A bit of an unusual breed, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac tries to combine the strength of a pickup with the family-friendly practicality of an SUV. In base-model form, it does not quite have the oomph of a truck, with only 210 horsepower from the V6. However, the available V8 increases this to 292 hp with 315 lb-ft of torque that increases towing capacity by a substantial margin. It still cannot compete with more rugged competitors, but it makes up for this with a more spacious cabin and better comfort than you'd expect from such a ponderous beast.
Although it looks very much like the standard crossover version, the Explorer Sport Trac has a pickup-style cargo bed with an available bed extender. With a bed size of 4.5 feet, it offers 37.5 cubic feet storage. The wheels are a little small for such an intimidating vehicle, starting at 16-inch alloys upgraded to 18-inch variants on the upper trims. Blocky headlights adorn the front, underlined by broad fog lights. The center grille is not quite as rugged and is trimmed in chrome to add style. Eight exterior colors are available, including bold Sangria Red or Blue Flame metallics, or more rugged Dark Copper and Black Pearl Slate metallics.
While capable, the base powertrain under the hood of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac is only a V6, displacing four liters to develop 210 hp and 254 lb-ft. This is paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission that directs outputs to either the front or all four corners. This is enough to get around town, but it may struggle when off-roading. For some more oomph and ruggedness, you should upgrade to the V8, which displaces 4.6 liters. Also a gasoline generator, the bigger block is mated to a six-speed automatic to deliver 292 hp and 315 lb-ft. The extra kick really helps the Ford Sport Trac in 4x4 configuration for off-roading, but max towing is presented by the 4x2 setup, which pulls 7,160 lbs.
The entry-level configuration Explorer pickup is nothing to write home about, although it still delivers a comfortable ride, especially with smaller rims. For a more enjoyable time, the stronger eight-cylinder is the way to go. This is mated to a very capable six-speed automatic. With the raw strength, slightly lifted ride height, and the available AWD, the Ford goes off-road without a fuss. The more crossover-like aspects of the Ford Explorer truck mean that it handles slightly more nimbly than a pickup.
While the Ford Explorer Pickup Truck tries to do a variety of things well, it fails rather phenomenally on the fuel economy front. Surprisingly, the most fuel-efficient setup is the more potent V8 engine paired with the FWD. This delivers an EPA-estimated 15/21/17 miles per gallon city/highway/combined. This drops to 14/19/16 mpg with 4WD fitted. If you're not willing to spring for the eight-cylinder, the starter six returns 14/20/16 mpg in its most efficient guise, and 13/19/15 mpg with four-wheel drive. In its most efficient guise, it covers 382 miles with its 22.5-gallon tank.
The interior is very spacious thanks to the elements it borrows from the original. The quality of the materials is a little less impressive, but build quality is still excellent. There is more than enough space both in the front and back seats, but putting three adults on the bench is out of the question. Cloth upholstery dresses the XLT, while the Limited and upwards each receive genuine leather. Regardless of material choice, Black or Caramel with Sand inserts are the only color options.
Although it seems designed to make life more comfortable for passengers, it is actually rather sparsely equipped. On the base model, you will find manual air conditioning, three power points, electric windows, and AM/FM stereo with an audio input jack. SiriusXM is also included, while Ford SYNC and a premium sound system require upgrading to the Limited.
On the safety front, the truck performs extremely well. In NHTSA reviews, it scored five stars on four out of six crash tests, while only moderate front overlap was tested by the IIHS, with top marks of Good. Built-in features include six airbags and AdvanceTrac with RSC.
Considering its lofty goals of fitting two roles, the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a bit on the pricey side. The XLT is the entry point at around $29k, while the Limited adds a hefty $5k. If you want the recommended V8 engine, you have to spend $2,000 more. However, since this model ceased production in 2010, used dealerships are likely the only places still stocking them, so price is negotiable. Considering this discount, the Sport Trac is a great option for those who like to work as hard as they play, since it covers both passenger comfort and practical workmanship. Still, the lack of features is a serious detractor with much better-equipped modern rivals on the current market.
Check out some informative Ford Explorer Sport Trac video reviews below.