First Glance at the Sport Trac Pickup Truck
The Sport Tracs pick up box can be dressed up with hatch covers. The hatch covers can be opened from three directions the two sides and the rear. Each has its own unique lock. The hatch covers divide the box up into compartments as well. Frankly, the whole thing is a bit too fussy for me. I cant imagine anyone who's that well organized actually buying something like the Sport Trac as a daily driver. An optional tubular aluminum cargo cage can be swung out as a box extender when the tailgate is down.
I think the Sport Trac somewhat resembles the old VW Transporter. According to colleague Philip Powell whos an ex-VW Canada guy, the Transporter was developed in Europe in the '50s as a tradesman's vehicle. It was the first 4-door pick up truck sold in North America. Although almost every manufacturer sells at least one, the Sport Trac looks very different from the others.
In the Sport Trac Truck Driver's Seat
The rear door design is unique to the Sport Trac. Although they're actually a bit smaller than the conventional Explorer's, the door opening itself is more than adequate for easy entry and exit if, that is, you can hoist yourself all the way up into the cabin. Legroom, elbowroom and headroom are identical to what you find in the regular Explorer. While it's not exactly tight back there, neither is it particularly spacious.
What there isnt much of is outside visibility. I'm fairly long in the torso but I can hardly see over the front seat headrests. I can't for the life of me fathom why Ford didn't install raised theatre style seating back there when they did the interior re-design.
The new interior is a great improvement over the old one, although some people might find it a bit cramped.
On the Road in the Sport Trac Pickup Truck
RSC works with the vehicle's electronic stability control system ("AdvanceTrac" in Ford-speak). A sensor reads the vehicle's roll angle approximately 150 times per second. If it detects potential rollover, it activates the stability control, which integrates three major components including the anti lock braking system, the traction control and the yaw control, to keep all four wheels on the ground.
Handling is much improved this year thanks to the vastly improved chassis stiffness (up an incredible 444% over the previous model) and the 4-wheel fully independent suspension. The independent rear suspension, which allows each wheel to react independently to the road, greatly reduces the dreaded "rear-end skate" on washboard gravel roads and provides a ride on most surfaces thats almost car like.
Sport Trac Journey's End
A great deal has been done to clean up the emissions from both the standard 4.0L V-6 and the 4.6L V-8. Ford claims the V-6 is cleaner than Hondas Accord Hybrid, which, incidentally, I simply dont buy.
Unfortunately almost nothing has been done to improve the fuel economy. Ford lamely re-assures us even though horsepower is up fuel economy wont be worse than earlier models'.
Lets face it: the Sport Trac is not a real truck. It has a truck frame and you sit up high but you can't carry stuff in this thing like you can in real pick up. I see it as another fashion accessory for 40-something managers commuting from their gated communities to their offices in suburban industrial parks. What I can't for the life of me see, though, is any woman of any age buying one for herself. Which, I guess, in the truck biz, is high praise indeed.