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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Off-Road Capable Crossovers Is A Thing


It looks like Subaru was on the right track when they created an off-road-centric trim of its Outback called the Outback Wilderness. How so? Well, Ford is now getting into the act with the Explorer Timberline—an off-road capable version of its 7-seater mid-sized crossover.

Changes to the Explorer Timberline starts with its all-wheel drive system. The automatic torque-adjusting system adds a Torsen limited slip differential which automatically sends torque to the wheel with the best traction and prevents the other wheel from spinning.



The Explorer Timberline also applies learnings rom the Explorer Police Interceptor with its off-road capable heavy-duty shock absorbers and high sidewall 265/65R18 tires. The steering, stabilizer bars, and springs were all adapted as a result. The overall ride height is up close to 21 mm. Along with unique bumpers, it results in a 23.5-degree approach and 23.7-degree departure angle. Minimum ground clearance is set close to 221 mm (equal to the Subaru Evoltis).

Underneath, it adds standard steel skid plates. The underbody protection starts at the front and continues under the engine and transmission and through the rear.

Powering the Explorer Timberline is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque. Paired with a 10-speed automatic, it can tow up to 2,400 kilograms.



Aesthetically, it gets a blackout treatment on the head- and taillights, a black Ford oval, and a set of Red Ember tow hooks at the front. It also comes pre-wired for auxiliary driving lights as well. Inside, it gets easy-to-clean cloth seats and standard rubber floor liners.

Ford says that over the last decade, SUVs have jumped in popularity. From 36 of the total market in the US, it now accounts for 55 percent of all sales there. Plus, Ford says there’s an uptick in the number of SUV owners who go off-road—up 56 percent over the last three years. 

With that in mind, it looks like we’ll be seeing more and more off-road centric crossovers real soon.

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