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.