Why the President of Jeep Is Firing Shots at the Ford Explorer Timberline

Shots fired! Jeep North America President Jim Morrison just suggested that the Ford Explorer Timberline may not be as capable as advertised. Learn what the President of Jeep has to say about the Blue Oval’s off-road SUV trim here.

Jeep North America President doesn’t think highly of the Ford Explorer Timberline

A black Ford Explorer Timberline is carrying a load and off-roading.
The Ford Explorer Timberline | Ford

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Ford recently introduced the Explorer Timberline, a Ford Explorer trim that the Blue Oval claims is the most capable off-road Explorer ever. The Timberline comes at a time when off-roading trims seem to be the latest automotive industry fad. Trucks with off-roading capabilities like the Toyota Tacoma have sold well during the pandemic. More folks have discovered off-roading as a pastime, and as a result, there is a growing demand in America for vehicles that can withstand trails and rough terrain.

According to The Drive, there may be some smoke and mirrors involved with the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline’s supposed off-road capabilities. Saying the Explorer Timberline isn’t truly trail-ready seems like a huge accusation, but plenty of automakers are marketing new trims as “the best off-road (insert model) ever”. Honda recently introduced its coming TrailSport off-road trim. Even the Toyota Sienna minivan is getting an off-road trim.

The President of Jeep North America has reasons to be skeptical about yet another emerging off-road trim. Ford hasn’t produced a great off-road SUV in a long time. There’s the 2021 Ford Bronco, but that thing is unattainable for most consumers. Off-roading plays a huge role in the appeal of most popular Jeep models, so it’s understandable that the Jeep North America President would take a shot at the competition.

The Ford Explorer doesn’t exactly excel at off-roading. The real question is, is the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline really the off-roading trim that the Blue Oval claims it is?

Does the Ford Explorer Timberline perform well off-road?

A red Ford Explorer is on display.
The Ford Explorer | David McNew via Getty Images

RELATED: The 2021 Ford Explorer Isn’t Recommended by Consumer Reports

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline starts at $46,015. The base Explorer model starts at $32,925. So what does an extra $13,090 get you?

Ford’s newest off-road trim comes standard with a heated steering wheel, cargo hooks, four 12-volt power outlets, Ford’s ActiveX synthetic seating material, and many other features. It also includes front, rear, and underbody steel skid plates for off-road protection.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline includes an 0.8-inch lift. It also features Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires as well as standard all-wheel drive. It turns out that the Timberline is equipped to tackle off-road challenges. Its suspension upgrade, all-terrain tires, and skid plates offer a better off-roading experience than the base model.

Should you buy a 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline?

RELATED: The Ford Explorer Beats the Toyota 4Runner in Crucial Areas

The Ford Explorer off-road trim isn’t cheap. If you insist on buying a roomy off-roading SUV, the Explorer Timberline is a decent option, but there are plenty of other off-roading options out there. If you’re willing to purchase a truck instead of an SUV, you can save over $10,000 by purchasing a 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road model.

Is the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline the best off-road SUV or off-road vehicle on the market? Not by a long shot. However, despite the Jeep North America President’s jab, the Explorer Timberline is equipped to be a decent off-roading vehicle.

RELATED: The Ford Explorer’s Third Row Is Its Only Advantage Over the Toyota Highlander