The 1st generation Ford Explorer Sport Trac was a commercial success that thrived from 2001 to 2005. It was the only generation that was officially sold in the Philippines and was in fact a model that we had in our C! Fastfleet until it was replaced with a 2nd-generation Ford Focus.
The Ford Sport Trac is oh so familiar to us here just before the turn of the century. And the larger 2nd generation looks almost the same. Lucky for Ford, the Sport Trac moniker in its pick-up configuration, was good enough for the local North American market to overlook the roll-over fiasco of the Stateside Explorer SUV. We can speculate all we like about when the fancy F-150 will enter the Philippine-market, the chances of the new Sport Trac coming here is even more remote. Nevertheless, we’ve had our fun with the previous model over here, so how does the new model fare over there? And would it rekindle a desire for the Sport Trac, if Ford decides to bring in a few? The new Sport Trac is leagues better than its previous models both in design and functionality.
The new fully-independent suspension system combined with the new larger chassis (Ford UN105 platform) borrowed from the 2nd-generation Explorer SUV dramatically improved its on-road abilities. The new V8 4WD Limited weighs 444-more pounds compared to the outgoing top-spec 1st-generation model, is 4.3-inches longer, 1.9-inches wider, 1.4-inches taller, on a 4.6-inches longer wheelbase. You feel more planted, secure and it changes direction with a lot less roll. The sohc 24v 4.6-liter Mustang-shared V8 engine is a huge upgrade (up from 210 bhp / 242 lb.-ft 4.0-liter V6 mated to a 5-speed AT) that promises to be actually more frugal than its predecessors while making the Sport Trac more entertaining. Acceleration and overall drivability were considerably better than before.
The most lingering features of the Sport Trac that left an impression were the new interior appointments and how it made the driving experience more enjoyable. I tested the 4WD system too; it climbed an almost foot tall curb then carried on effortlessly through the brush and steep hills while I enjoyed the now very comfortable interior. For the record, the roll-over Explorer of yesteryear were because of over-loaded 15-inch under-spec Firestone tires and not because the vehicle was inferior. The new Sport Trac would be a great pick-up truck for Manila but in small numbers as its thirst for fuel will not be welcomed. To be honest, for our market, the new Ranger and new Everest are far more appropriate.
|Cylinder Head||sohc 24V|
|Fuel Injector||Multi-Point Injection|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||292 bhp @ 5750 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||300 lb-ft @ 3950 rpm|
|Top Speed||290 km/h (118 mph) Governed|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||8.1 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||13 mpg City / 20 mpg Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||(2007) US$ 32,000.00|
|What's Great||The best version of the Sport Trac however short-lived. Very competent.|
|What's Not So||Hoped to be what the all-new Bronco will be. Short shelf-life. Still too thirsty.|
|C! Editors Rating||8.5/10|