Ford Explorer Sport Trac (pre-2007)

libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
I love the style and roominess of these vehicles. I see them all the time, so why isn't there an active discussion about them? And yes, they have a bed so they are crew cab short bed pickups NOT SUVs.


  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    There was a group once but discussions died out.

    This is an interesting vehicle. I just took one for a ride yesterday along with a crew cab F150. Both had a good ride for trucks.

    I liked the power back window and lower step in height of the Sport Trac.

    I am thinking of waiting for the new GMC 4 dr Canyon to come out before I make a final choice.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    If i were u, I would just take the Sport Trac. The Canyon will likely be more expensive and unless u need a longer bed, the Sport Trac will serve u well.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Member Posts: 566
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    saddaddy, have you ever heard of a crew cab pickup? If not, this is exactly what the Sport Trac is. SUVs by defintion do not have beds.
  • campoutcampout Member Posts: 22
    Hello to everyone on the list. I personnally the Sport Trac is a great all around vehicle. My wife and I currently own a '97 F-150, but we just don't need that big of a truck for the things we do. Yes it is a pickup truck, it has a bed. But here in Illinois you can get either truck plates or passenger car plates, they can't make up there minds. I agree with Lennx that I may wait to see how that GMC Canyon might be, dealers should have them by Nov. That is a nice looking truck and should be decent competion for the Dodge Dakota. I definitly want to take a Sport Trac for a test drive, I am sure it would fit all our needs, but don't know if the bed is big enough for what we want to use it for, coming down from a full size truck don't want to go too small. Any input appreciated.

  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    The interior is as big as your F150 probably. Try to get the leather option and u'll have a beautiful interior without too much excess cost. You'll just have to see about the small bed, remember however there is a bed extender.
  • mastersonmasterson Member Posts: 1
    Well all, I had excitedly waited a long time for the Chevy/GMC S-10 replacement, but ended up buying an '03 ST and here's why; and it came during the long wait. First the explorer's engine has been around, while the GM inline engine might be better, it is virtually untested in the marketplace (timewise); anyone can research the Ford's issues and know what they are getting. Second, the Sport Trac has and will have the most interior room, granted it will also have the smallest bed. However, think about what you need the bed for, I can still bring home 8' lumber with no problem. The only lose with the bed is volume (i.e. dirt, stone, sand, mulch)otherwise I didn't see the difference between a 4' bed and a 6' foot bed, especially while sacrificing interior room (kids). Third with the economy, it was a great time to take advantage of low financing and rebates. I would be very surprised if a brand new model from GM that has a market eagerness will need rebates to sell the first year.
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    Maybe this should be listed in pickups and SUVs.

    What are people who have the Sport Trac getting for real world MPG?

    If the Canyon pricing is similar to the Sonoma, I think it will be compettive with the Sport Trac. In the north east, I see adds for the Sport Trac for $22K - 23K. Sticker on a Sonoma 4 dr is in the $25 to $26K range.
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    Wow the bed is short.

    My bike is about 64" long. It fits in the F150 Supercrew bed fine. Not even close in the Sport Trac. I am not fond of the bed extender since it open.
  • mosseymossey Member Posts: 4
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    It has a bed. It is just a crew cab pickup. Nobody calls the Nissan Frontier, Ford F150, Dodge Ram, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, GMC Sonoma/Chevy S10, Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra crew cabs an SUV yet they all have as much room in the cabs as SUVs.
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    As I recall Ford chose to call it an SUV with Explorer name in the hopes that they could charge more $ for it. However the bed (even one as short as this) in my mind makes it a pickup truck.

    Hoever I would still like to see this croiss posted in the SUV section too. I am sure some owners bought into the "its an SUV".

    Are there any owners out there reading this?
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    The reason Ford chose to call it the Explorer Sport Trac, was because they wanted people to pay a bit more money for it, considering it has the Explorer name, plus they tally the sales onto it's Explorer nameplate. Just as Camry has the Camry-Solara, just as Matrix gets grouped into Corolla sales.

