Always at the helm of innovation, Ford is constantly looking for ways to improve its lineup and attract customers to Ford dealers around the country. The Explorer is an excellent example of this as the best-selling SUV offers sophisticated on-road performance and a comfortable interior, but Ford recognized the model could be better and more adventurous. So, with the addition of off-road equipment and innovative technology, Ford debuted the latest in the Explorer lineup–the Explorer Timberline–in 2021. Today, the 2022 Timberline returns to the Explorer lineup and offers a host of features and options that give drivers the ability to answer the call of the wild with confidence.
In true Ford fashion, the automaker didn’t simply add a trim package of off-road features to the Explorer and call it a day. Instead, Ford approached the Explorer Timberline just as Henry Ford would’ve done–by looking at it from the ground up. Designed specifically for the trail, here’s a look at what makes the 2022 Explorer Timberline an exceptional adventurer.
Specialized Off-Road Equipment
The key to any purpose-built off-road vehicle is the inclusion of specialized equipment and features that allow it to stand up to the rigors of the trail. As Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s President of the Americas & International Markets Group, explains, “Consumer data has shown us that now more than ever, customers want to get outside and explore nature with friends and family. Timberline hits a new sweet spot with these customers who want an ideal combination of passenger space, moderate off-road capability, and great manners around town.” To achieve this, Ford took the best-selling Explorer with its base 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine and added an exclusive suite of features and design components to make it off-road capable without sacrificing the performance and quality standards expected of one of the most popular SUVs in America.
Performance and Handling
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine utilizes a turbocharger and a 10-speed automatic transmission to achieve 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Ford engineers understand that it’s vital to send torque to the wheel or wheels that need it most to maximize traction on the trail. That’s why the Explorer Timberline features a 3.58 Torsen limited-slip rear differential that maximizes traction and minimizes wheel spin for optimal handling in even the slipperiest conditions.
Four-wheel-drive is a prerequisite for any vehicle destined for the trail and the Explorer Timberline is no exception. Ford equips the Explorer Timberline with its Intelligent four-wheel-drive system that constantly optimizes traction based on the driving conditions. In addition, the Explorer Timberline’s Terrain Management System extends the SUV’s capability and your control in the driver’s seat by outfitting the model with seven driving models, including Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, and Slippery.
The Explorer Timberline also comes with Hill Descent Control. This feature is surprisingly helpful on the trail as it maintains a constant speed as the SUV descends steep terrain. This gives you the ability to focus all your attention on navigating the path ahead.
Suspension and Underbody Protection
Ford outfits the Explorer Timberline with a specialized suspension system and lift. The system features heavy-duty, off-road capable shocks initially designed for the Explorer Police Interceptor. The shocks constantly absorb the bumps of the terrain to optimize ride quality and handling. The Explorer Timberline’s suspension lift is also notable and makes it even more capable on the trail by increasing the SUV’s ground clearance and improving its approach, breakover, and departure angles.
The standard Explorer offers 7.9 inches of ground clearance while the Timberline offers 8.66 inches, an increase of 0.76 inches. As a result, the approach angle of the Explorer Timberline improves from 21 degrees to 23.5 degrees. Similarly, the Explorer Timberline has a departure angle of 23.7 degrees, up from 22 degrees on the standard Explorer. Finally, the ramp breakover angle improves from 17.1 degrees to 18.9 degrees. All of this means that you’ll have an easier time getting up, over, and around obstacles in a Timberline than you would in any other 2022 Explorer.
To protect your Explorer Timberline when you are traversing the rocks, logs, and ruts in your path, Ford fits the model with a set of steel skid plates that protect the front, rear, and underbelly. The plates are strategically positioned to build a barrier between the environment and critical components like the oil pan, crankcase, and differential. Finally, Ford completes the Timberline with a set of Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch high gloss painted aluminum wheels to give you the grip you need for off-roading.
Made for the Trail, Always Ready for the Road
While the 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline is designed for off-roading, Ford also ensures the SUV is a solid on-road performer. The Explorer’s Terrain Management System allows you to switch the drivetrain between 2WD and 4WD based on the condition at hand. This boosts the SUV’s on-road performance, improves acceleration and handling, and optimizes efficiency. In turn, the Timberline is no slouch on the pavement with a launch from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 6.8 seconds and an average fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Also capable of towing up to 5,300 pounds, the Timberline is more than a one-trick pony.
The Timberline’s interior features three rows of seats and offers space for six passengers with second-row captain’s chairs and a 50-50 split bench in the third row. Because it’s destined for muddy adventures, Ford outfits the Timberline with exclusive ActiveX upholstery with deep tangerine accent stitching and the Timberline logo. A heated steering wheel and heated front row seats add another level of comfort and might lead to a few arguments over who gets to ride shotgun in the winter. Fortunately, everyone wins. Ford outfits the Timberline with a six-speaker sound system, the renowned SYNC infotainment system, and a complimentary subscription to SiriusXM that ensures everyone is entertained wherever the road leads.
Rugged Design Befitting of an Off-Road King
Ford ensures the Timberline is instantly recognizable with a sophisticated and rugged exterior design that leaves no question that it’s destined for the trail. Blackout treatments on the headlights offset the dark, carbonized gray front grille that’s pre-wired and gives you the option to install Ford Performance auxiliary lights for better visibility in low-light conditions. The Timberline also features unique badging that further distinguishes it from the rest of the Explorer lineup.
Although the 2022 Explorer Timberline comes standard in Stone Blue Metallic, Ford gives you plenty of exterior color options. You can choose between five unique colors: Forged Green, Star White Metallic Tri-Coat, Carbonized Gray, Iconic Silver, and Agate Black. This gives you the freedom to customize the Timberline to your liking without sacrificing its rugged and trail-ready design.
On the (Off)-Road Again
The 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline joins a growing list of specialized off-road models like the Bronco and Bronco Sport. However, unlike those models, the Timberline is a specialized off-road trim built around the existing Explorer platform. The result is a specialized trim that gives drivers the ability to get behind the wheel of the best-selling SUV without sacrificing their sense of adventure or wanderlust.