The Ford Explorer Sport Trac set the trend by being the first SUV with a pickup truck bed; it is also the first body-on-frame truck to be released in the automotive world. Its dimensions and selling price falls between the Ford Ranger and Ford F-Series; these attributes garnered the attention of US consumers that during its debut year, the waiting list grew to over three months.
Unveiling the power: 2001-2005
The chassis of the first-generation Ford Explorer Sport Trac was built on a lengthened Ford Explorer bed, with a configuration of four normal SUV doors and a small pickup bed at the rear. An optional bed extender was available to compensate for the short box.
The interiors was almost similar to the Ford Ranger, especially around the dash and front cabin area. The exterior on the other hand used Explorer parts to achieve a rugged look on the front end. The concept of the tailgate was carried over from the F-150 Flare Side.
The 4.0L AOHC originally has an alloy intake manifold, but halfway through the model year, the manifold was changed to a composite, and the oil filler cap was moved from the driver side to the passenger side of the engine.
The year 2002 produced more significant changes to the engine, since the fuel tank capacity was increase from 20 to 22 gallons. The rear brakes were also changed from drums to discs, and the tachometer also moved to digital.
During the 2004 model year, the bumpers and side skirts were painted with a darker shade of gray. This rugged look was maintained even in the interiors, since the option for flooring was only limited to full rubber covering. Berber carpet floor mats remained standard.
Even the engine became more aggressive since it moved to a 4.0L Cologne V6 that produced 210hp. However, it was the only engine option for the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
Bigger and better: 2007-2010
The second-generation rolled off the assembly line in 2006 in preparation for the 2007 model year. The arrangement of the parts was based on the new, and larger fourth-generation Explorer. The frame was reinforced, and the suspension was upgraded to an independent four-wheel system. The 4.0L Cologne V6 engine remained the standard, but a 4.6L 24-valve Modular V8 engine became an option. Safety features were also upgraded; AdvanceTrac and Roll Stability Control became standard on every 2nd-gen Sport Trac.
During the year 2009, Ford somehow lost the crowd’s hype for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Sales continued through 2011; but after the 2010 model year, the production of the SUV-pickup was discontinued.