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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Overview

More Than Just a Crew Cab Pickup

Ford introduced the Sport Trac to the public two years ago and it was promptly followed by a flurry of similarly equipped competitors from both at home and abroad. The Sport Trac philosophy was a simple one; take a loaded Explorer SUV, chop off its rear roof and replace it with a pickup bed. To this recipe Ford then added bigger wheels and tires, a more aggressive front-end treatment and a multi-utility rear bed, complete with locking cover and a swing-out aluminum bed extender.

The current Sport Trac is built off the Ford Explorer Sport platform but is stretched an additional 14 inches to allow for its 51-inch cargo bed to be mated to the full-sized cab. The Sport Trac does not share the current 2003 Explorer's independent rear suspension, upgraded interior or advanced safety features. Still, the Sport Trac is a handsome vehicle that is nicely equipped and priced well within reason. For 2002, the Sport Trac gets a larger fuel tank (23 vs. 20 gallons), standard 16-inch alloy wheels, auto headlamp feature and a vastly simplified options list that reduces the possible combinations from about 400 down to 112. The Sport Trac also has one feature you won't find on any other pickup or crew cab: an electrically-operated rear window that lowers into the bulkhead separating the rear seats from the cargo bed.

The Sport Trac concept seems to make as much sense in the real world as it does on paper. You'll find you get the passenger room and comfort of a premium SUV combined with the cargo and off-road abilities of a 4x4 pickup, all in a neatly compacted package that is easy to maneuver and park. The Sport Trac's interior is relatively comfortable, though the tall dash, wide A-pillars and wide transmission tunnel can create a slightly cramped feeling. The seats themselves offer good support and can be ordered with an optional power driver seat, manual lumbar support and leather surfaces. If you really go all out, you can load up your Sport Trac with a power moonroof, premium audio, rear-seat audio and temperature controls and an overhead console with outside temperature and compass.

The exterior of your Sport Trac already comes pretty tricked-out from the factory. The Sport Trac has rugged lower side molding to protect the body from rocks and scrapes and the rear cargo bed is surrounded by a durable sheet-molded composite that is perfectly matched to the color of the painted metal. 16-inch alloy wheels and P235-70 R 16 all-season tires come standard and can be upgraded to a wider P255-70. The Sport Trac 4x4 has additional skid plating to cover the transmission and transfer case. Of course, Ford offers a long list of optional and aftermarket equipment that your dealer can add at anytime, in case you want to build your Sport Trac one piece at a time.

Power for the Sport Trac is provided by Ford's venerable 4.0-liter V6 engine. Though horsepower is now up to 203, this engine still has to work hard to move the Sport Trac's weight; once up to speed, the 4.0-liter can cruise with less effort than it took to get you there. Ford offers the option of a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic in all Sport Trac models. On the road, the Sport Trac feels much like the Explorer it's based upon. The ride is comfortable so long as the road beneath stays level and smooth. Over dips and uneven pavement, the Sport Trac telegraphs shudders and vibrations into the passenger compartment and through the steering column. Quick lane changes and emergency maneuvers cause the back end to do a little hula dance before straightening out; this characteristic is exacerbated by the tire's tall sidewalls. Off road, the Sport Trac fares much better. The shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system enables it to traverse the worst Mother Nature can throw at it, although if you plan to do some serious off-road adventuring, we do recommend upgrading the all-season tires to something with a bit more grip.

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