2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's Significant About This Car?
The 2007 Ford Sport Trac is the second generation of a vehicle that started a sub-trend: A truck, with sport-utility characteristics, four doors and a rather short cargo bed, and an assortment of ingenious features to enhance the anticipated active lifestyles of its intended buyers. It's not quite a sport utility vehicle, and it's not quite a truck. On the large size in this group are the Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT, while more directly competitive in size is the Honda Ridgeline. The previous Sport Trac was based on the Ford Explorer, as is the newest version. But since then the Explorer has grown up, both in size and sophistication, and so has the Sport Trac.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want to be able to go just about anywhere, you require some truck-type cargo capacity but not necessarily a lot, you tow a trailer but not necessarily a great big one, and you want the advantages of a separate body-on-frame construction and an available V8 engine, the Sport Trac deserves your attention.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need a real sport utility vehicle with enclosed cargo space or a third row seat, or you need a real truck with a full-size cargo bed, the Sport Trac is not for you.
The Ford Sport Trac is larger, longer in the wheelbase by over 16 inches, has a fully-boxed frame that's stiffer by over 400 percent, has independent rear suspension, is available with a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 292 horsepower, has a very nice interior and offers a lot of versatility.
Driving the Explorer Sport Trac
The Sport Trac's driving experience, both on pavement and off, is exceptionally good. No small amount of credit for this excellent behavior is due the fully-boxed frame, which is...
so remarkably stiff that visible movement between the passenger cab and cargo box is essentially undetectable, even under very rough conditions. Also playing a significant role is the independent rear suspension, a benefit borrowed from the Explorer, so that on the road the ride is smooth, even and comfortable, and off-road the wheels stay in contact with the surface and keep things going. For most folks the Sport Trac will be the best-handling, best riding truck they've ever driven.
Frame and Suspension
The fully-boxed frame and fully-independent suspension deliver a combination of ride smoothness, handling precision and off-road capability that is particularly noteworthy.
Versatile Cargo Box
The cargo box is made of composite material, so it won't rust and, with its three storage compartments, offers a lot of versatility for odds and ends of an active weekend.
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Details
Inside the Sport Trac everything fits well and is thoughtfully arranged. The seating is quite roomy and comfortable, in both the front and rear, and a long day behind the wheel should prove pleasant. One gripe: The odd door-pull handles are not at all intuitive even as to where they are, let alone how they work, and some interior designer needs to be sat down in the corner and made to wear a dunce cap. On the good side, there's an optional heated windshield, and rubber floor coverings make it easier to clean out the mud. The composite-material cargo box contains three storage bins with drain plugs. The largest is up forward under the cargo floor, requiring crawling into the cargo box to store your stuff, while the equivalent feature in the Honda Ridgeline is conveniently near the rear. On balance, the Sport Trac's interior accommodations and cargo versatility are so appealing that every new owner will probably just love the thing.
The Sport Trac's exterior does a good job of striking that delicate balance between street style and off-road character, and the Ford designers have managed to make it look not exactly like a work truck, but not exactly like a soccer-mom sport utility vehicle, either. The roof rack, external cargo-box tie-downs, fairly large tires and prominent wheel arches give it a properly rugged image, while the big chrome grille and snazzy headlamp treatment lends Saturday night appeal.
Major standard equipment on the XLT includes power assists for windows, door locks and exterior mirrors, AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player, additional power outlets for front and rear seats and the cargo box, side airbags, manual air conditioning, cruise control, outside temperature display, compass, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 16-inch tires, and AdvanceTrac, which includes the functions of traction and stability control and also features Roll Stability Control, which helps to inhibit potential rollovers. The standard engine is a 4.0-liter 210-horsepower V6, with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Major options include the Limited trim level, which adds fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, step bars, six-way power driver's seat and some other trim items. Other options include upgrades to the sound system, leather seating, heated front seats, Safety Canopy airbag system, adjustable pedals, power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation system, trailer towing package, the nifty heated windshield and numerous other convenience and trim features. The optional four-wheel-drive system is operated by a button and includes a low range. The optional engine is the 4.6-liter V8 with six-speed automatic transmission.
Under the Hood
Most drivers will probably find the 4.0-liter V6 more than adequate for most of their driving, with 254 pound-feet of torque and plenty of acceleration to keep up with any likely traffic situation. But if your trips include filling the cargo box with dirt bikes and the inside with two or three buddies, then pulling a loaded trailer up hills, you'll probably want the V8. The biggest penalty with the larger engine is, predictably, fuel economy, and while the EPA city numbers aren't appreciably different, the highway numbers are, with the V6 rated at more than 30-percent better than the V8.
210 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21
292 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)
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