Ford Sport Trac Review (by Owner)
Article and Pictures by Mark Trotta
One-half pickup, one-half SUV, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac started the sport utility truck genre. Production ran from 2001 through 2010 (no 2006 model was produced).
The truck in the above picture is my second Ford Sport Trac. The first was a 2001 model (also blue) and driven daily until 2014, when I sold it and bought this second-hand 2008 model.
All Sport Tracs are mid-size four-door pickups and have a four-foot bed. Two sub-models were offered, XLT or Limited. Many were equipped with a lockable tonneau cover.
First-gen Sport Tracs (2001-2005) were based on the Ford Ranger chassis. The front part of the body was shared with the two-door Explorer Sport, and had it's own pickup bed with durable plastic liner.
Second Generation Sport-Tracs
The second-gen Sport Trac (2007-2010) was based on the Ford Explorer. Total bumper to bumper length is 210.2 inches, making it longer than the Explorer by 16.8 inches. A V8 engine was available for the 2nd Gen Sport Trac.
For 2008, standard features included a power rear window, fog lamps, side step bars, and increased storage. Safety features included side-curtain driver/passenger airbags. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS were also standard.
First-Generation vs Second Generation
The 2nd Generation Sport Trac is more than five inches longer and almost two inches wider than the First-Gen Sport Trac. By using the F-150's tube-through-tube frame design, there is a substantial increase in stiffness.
2WD vs 4WD
Two-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, while a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system is optional. Unless you spend a lot of time going off-road or have to deal with snow or unplowed roads, two wheel drive is all you need for a daily driver.
Although 4WD has it's advantages, consider the harsher ride, lower gas mileage, and worse handling. There are also more parts to fail and higher maintenance.
I live near Raleigh, NC, where it's fairly flat, 99% paved, and we seldom see snow. Both of my Sport Tracs were two wheel drive models.
V6 vs V8 Engine
Although V8 power was available the 2nd Gen Sport Trac, mine has the base 4.0L V6 motor. Occasionally it pulls a small utility trailer. If I did any serious towing, I would have opted for V8 power, but I'm happy with the V6 mileage (20 mpg average).
Sport Trac Suspension
All 2nd Generation Sport Trac's feature four-wheel independent suspension. At 130.5 inches, there is enough wheelbase to feel very stable at extended highway speeds.
GVWR and GCWR
The Explorer Sport Trac is a Class 2 vehicle and has a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 6250 lbs. The maximum GCWR (gross combined vehicle weight) is 12,000 lbs. These figures are better than GMC Canyon/Chevy Colorado, Dodge Dakota, and Toyota Tacoma pickups.
Interior Room and Comfort
I've taken both of my Sport-Tracs on several long trips, the longest one from my home in central North Carolina to Kenner, Louisiana. The driver's seat is supportive and adjustable, and outward visibility is very good.
Plenty of room inside, and lockable storage with optional bed cover.
Sport Trac's do not have carpeting, they have a durable vinyl flooring.
Sport Trac Adrenalin (2008-2010)
The original Adrenalin was first seen in 2005 as a concept, and featured a custom body kit, 21" wheels, supercharged V8 power, and the Lincoln Navigator's six-speed transmission.
However, by the time the Sport Trac Adrenalin saw production, it was essentially just an appearance package, which included 20" wheels, blacked-out headlights and grille, and model-specific bumpers and front fenders.
Reports show about 6,000 Sport Trac Adrenalin's were sold in the three years produced, with about 600 of those being V8 powered.
Both of my 2001 and 2008 Sport-Trac's have proved to be handy and reliable vehicles. Aside from getting me back and forth to work faithfully and comfortably for 20+ years, they've carried bicycles, motorcycles, go karts, kayaks, lumber, mulch, furniture, kitchen appliances, engines, transmissions, tires, wheels, and more.
Every so often, my Sport Trac's tailgate becomes a portable workbench. It helped me build this work table out on the driveway one summer day.
Read: Ford Sport Trac Maintenance