacity of up to 5,300 lb or 2,404 kg.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, interior
Photo: Ford
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, interior

The interior
Here buyers get Deep Cypress trim to match that green exterior. That trim gets a Stone Mesh pattern and a silver backing for the center stack. The door panels, meanwhile, harbour orange inserts, while the seats, steering wheel and door trim get orange stitching. And of course there’s special badging on the headrests.

Ford equips all Timberline models with standard rubber floor liners and ActiveX seat trim for easy cleaning. Cold weather adventurers will appreciate the standard heated seats and steering wheel.

Buyers can choose from three possible Outfitter packages, called SkyBox, MegaWarrior and FrontLoader, each of which focus on different types of outdoor activities. All three include all-weather floor mats, crossbars and a select Yakima rooftop accessory.

The pricing
Starting price for the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is $50,799 CAD, which is on par with the model’s Limited edition (and less than either the sportier ST variant or the range-topping Platinum edition).

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, front
Photo: Ford
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline, front
Photos:Ford
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline pictures