This Mid-Size Truck Is Ford’s Forgotten Pickup

If you aren’t too familiar with the world of pickup trucks, you might have missed kind of an odd offering by Ford. From 2000 to 2010, there was actually a mid-size truck version of the Ford Explorer. Giving buyers the benefits of a spacious cab and a pickup bed. The Explorer Sport Trac was meant to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, but it never really overtook the regular Ford Explorer. So, just what exactly is the Ford Explorer Sport Trac?

What is the Ford Explorer Sport Trac?

If you live in the States, at some point, you have likely noticed a mid-size truck from Ford that is not the Ranger. The Sport Trac is essentially a Ford Explorer with a truck bed, and it was first introduced as a 2001 model. Ultimately, production only lasted until 2010, when Ford decided to discontinue it. 

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac did have some innovative features. According to MotorTrend, it had the first power rear window for a truck, and it featured a composite cargo area. Because of this, this Ford model was fairly practical and offered legitimate utility. 

Does the Sport Trac have a manual transmission?

Until 2004, it was possible to get the Sport Trac with a manual transmission. This transmission was paired to a standard 4.0-liter V6 engine that made 210 horsepower. So, if you are looking for a truck with a manual transmission and want some old-school charm, the Explorer Sport Trac could work for you. 

A red Ford Explorer Sport Trac shows off as a mid-size truck.
Ford Explorer Sport Trac | Ford Motor Company via Getty Images

In 2004, this truck had its transmission and engine options simplified. Only the V6 engine could be had with an automatic transmission. But, the XLT trim did gain some additional features, including keyless entry and cruise control. Ford even upgraded the engine for flex-fuel capability, meaning that it can run on E85 if you choose. 

Does the Explorer Sport Trac have a V8?

If you want a pickup with a V8, the Sport Trac did offer one starting in 2007. The engine made 292 hp and was a 4.6-liter V8. With this engine, Ford’s mid-size truck had the ability to tow up to 6,800 lbs. And that is a fairly decent number for a vehicle of this size. 

A blue Ford Explorer Sport Trac sits at an auto show.
2006 Ford Explorer Sport Trac | David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Eventually, the Sport Trac would be built on a unibody platform that shared components with the Ford Taurus. And by 2010, Ford determined that it was no longer worth building. In its final model year, there weren’t any major changes. And, this mid-size truck is widely forgotten.

Is this SUV reliable?

In terms of reliability, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a mixed bag. Vehicles from this era can be hit or miss, and the Sport Trac was never at the top of many lists as a vehicle that should be bought. 

That said, if you really want to buy a Ford Explorer Sport Trac, models do seem to hover around $10,000. Meaning that it could be a cheaper alternative to something like a Ford Ranger. And for some folks, that could be the right call.

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