Ford Authority

Refreshed Ford Explorer Timberline For China: First Photos

In the U.S., the current-gen Ford Explorer debuted for the 2020 model year, though a refresh is coming in 2024, as Ford Authority previously reported, while both Explorer ST and Timberline variants have already been spied testing. However, in China, a refreshed  Explorer went on sale last October, sporting unique styling elements when compared to its U.S. counterpart, such as a full-width LED light bar. Now, it seems as if China is also getting a refreshed version of the off-road-focused Ford Explorer Timberline as well, as photos of that forthcoming model have been posted to the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website, along with some information about the rugged crossover.

This is notable because the Ford Explorer Timberline has only been available in North America since its launch, but now, it appears to be expanding its reach to China, even though the rugged crossover has yet to be officially revealed. However, like the regular Explorer, it’s unclear if the forthcoming refreshed version destined for the U.S. will share any of its styling cues. In recent years, Ford’s Chinese models have diverged from their American counterparts in that regard as the automaker tailors its products to that market.

Dimensionally speaking, the Chinese Ford Explorer Timberline is roughly the same size as its American counterpart, while tire size is also the same at P265/65R18. However, the wheel design present here is a bit different, as it’s painted black, but one section is finished in orange, much like the recently-launched Ford Maverick Tremor.

There are plenty of other unique styling elements present here as well, including a front grille with oval-shaped cutouts, orange tow hooks, and a two-tone paint treatment with an orange center (a color that isn’t available on the U.S.-spec Explorer Timberline), which is accented by a black roof and black lower body cladding. In the rear, “Explorer” and “Timberline 4WD” badging is joined by “Changan Ford” – the automaker’s joint venture in that country – which is written in Chinese. Overall, it’s fairly similar to the American Explorer Timberline, but with a few key differences to set it apart, as is the case with the regular model.

We’ll have more on the Explorer soon, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Shelby32

    Its amazing the Chinese get the updated vehicles before we do. Is Ford now a Chinese owned company it sure looks like they put them first now. They take away ours cars make us buy outdated vehicles with less tech or delete all the tech from a vehicle you order. I was going to order a F150 but found out they are deleting the tech like no heated steering wheel, no massaging seats, no vehicle alarm, and no park assist on top of that. Well I told them they can keep it for someone else. Dodge, GMC and Chevy have no holds like these Ford needs fix this soon.

    1. The Retired Viking

      Ford is still building customer loyalty in the biggest automotive market in the world. Ford knows that here in the USA, they have enough of a loyal customer base that they could sell a 10 year old car is new and people will buy it. Why? Because it’s a Ford.

      1. Tim

        So then they can sell us mediocre vehicles while China gets the interesting better appointed vehicles….that thinking won’t last long.

    2. Michael K

      It’s important to keep in mind that this is a Chinese developed and locally built variant of the Explorer, our 2024 update is not related. Most of the Chinese-built Fords and Lincolns are heavily customized for the local market (especially on the interior) and go through more frequent updates.

      1. RWFA

        Thanks for this necessary clarification Michael.

        It’s so tedious to read all the grievance FOMO comments from folks thinking Ford management exists just to screw them.

        1. Tim

          If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck……

          1. RWFA

            Folks using this phrase always remind me of the Marx Brothers’ take on the duck test:

            “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

      2. DesertRacer225

        I’m in the market for an Explorer for my wife. Is this variant available here in the USA?

        1. DesertRacer225

          I reread the article, for China only. I need to read up on all the variations of the US model. Sorry for the interruption, carry on!

  2. Tim

    Looking in the mirror, some of the negative comments made about Ford and their products are made by long time Ford owners who are voicing their opinion.


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