2023 Ford Explorer Timberline
2022 Ford Explorer Timberline in Forged Green Metallic

2022 Ford Explorer Timberline

Class: Midsize Crossover

Color: Forged Green Metallic

CG Report Card
Room and Comfort B+
Power and Performance B
Fit and Finish B
Fuel Economy B-
Value B
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big Guy A
Tall Guy A
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.
Engine Specs 300-horsepower 2.3L
Engine Type Turbocharged four
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive Wheels 4WD

Miles driven: 192

Observed fuel economy: 19.1 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/22/21 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $46,245 (not including $1295 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: None

Price as tested: $47,540


Quick Hits

The great: Generous passenger space, deft ride and handling balance, rugged off-road appeal

The good: Plenty of power, ample cargo space, uses regular-grade gasoline

The not so good: Timberline available only as well-equipped near-top-trim-level model


Tom Appel:

Forget sporty. The new extroverted trend in crossovers is not “go fast,” it’s “go anywhere.” And, frankly, while sporty crossovers seem like something of an oxymoron, off-road capable examples feel much more in keeping with the whole SUV paradigm.

New, or recently new, midsize 3-row crossover trail-ready trim levels include the GMC Acadia XT4, Honda Pilot TrailSport, Hyundai Palisade XRT, Kia Telluride X-Pro, and, seen here, the Ford Explorer Timberline.

While the aforementioned vehicles vary in degrees of real off-road prowess, all feature special wheels and tires, addition ride height, and unique exterior and interior trim. And, all are priced somewhere between the midlevel trim and topline editions of each lineup.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week with a 2022 Ford Explorer in Timberline guise. We found that the off-road trim and hardware did little to detract from the Explorer’s basic utility, while spicing up the midsize Ford’s look and giving us a little deep—snow piece of mind.

In fact, were it our money, we might opt for the Timberline in lieu of the high-lux Platinum trim level, because we prefer the casual woodsy look, lower price, and Snow-Belt appropriate gear. And, who knows, we might actually venture off the pavement given the opportunity.

Presented here are the five coolest things about the Explorer Timberline. If you think we missed something, drop us a line. The place to leave comments is down below.

2023 Ford Explorer Timberline
Ford Explorer Timberline

Test Drive Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe XRT


5 Cool Things About the Ford Explorer Timberline

Plenty of Power

Muscular for a base engine, the Ford 2.3-liter “EcoBoost” 4-cylinder serves up plenty of passing and merging power, and ample low-speed shoot-through-traffic torque. Also found under the hood of the Ford Mustang, this smooth four cranks out 300 horsepower and mates well with the standard and very responsive 10-speed automatic. Note that some of our drivers complained that the transmission did too much shifting in stop-and-go traffic, which they found annoying.

Test Drive: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4Xe


Four-Cylinder Mileage

In mostly city driving, we saw better than 19 mpg with our test Timberline. While this number is low relative to the EPA estimates for the truck, it’s better than we generally see for an AWD 3-row crossover, and surprisingly good given the additional ride height and off-road ready tires. And, as new noted above, the Explorer Timberline is no slouch in the muscle department.

Coming Soon: 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport


2023 Ford Explorer Timberline
Ford Explorer Timberline

Impressive Ride and Handling

The Explorer Timberline leans towards sporty handling, and surprises with rewarding steering feel. Ride quality does not suffer however, as the suspension absorbs most road imperfections with little trouble, and settles in nicely for long highway drives

Photo Feature: 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness


Legitimate Off-Road Bits

Though we have not evaluated the Timberline’s off-road performance, we are impressed by some of the hardware and upgrades that come as standard equipment. Chief among the updates is the elevated ride height. The Timberline boasts 8.7 inches of ground clearance, about an inch more than other Explorers. The added clearance will prove beneficial when fording deep snow, or when traversing deeply rutted roads. Also cool is the Torsen-brand rear differential, which will provide added traction when things get rough. The Timberline also comes standard with front tow hooks, but it you actually need to use them, you likely confused your Explorer with a Ford Bronco.

First Spin: 2023 Toyota Sequoia


2023 Ford Explorer Timberline
Ford Explorer Timberline

Cool Look

It may be a short-lived trend, but we really like the black wheels, which are set off nicely by the Forged Green Metallic paint seen on our test truck. Additionally, the judicious use of red exterior accents, especially the tow hooks, add just the right amount of sporty flair. The cabin is appropriately businesslike, though the contrasting orange, sorry, tangerine, upholstery stitching sports things up just enough. The seats themselves look sturdy and inviting; they’re also quite comfy.

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Ford Explorer Timberline Gallery

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Test Drive: 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline

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