Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A green 2023 Ford Explorer Timberline loaded with camping gear on its roof rack is shown parked on a rocky outcropping with mountains in the background.

The Ford Explorer Is One Tough SUV

There’s a reason that America’s best-selling vehicle for the past four decades straight has been the Ford F-150. Ford is known for making tough and reliable vehicles. The Ford Explorer is built on the same frame as the Ford Ranger pickup, providing a strong frame with the durability you expect from such a revered truck. The Explorer is built to function great on and off the road, and all models have available 4WD functionality, allowing Explorer owners to easily navigate many terrains. A test drive at a Ford Explorer dealership will satiate all potential buyers with the hands-on insight and information they need to understand why this SUV is so popular. Living up to its name, the Ford Explorer gives drivers the flexibility to travel off the pavement and into the wilderness.

Camping, hiking, and regular everyday commutes become a pleasure when you use the Ford Explorer. It provides a comfortable ride, a capable engine, and some great off-road features. When searching for a new SUV, many buyers consider the Ford Explorer for its reliability, innovation, and toughness. “Built Ford Tough” isn’t just a saying—it’s Ford’s reputation. Millions of people trust Ford, which is why Ford continues to produce the country’s best-selling vehicles decade after decade.

Ford Explorer Timberline, an Off-Road Beast

What makes a great off-roading vehicle? Well, for starters, a strong and durable suspension system tailored to off-roading, skid plates to protect the mechanical parts on the vehicle’s underside, and a decent amount of clearance to allow for clearing obstacles. The Ford Explorer has decent off-road capabilities even with its base model, but the Timberline takes these to a whole new level, adding several key abilities and features that help it to perform in off-road applications. It comes standard with Intelligent 4WD, which provides seven selectable drive modes for differing terrain conditions, including snow, mud, gravel, and dry or wet tarmac.

Skid plates, limited-slip rear axle, off-road front struts, and rear shocks provide some amazing upgrades to the already great base Explorer. The skid plates give peace of mind by protecting potentially sensitive areas of the vehicle’s underside when driving off-road. The limited-slip rear axle provides better traction in off-road driving. The upgraded front struts and rear shocks have been devised to handle rugged terrain in such a way that you, your passengers, and your cargo aren’t shaken to bits.

The Timberline comes with a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 with auto start-stop technology, although you can opt to have the auto start-stop feature exchanged for a standard ignition. Also available is an engine block heater, which really helps those who live in a considerably cold climate. Finally, the other biggest factor in off-roading is the tires; thankfully, the Explorer Timberline has large 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires. Between the tires and the suspension, this SUV has a ground clearance of 8.66 inches, allowing for good flexibility in off-road driving. The Timberline is truly a capable off-road SUV.

Campers are shown setting up a campsite around a green 2023 Ford Explorer Timberline with bicycles loaded on its roof rack in an arid canyon.

A Powerhouse of a Powertrain

The Ford Explorer has a fearsome powertrain that allows towing loads up to 5,600 lbs. With several engine options—a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4, a 3.0L V6, or a 3.3L Hybrid—Ford provides adequate power options for varying needs. The 2.3L engine produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 5,300 lbs, which shows how well Ford has designed and optimized this engine. The 3.0L V6 provides 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque for the max towing capacity of 5,600 lbs. They even have a hybrid 3.3L V6 Explorer, which can tow up to 5,000 lbs. All this power is available while carrying seven occupants, including the driver.

The ten-speed transmission makes shifting in and out of gears smoother on the engine and the transmission, which provides increased usability and less wear on the individual parts. Its breadth of speeds also allows for maximum torque to be achieved more often than on lower-speed transmissions. Between the powertrain and the multiple drive modes available, the Ford Explorer can handle almost anything thrown at it.

What Makes a Good Ford Explorer Dealership

Finding the right dealership these days can be a real struggle. It is similar to the search for a good mechanic; even though there are many great mechanics out there, finding the right fit can be difficult. When a good mechanic gets “found,” tons of locals will end up flocking to the same shop. One metric of a successful mechanic or dealership is the loyalty of their customers. When a dealership treats its customers well, clients routinely return to buy cars from them. So the first step in finding a great dealership is to find reviews online or ask friends and family who they know and trust in the area. Some names are sure to rank above the rest.

The next step in finding a great Ford dealership is to find a dealership that has been around for a long time. Dealerships that have only been around for a few years are unproven; this doesn’t mean they are bad or couldn’t be good, just that they are untested, which could be a red flag. Another major indicator is the awards that a dealership has won; many dealerships compete for awards given out either by Ford or other local and regional agencies. A dealership that treats its customers well will likely have received many of these accolades.

Finally, just going to visit a nearby Ford dealership can provide great insight into how they do business. Some salesmen will practically fight each other for access to the next potential sale, then try to sell a vehicle to a customer that is not a great fit for them. A good salesman will ask lots of questions to understand what their customer needs, then will help find the perfect vehicle as opposed to trying to make a quick buck. It is usually easy to tell when a dealership encourages sleazy sales techniques and if they’ve hired salesmen who have the customers’ best interests in mind. While it can be challenging, finding the right Ford dealership will provide long-term peace of mind because good dealerships stick around for a long time.

A silver 2023 Ford Explorer with a loaded roof rack is shown embarking on its first overlanding expedition through the desert after leaving a Ford Explorer dealer.

Finding the Perfect Ford Explorer

Ford has been making tough, durable, and fun SUVs for over 50 years and has proven their quality engineering and manufacturing. The Ford Explorer proves its quality year after year, and the 2024 Explorer has some amazing features that arguably make it the best Explorer to date. From the baseline trim to the King Ranch and Platinum trims, the Explorer gives buyers more than enough options for power, design, and functionality. Whether someone merely needs an SUV for the seven seats or they like wandering off the beaten track with family or friends, the Explorer has plenty of features to make anyone happy.

When finding the right version of the Explorer proves challenging, many turn to their local Ford dealership to get professional insight and get their questions answered. These experts can tell how each feature impacts the functionality and which trim options come with which features. Salesmen obviously want to sell vehicles, but good salesmen want their customers to be happy with the vehicle, so they really want to dig into what they need and fulfill those needs. Once customers have a better idea of what they are looking for, they can enter the test-driving phase—definitely one of the most fun phases! The best way to truly learn about a vehicle before you buy is by driving it yourself.

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