Ford has clearly gotten the memo that if we are all going to be forced into tall station wagon crossover SUV things, then we expect some level of off-road credibility and genuine capability to go with them. In such feast your eyes on the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline.

With larger off-road tires, nearly an inch of suspension lift and more robust chassis bits underneath, the new Explorer Timberline promises to more adeptly walk the talk of its brawny new styling elements that clearly say, “come with me if you want an adventure”.

Available in the new Forged Green Metallic exterior color you see here, the Explorer Timberline gets the buffed up exterior treatment starting with a unique grille design with black Ford oval and available horizontal LED off-road auxiliary lights.

Freshly designed LED headlamps, foglamps and an off-road styled front fascia with tow hooks key up the style along with its unique 18-inch black Timberline logo wheels and Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires. Timberline badging all around and blacked out trims complete the look.

Explorer Timberline gets a unique interior shade of Deep Cypress with black headliner and pillar trims. Seating trims include an outdoorsy combination of vinyl and cloth with orange accent stitching throughout and lots of Timberline logos.

Like other Explorer trim grades this year, dash and console trims are upgraded and here come in a unique satin silver twilight and stone mesh combination. Deep rubber floor mats are here as expected as are heaters for the front seats and leather wrapped steering wheel.

Making this all the real deal when it comes to off-road capability and credibility are a special set of heavy-duty struts originally developed in the police interceptor program, taller springs with rebound springs at the front, and off-road calibrated anti-roll bars and bushings all around. The result is a .8-inch increase in ride height.

Standard under body steel skid plates help to protect the engine, transmission and rear drive components. All of these changes along with redesigned bumpers bring about an improved approach angle of 23.5 degrees, a maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, and ground clearance now hits 8.7-inches.

Standard is all-wheel drive with a new Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Power comes from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 300 horsepower delivered through a 10-speed automatic transmission. All of this is made easy with a seven drive mode off-road tailored software traction toy program. A standard Class III tow package allows for up to 5,300 pounds of trailer behind you.

Because Ford is sinking their toes deep in the off-road mud, three dealer supplied outfitters packages including SkyBox, MegaWarrior and FrontLoader. Cute names huh? All three packages give you gear like upgraded floor mats, roof-rack crossbars and various Yakima branded rooftop accessories.

While pricing hasn’t yet been announced, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is available to order now and arrives this summer. My guess is that it will slot somewhere in the middle of the pricing lineup close to the Limited grade.