The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a four-door, five passenger sport-utility vehicle. When Ford decided to add some pizzazz to their Explorer sport-utility vehicle at the end of the 90’s, they wanted to do something different that would help carve out even more market share for the popular truck. The Explorer had long been one of the leaders amongst mid-size SUV’s, and Ford wanted to branch out into a new direction that few other automakers had explored. This result in the creation of the Sport Trac Explorer – a version of the Explorer with a pickup bed grafted onto the back. This turned the Sport Trac into a four-door mid-size pickup, a rarity in dealer showrooms at the time.

For 2008, the Explorer Sport Trac still bears the same refreshed appearance that it was given in 2006. The resemblance to the Explorer is quite evident, but the Sport Trac does manage to differentiate itself by being slightly longer and a bit more streamlined towards the front end. The Explorer is powered by a base V6 engine which displaces 4.0 liters and generates 210 horsepower and 254 ft-lb of torque. An optional 3-valve, 4.6 liter V8 ups the ante to 292 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque, increasing acceleration and ease of towing. A five-speed automatic handles the shifting for the V6, while the V8 is fitted with Ford’s smooth six-speed automatic transmission. The Sport Trac can be ordered in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive configurations. Surprisingly, both engines get the same fuel economy numbers when outfitted as 4x4’s: 13 miles per gallon in the city, and 19 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Sport Trac comes in three different trim levels. The XLT and the Limited represent the upper range of the same equipment packages offered on the Explorer. The XLT offers cloth seats, power everything, air conditioning and 16-inch wheels – as well as a trailer hitch. The Limited trim comes with larger 18-inch wheels and a slightly upgraded exterior appearance. Either version of the truck can benefit from an extensive number of options, such as a power moon roof, dual-zone climate control, DVD player, satellite radio, a heated windshield, and a lockable, hard plastic bed cover.

Ford also sells an Adrenalin package for the Explorer that is positioned as the sportiest version of the truck available to buyers. The SUV comes with low-profile tires mounted on 20-inch rims, blacked out headlights and grille, a sleek exterior, running boards and vented front fenders. Inside the truck, special Adrenalin-branded floor mats combine with unique colors for the headliner, instrument panel and interior trim, and the exterior paint is only available in 4 specific colors. This package transforms the Sport Trac from work truck to street machine, rendering it more comfortable on the boulevard than off-road.

While the Sport Trac now faces more competition from mid-size four door trucks, it is hard to deny the appeal of the Explorer’s comfortable interior paired with the utility of a truck bed. While some might see it as a smaller version of the Chevrolet Avalanche, the Sport Trac’s less over-the-top styling gives it a more traditional look that has been embraced by truck buyers looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

The 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a carryover from 2008. Three trim levels are offered on this sport-utility vehicle: the XLT, the Limited and the Adrenalin Package. Each of these trims is outfitted with a 210 horsepower, 4.0 liter V6 engine as standard equipment. This motor is rated at 14 miles per gallon in city driving and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. Optional across all editions of the Sport Trac is a more powerful and more efficient 4.6 liter V8. With 292 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque on tap, this engine also provides fuel economy of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon while cruising on the highway. The XLT and Limited versions of the Sport Trac have the option of 4-wheel drive, while the Adrenalin Package can be ordered with a separate all-wheel drive system.