Ford introduced a brand new vehicle concept to its lineup in 2000 with the Explorer Sports Trac, and critics were't sure what to call it since the word "hybrid" was already reserved for electric-gas vehicles. Call it an SUV with a pickup truck identity or a cross between a Ford F-150 and and Explorer. It can haul and tow while letting passengers enjoy the refined SUV interior. The Cargo pickup bed was manufactured with the same steel that the automaker used on its F150 trucks. Notable features of the Sport Trac are its optional tonneau cover and sport design. The Sport Trac shares front end and side body design features (such as a power-dome hood and flared fenders) similar to the two-door Explorer Sport model.
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac did admirably in filling a newly created niche for Generation X drivers looking for a combination of toughness and sophistication in one vehicle. Second generation Explorer Sport Trac vehicles had a number of advanced interior features that were once standard only in sedans, such as heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, voice activation for phone and audio, seven-speaker audio, and satellite radio. The base XLT trims include cruise control, air conditioning, and satellite radio. The Limited trim comes with upgraded wheels, heated leather seats, and a more refined center console. Options to look for include a moonroof and premium sound with a booming subwoofer. 2008 introduced a Sync hands-free calling system. For 2009, a new navigation system with voice commands arrived. The Adrenaline model was popular for its dual exhaust tips, breathable leather seats, black fascias, and aggressive styling.
Ford’s first generation of Sport Tracs were produced from 2000 until 2005. Production was halted for the 2006 model year as the Sport Trac underwent a moderate redesign before returning to the market in 2007. The second generation Explorer Sport Tracs was produced from 2007 through the 2010 model year. In 2011, the Explorer's move away from rear-drive in favor of front-wheel drive and unibody construction instead of body-on-frame, Ford decided to discontinue the Sport Trac, despite its strong sales volume.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2009- 2010 Sport Trac the following ratings (on scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, Poor): Good sfor Moderate Front Overlap measures. Acceptable rating for head restraint and seat safety features The 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac offers standard safety features that drivers expect in modern vehicles including front driver and passenger airbags with occupant sensors, and front and rear side curtain airbags. Additional safety features on the Explorer Sport Trac included: Electronic Stability Control Traction Control Roll-Stability Control Energy Management Features
Noteworthy about the Sport Trac
- The Explorer Sport Trac was designed for and targeted to younger generations looking for a combination vehicle capable of providing a stylish ride while also towing and hauling all their favorite toys to the dirtiest destinations possible. Ford’s final model year Sport Trac, the 2010, was hailed by Car and Driver as well as Motor Trend for providing a quiet ride on the inside with refined features and reliable handling. Although the first model year Explorer Sport Trac was so popular there was a three month waiting list for vehicle delivery, in the end Ford moved up the discontinuation date a full year to 2010 because the Sport Trac had become obsolete in a market where standard pickup trucks were gaining greater interior refinement and more fuel efficient engines.
- In the end however, the Sport Trac was doomed by the evolution of the pickup truck market in the U.S. Responding to consumer demands, major truck manufacturers began developing more fuel efficient engines for trucks, designing more comfortable interiors, and improving the overall handling of trucks to effectively eliminate the need for this niche.
- Specific sales numbers were never released for the Sport Trac, but Ford officials estimated that it represented 20-25% of Explorer sales during its 2000-2010 production run. As a result, used Explorer Sport Tracs are relatively easy to find. Given that the final 2010 models were still hitting dealer lots in early 2011, there are also a variety of one-owner and low-mileage Sport Tracs available on the market today.