A quick look around the automotive market landscape will reveal that we’re in a golden age of off-road trucks and SUVs. Whether its fueled by a sense of adventure, a desire to have an all-in-one vehicle, or as a bug-out hedge against the collapse of society as we know it, people are buying these go-anywhere vehicles in all shapes and sizes. Over at Ford Motor Company, that’s especially the case, as the automaker has sliced and portioned out this market space with an entry of some kind in just about every segment. From the compact Bronco Sport, to the F-150 Raptor, chances are there’s a Ford off-road vehicle for customers. And that expansion continues to take place with the Timberline family of SUVs, which started with the Explorer Timberline, and grows with the Expedition Timberline.
Early data suggests that Ford Timberline customers are eyeing the Bronco as well, but the two-row recreationally-positioned SUV can’t suit the needs of a three-row SUV when it comes to seating, cargo space, or towing capabilities. With that in mind, a well-heeled buyer may get both.
“We get cross shopped with Bronco… but they live really well together in the showroom. I expect in the future you’ll see people with both,” said Lee Newcombe, Ford Explorer Brand Manager.
As for the larger Ford Expedition Timberline, which comes in at roughly $70,000, customers are looking for an even more capable three-row SUV that maximize both utility and capability for the price.
“On the Expedition (Timberline) side, they need the size, space, comfort and capability with Timberline… they’re doing things you just can’t in other vehicles,” said Devin McParlane, Ford Expedition Brand Manager.
Ford Timberline Family: More Than Just An Appearance Package
While some of Ford’s rivals downplay the Timberline family as little more than orange tow hooks, the fact is that both the Explorer and Expedition saw extensive engineering to take occupants and their cargo far into the great wide nowhere. These were capabilities I experienced recently at an official Ford Timberline event at Holly Oaks off-road park in Michigan.
“On Explorer Timberline there’s a Torsen limited slip, bigger tires, bigger ride height… underbody protection. This is not an appearance package,” Newcombe said.
Lee went onto say that the Timberline variant is “the fastest turning (Explorer) model out of the lot. It’s exceeded our expectations in terms of mix, and it’s attracting a younger buyer.” The current sales mix of the Explorer Timberline is roughly 10 percent. With the larger Expedition Timberline just hitting the market, sales data is still premature, so there’s no news on that mix just yet. However, Ford’s seeing many customers go for the top shelf models.
“Expedition Platinum, Stealth and Timberline – a combination of our High series have been turning pretty equally well. And on expedition the capability is incredible,” said McParlane. “We’ve got an eLSD standard, steel skid plates underneath… it’s really about no limits. You’re giving the customer all the confidence if they’re going to that more remote camp site. If anything is in question, you’re removing that question with this package.”
Stay tuned for more Ford Expedition Timberline and Explorer Timberline here at MC&T as it happens.