Buyer's Guide / Ford / 2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac



The Explorer Sport Trac SUV/pickup crossover expanded Ford's Explorer lineup and brought a fresh face to the company's best-selling SUV when it debuted for 2001. It got larger dimensions, more safety features and an available V-8 engine in a 2007 redesign, and for 2008 the Explorer Sport Trac gains standard side curtain airbags and newly optional entertainment features, including Ford's Sync communication system and voice-activated navigation. Competitors include crew-cab pickups like the Honda Ridgeline, Dodge Dakota Quad Cab and Nissan Frontier Crew Cab.

The five-passenger Explorer Sport Trac adapts an independent rear suspension from the Explorer — a setup that usually trades offroad capability for on-road handling prowess — that's only matched by the Ridgeline. Explorer Sport Tracs are built in Louisville, Ky.

The Explorer Sport Trac wears the same slatted grille and scalloped headlights as the Explorer, but adds nearly 17 inches in length to accommodate a 4.5-foot pickup bed replete with side rails, tie-down hooks, a composite liner and three in-floor storage containers. Ford ran the bed through a series of tests it calls The Hay Bale, The Drum Drop and Two Fat Farmers, which involved 55-gallon drums, 300-pound sandbags and plenty of hay. Unfortunately, these accessories are not available on the production model.

The Explorer Sport Trac is available in two trim levels: XLT and Limited. XLT models start with gray bumper cladding, black roof rails and 16-inch wheels. Limited editions upgrade to 18-inch wheels, body-colored bumpers and silver roof rails. Fog lamps and a power rear window are newly standard for 2008. Options include a heated windshield and a moonroof.

Dashboard components mimic the Explorer: A tall center stack has radio controls above the air vents, and connects to a floor-mounted console box below. XLT models get a full complement of standard power equipment. The Limited trim level adds a few items but mostly opens the door to a variety of luxury options, including dual-zone automatic climate control and a 10-way power driver's seat.

Front bucket seats and a three-place second-row bench provide seating for up to five occupants. The cabin doesn't have a conversion feature in the rear cabin wall for extending the cargo bed, as the larger Chevrolet Avalanche does. The newly optional Ford Sync system provides control of compatible cell phones and portable music players with voice-activated or steering-wheel controls.

Under the Hood
Available engines are identical to those in the Explorer: a 4.0-liter V-6 with 210 horsepower and 254 pounds-feet of torque, and a 4.6-liter V-8 that produces 292 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque. The V-6 works with a five-speed automatic transmission while the V-8 drives a six-speed automatic.

Rear- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered. When properly equipped, the rear-wheel-drive V-8-powered Explorer Sport Trac can tow up to 7,160 pounds.

All-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with rollover mitigation are standard. Rollover mitigation, in the form of Ford's Roll Stability Control, senses impending rollovers and attempts to prevent them by applying individual brakes. Side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows of seats are also standard.




Reader Ratings:
Sport Trac

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Price Quote:
Build Your Explorer Sport Trac


First Drive: 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac



Retail Price:
$25,400 - $31,320


4.0-liter V6
210 hp
254 lb-ft
@5,100 rpm
@3,700 rpm
4.6-liter V6
292 hp
300 lb-ft
@5,750 rpm
@3,950 rpm

- Five-speed automatic
- Six-speed automatic

Fuel Economy:

4.0-liter V6 4x2 5-speed
15 mpg
21 mpg
4.6-liter V6 4x2 6-speed
15 mpg
21 mpg
4.0-liter V6 4x4 5-speed
15 mpg
20 mpg
4.6-liter V6 4x4 6-speed
14 mpg
20 mpg

NHTSA Safey Ratings:
Frontal Crash Test
- Driver Front: 5/5 Stars
- Passenger Front: 5/5 Stars

Side Crash Test
- Driver Front: 5/5 Stars
- Passenger Front: 5/5 Stars

IIHS Safey Ratings:
Overall: Good
- Structure / Safety Cage: Good
- Head/Neck: Good
- Chest: Good
- Leg/Foot Left, Right: Good,Good
- Restraints: Good



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