Rising to the Kunlun Mountain Summit

May 08, 2023
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Ford Explorer Timberline made its official debut at the 20th Shanghai International Auto Show. This special edition model is another hero product developed by Ford China Design Center following the release of Ford Explorer. Ford Explorer Timberline combines the sporty off-road style of Ford's Timberline product line with design elements inspired from China’s majestic Kunlun Mountains, creating a flagship SUV that strikes the perfect balance between ruggedness and refined luxury tailored for Chinese consumers.

Bringing the yacht concept to the road: A new benchmark for luxury off-road driving

Ford Explorer perfectly represents the American spirit with its dynamic power and sense of adventure. For over 30 years, Ford Explorer has been recognized worldwide for its excellent sporty performance and distinctive design. 

As a special edition model within the Ford Explorer product lineup, Ford Explorer Timberline delivers a unique design with a more powerful and “wild” off-road style, one which is favored by many off-road and outdoor enthusiasts.

This new edition of Ford Explorer Timberline is called “Kun Lun” in Chinese, named after the Kunlun Mountains of China. In Chinese mythology, this mountain range is known as “the grandfather of all mountains” and represents the bold spirit of fearless explorers – perfectly expressing the concept of this rugged and luxurious off-road SUV.

Kunlun mountains witness the rugged evolution of a luxury SUV

New Ford Explorer Timberline inherits the Timberline product line's exclusive "mountain label", a graphic that brings together three peaks which symbolize the famed Kongur Tagh, Muztagh Ata, and Kongur Tube Tagh mountains. This design can be seen in the C-pillar on both sides of the vehicle, in hub details and within the cabin’s interior, evoking the beauty and strength of the three majestic peaks with an altitude of more than 7,500 meters. The label is also a nod to Ford Explorer Timberline’s spirit of adventure to follow the call of the wild and natural wonders of the world.

Colors of Ford Explorer Timberline Click to Enlarge

The new "Twister Orange" color is inspired by the spectacular "Golden Mountain Sunshine" of the Kunlun Mountains, and is cleverly used in details such as wheel hub elements and tow hooks. In addition, Ford Explorer Timberline is also available in three other exterior body colors:  Shadow Black (塞舌尔黑), Lustrous Grey (白令海灰) and White Platinum (格陵兰白) . Together, these colors – orange, black, gray and white – represent four major types of natural terrain: sand, snow, mountain and forest terrain, to signify the ability of Ford Explorer Timberline to meet the many various needs and preferences of adventure enthusiasts.

The intense blackened hue and hard texture of basalt, as well as its high resistance to stress and wear, are echoed in Explorer Timberline’s super-strong 18-inch wheels, which also feature an asymmetrical hub design, with different sizes of basalt in  varying porosity, to heighten the dramatic visual effect.

Intelligent cockpit connects seamlessly with nature

As a large luxury SUV, Ford Explorer's cabin design has been praised for its commanding and confident presence combined with exquisite details. With its King size smart cockpit, new Explorer Timberline maintains Ford Explorer's sturdy, open interior configuration with a striking 27” display, perfectly uniting a sense of luxury and technological strength. With additional Kunlun design embellishments, the cabin also presents a comfortable and carefree environment enhanced with adventurous charm.

Interior Design Click to Enlarge

The moment the door opens, the welcome step of the Kunlun Sky Ladder comes into view, shining with the exclusive mountain and Timberline logos. The textured pattern is based on the contour lines of Kongur Tagh, the highest peak of Kunlun Mountain, which stands at an altitude of 7,649 meters. This creative design element is also used in the start-up animation of the center display, seat texture, center control trim panel and central armrest area. 

As for the interior color matching, the Ford China design team was inspired by the beautiful scenery of Karakul Lake, which sits at 3,600 meters above sea level. The color contrast between quicksand rice and jade black, complemented by jumpsuit-orange stitching, creates a richly rugged visual effect.

Seat Click to Enlarge

The seat material is developed and designed in collaboration with world-famous leather supplier Eagle Ottawa, featuring genuine leather and “Dinamica” superfiber environmental protection suede. Dinamica was selected for its ability to retain the natural porosity of leather, while maintaining an ultra-soft and delicate texture that delivers first-class comfort.

The launch of Ford Explorer Timberline once again demonstrates Ford China Design Center's deep understanding of Chinese culture and market demands. The vehicle stays true to the bold spirit of Ford Explorer, while integrating the grandiose and ambitiously adventurous attitude represented by the Kunlun Mountains – for a rugged, off-road concept that delivers innovative and meaningful design. From Explorer to Timberline, Ford China Design Center has not only delivered key upgrades in style and performance, but also a spirit of originality and daring to reach new heights.