Overview & Reviews
Pickup? SUV? How about both? The specialized Ford Explorer Sport Trac was a vehicle meant to offer the best of both worlds, which is to say the cargo-hauling ability of a pickup and the comfortable interior of an SUV. It was, in essence, an Explorer with a pickup bed grafted to the back.
There have been two generations of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. We were never very impressed by the original. Though clever in concept, it lacked in execution. The first Sport Trac was low-tech, underpowered and saddled with poor handling characteristics. The redesigned second-generation model, which debuted for the 2007 model year, was a much better package overall thanks to improvements in its power, cargo and towing capacity, and handling and comfort characteristics.
In most respects, Ford succeeded at its goal of building a vehicle that could act as both a pickup and an SUV. For consumers in need of a vehicle for hauling recreational gear or just something that can be used for light-duty trips to Home Depot, the Sport Trac should work just fine. We recommend shoppers take a look at some competing automakers' crew cab midsize pickups of the same time period, however, as they fulfilled much of the same role and offered advantages in refinement, performance and cab/body style configurations.
Most Recent Ford Explorer Sport Trac Models
The most recent generation of the five-passenger Ford Explorer Sport Trac was offered from 2007-'09. It came in a single body style: a four-door crew cab pickup. Although it shared the fundamental structure of the Explorer SUV, the Sport Trac was nearly 17 inches longer. The added length came from its longer wheelbase, which allowed room for the 4-foot cargo bed as well as plenty of rear legroom.
The Sport Trac's bed was constructed from sheet-molded composite (SMC), which was lighter than steel and wouldn't rust or dent. There were three integral storage compartments, and options included a folding cargo-bed extender and a hard tonneau cover. The bed contained a 12-volt power outlet.
Two trims were offered: base XLT and luxury Limited. The XLT's standard features included power mirrors and windows, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning and a CD player. The Limited adds larger 18-inch wheels, color-keyed bumpers and mirrors, foglights and side-step bars. Major options include a sunroof, dual-zone climate control and a navigation system.
There were two engines offered in this generation. The standard 4.0-liter V6 engine (210 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque) was matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. The available 4.6-liter V8 (292 hp and 300 lb-ft) came paired with a six-speed automatic. There was also a choice of either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
In reviews of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, we found the vehicle competent, with no major faults. Acceleration is average, even with the V8, and handling pleasant enough to fulfill Ford's target of carlike driving qualities. In addition, the cabin was comfortable and worked well enough. Although adequate in most respects, the Sport Trac wasn't outstanding in any one area. Accordingly, we'd advise consumers shopping for a multipurpose crew cab pickup to check out the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier before making a decision.
Changes throughout this generation's brief span were minor, with Ford adding the Sync system for 2008 and upgrading the optional navigation system for '09.
Past Ford Explorer Sport Trac Models
Sold from 2001-'05, the first Ford Explorer Sport Trac suffered from the launch-model blues. It was based on the old, second-generation Explorer and built around the Explorer's 4.0-liter V6 engine, chassis and suspension. At the time, we noted that we liked the vehicle's dual-nature configuration and many available features, but disliked its sloppy handling, limited towing and hauling capabilities, and subpar off-road abilities.
Changes to this generation were minor, so used-model shoppers should probably not feel a need to focus on any particular year.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 555.00
2004 SporTrac - 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By Dale Hepworth - December 12 - 6:10 am
The SporTrac is a pleasure to drive. Literally drives like a car, but still can haul with the bed. However, steering is a bit wobbly, meaning, not as tight as in my old '99 Ford Ranger. Love the increased horsepower and 5 speed auto transmission. Sometimes you really have to put the pedal to the metal in order to shift into a higher gear. Other than the above, I would buy another one
Why? - 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By JB - December 11 - 1:40 pm
Ok truck, but a bit small. I'd be a lot happier if the bed were a foot longer. It drives well enough on the freeway, but leans and lurches about on the twisty stuff. Also, beware the W-I-D-E turning radius which means it's not very nimble in parking lots and garages. The stock seats are comfortable. This is a good thing because they have only basic adjustments. The OHC engine performs quite well compared to my old anemic '94 model. Gas mileage is appalling, however, yielding a solid 14.5mpg in pure suburban driving and topping out at 21 for 100% interstate trips. For the gas it burns, I think I'd better off with a full sized truck.
