Ford takes its four-door Explorer sport utility vehicle and attaches a 4-foot pickup-style cargo bed on the rear to create the Sport Trac, which arrived in the spring as an early 2001 model.
Besides the open cargo area, the biggest difference from the regular Explorer is that Ford pitches the Sport Trac to buyers who need a utility vehicle that actually gets dirty going off-road, hauling mountain bikes or carrying lumber and gardening supplies.
Nissan showed a similar concept vehicle in 1999 as the Sport Utility Truck, but Ford beat it to production with the Sport Trac, the first SUV-based hybrid with a cargo bed.
Ford stretched the Explorers frame 15 inches to create the Sport Trac and added more-aggressive styling than the regular four-door Explorer, including flared rear fenders. The cargo bed is made of sheet-molded composite material a heavy-duty plastic that resists rust and dents. A tubular steel cargo cage that attaches to the tailgate and extends the cargo area 22 inches is optional, as is a lockable hard tonneau cover.
Like the regular Explorer, the Sport Trac has seats for five, but the interior has several unique features. A new instrument cluster has white-faced gauges, and the center console has a removable soft bag for carrying drinks and snacks. Instead of carpeting, the floor is covered with washable composite rubber that can be hosed down if it gets dirty.
A power rear window that allows access to the cargo area from the rear seat is standard.
Under the Hood
Sport Trac is available in two- and four-wheel-drive versions, and both come with a 205-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic or manual transmission.