Versatile, Underrated Hybrid - 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By taurusman11 - December 9 - 2:00 am
Ford 4 WD Sport Trac is solid, quiet, highriding, and well-appointed. The price is similar to the Escape, but the Sport Trac is a serious vehicle while the Escape is a fun run- about. The Sport Trac offer versatility: a comfortable 5 passenger car, a short bed pick up, an SUV. The back seats fold down flat to provide great interior cargo space; and, there's 5-foot external bed (6 extended.The Sport Trac has big, thick upholstering. The "utility" in the Escape SUV is very limited, while the usefulness of the Sport Trac inspires imagination. The Sport Trac engine has a powerful deep rumble which sound as if it can "take it".
Thoughts on Trac - 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By Mr. Wilson - December 4 - 10:00 am
I really like this vehicle. It's comparatively well appointed for the price. It's comfortable and fun to drive. The bed offers a number of hauling options with the tonneau cover (which creates a fully lockable water tight "trunk") and the bed extender. The Trac isn't as huge as some of it's competitors; therefore, it fits neatly in the garage. I would recommend this vehicle to anyone who needs to have the ability to haul cargo and people. I read a review on Edmunds.com suggesting that the vehicle vibrates at highway speeds. I have not been able to reproduce this issue in vehicles I test drove or in the one I purchased.
sportrak rev. - 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By mark lascko - November 28 - 10:00 am
had my sportrak for almost 2yrs.now still looks great, get many compliments. have had no trouble with it. great dependable ford quality!!! would definately buy another one!!!
Trac Lover - 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By dizazter - November 22 - 6:30 pm
I've been searching for a 4x4 for the last month, and kept coming back to the Sport Trac. I got a great deal on this '05 with tons of features that will more than meet my needs. Will be great for work and personal travel and elegant enough for a night out on the town.
Love my little truck - 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By JCJsMom - November 22 - 2:00 am
Ive never personally owned a truck/SUV BUT I would do it again in a heart beat. I love this little truck with a huge heart. Has everything I wanted on a truck..except the size and bulkiness. I can carry what I need to and still have the inside room for 4-5 people. The rear air and radio with ear phone plug in is great for the kids..BUT I love my little truck just to drive!
Lovin my ST so far - 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By JerichoJeff - November 17 - 11:30 am
Bought our ST as a utility vehicle for around the house; we needed a truck with 4 drs and a real back seat. Our ST is exactly what we were looking for. It handles well, rides wonderfully, and is super comfortable inside, even in the back seat (I'm 6'1", and can sit very comfortably in the back). It's a great looking vehicle too. I've received continuous comments on it since getting it. The roof rails are great, and allowed me to attach my bike rack to the top in minutes. The tie downs in the back are excellent, as well as the composite bed. So far, the only thing we've had to be concerned about is the fuel economy. But really, it's no better or worse on gas than any other truck. We love it!
Have you driven a Ford lately? - 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By bankguy - November 5 - 3:16 am
This is my first Ford after years of GM and Honda. I must say that I like my Sport Trac better than my wife's Pilot. The driver's seating seems to have been designed for me. I am very comfortable driving this vehicle. Build quality is great and the vehicle is very tight. I have not had a single issue since I bought this truck. Gas mileage could be better - but it could be worse.
Ford owner - 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
By blawesppla - October 30 - 1:13 pm
I am a large person and I am very comfortable in the truck. My wife says the same. Handles and runs great. Having trouble finding accessories for the 2007 Sport Trac. Every one tells me not for another 2 to 3 months.