    The previous Explorer was based on the Ranger platform, the Ranger is a pick-up truck. This vehicle is closer to being a Crew-Cab Ranger, than Explorer with it's cargo area open. The future of this vehicle depends on the next generation Ranger debuting 2006. Ironically Ford DOES have a Crew-Cab Ranger being sold in other markets around the world.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    No, but the Ranger Crew-cab, is. Just take a look at some of the Ford global websites.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    The Ranger is UGLY in United Kingdom. The double cab looks VERY small and has no available leather like the Sport Trac. We are lucky. Is the U.K. Ranger based on the same platform as U.S. Ranger?
  • hersheytxhersheytx Member Posts: 3
    I bought my Sports Trac last year. 02 model year. I had a 98 Explorer, Eddie B. model. The Sport-Trac gives me an exact copy of the interior of my Explorer. Even the leather and option package was the same. Only difference was the back window goes down. Which I love. My wife is happy because she has space for friends. I get the extra bed for our business.
    It drives great. Feels solid. Only wish I could get a V-8 with it. But I must admit the V-6 has got plenty of punch.
    This is my fourth Ford in 8 years. So far I have not had any problems with any of them. I also have owned 2 honda's, New Beetle, 2 Grand Cherokees, and a GMC Sonoma. I like cars. Hehe.
    If you are on the fence about this vehicle, only thing I can tell you is Ford will deal to get you to buy one. I told them I was thinking about buying another Jeep and they bent over backwards to get me in it.
    Jeff Heiss
    Dallas, Tx
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    Is the U.K. Ranger based on the U.S. Ranger???
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Yes, it's roughly based on it, maybe not as updated, but same thing practically.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
  • hersheytxhersheytx Member Posts: 3
    I have a big led foot. So I will be honest. 15 miles to the gallon at best. I know that if I was a bit more conservative I could up that to 18 to 20. I have only been on one long trip with S-T. Most of my driving is in Dallas proper.
    Hope that helps.
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    Gas milage sounds like only 1 to 2 mpg better than a full size truck. Since I do not drive much, a full size truck may be better.

    I took a Tacoma and a Tundra out for a ride. The Tacoma was terrible. It was jittery on flat roads. Did not even complete the loop with it. Tundra was much nicer. I think the Sport Trac had a slightly better ride but the Tundra was quieter.
  • hersheytxhersheytx Member Posts: 3
    I have a big led foot. So I will be honest. 15 miles to the gallon at best. I know that if I was a bit more conservative I could up that to 18 to 20. I have only been on one long trip with S-T. Most of my driving is in Dallas proper.
    Hope that helps.
  • roycecoleroycecole Member Posts: 9
    if you need ot done right it will not be done their
  • cookie01cookie01 Member Posts: 369
    This has to be the most quiet board on Edmunds.
    That's a shame.

    The hubby just bought an Exporer ST this weekend. We really like the vehicle. It's perfect for us. With the bed extender we were able to take the bikes and do a nice bridge tour of our city. One bike is a tandem... but it fit nicely.

    Looking forward to camping trips, and a trip to Montana next summer. This is just the vehicle we needed. Plenty of room in the back for friends, kids, stuff and the bed holds what we need it to hold.

    Thanks Ford.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Sometimes, not news, is good news :) Much better than having a forum where everyone is complaining about the bad quality and horrible reliability of their vehicle... SO at times, quiet is good :)
  • cookie01cookie01 Member Posts: 369
    That's a great point! But see, I drive a Mazda6 and it's one of the most active boards on the site... So I'm not used to the quiet.. heheheh.

    So far (only about 70 miles) we really love this truck and the deal was TOP NOtch! There's a place on the rear wheel well where if you turn left the tire sort of rubs. We'll get that fixed next week when the dealer replaces the rear bumper. There was a hole in it from "lot damage" the dealer is ordering a replacement.

    other than that... I think we'll be happy campers.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    True, the Mazda6 board has been extremly active because the vehicle itself is a fresh new product that has delighted and amazed many as well as received numerous positive press about it.
  • ldean4ldean4 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Sport Trac. Love it EXCEPT that I commute up and down the Colorado foothills every day and find that the engine power going uphill is exceeding lacking. Does anyone know if Ford ever plans to offere a V8 or something with more umph?
  • cookie01cookie01 Member Posts: 369
    Isn't that just an Avalanche??? hehehehe.

    Try shifting down to 2 from Drive. I found that helps on the steep hill to our house. Of course, we're only traveling at about 35-40... Not 60 mph..
  • bennbbennb Member Posts: 143
    I have a 2001 Sport Trac that I purchased right after they came out. All these are just my opinions. Mine is almost fully loaded I believe. I have 63,000 miles on my truck and still enjoy it a great deal.

    I did have the ENTIRE engine replaced at about 35,000 miles--dealer said it had happened with a few others as well around the country (not a lot, but a few). They have corrected the problem in the engines now.

    My friend has a 2003 and his interior is noticeably nicer than mine. I really enjoy the 2 tone leather in his, plus they got rid of the metallic look on the door handles and around the radio. My handles are scratched up and the material around the radio is wearing quite a bit.

    Unless you're obsessed with the idea of having a V-8 (depending what you're going to do; where you live) the V-6 is fine imho. I haven't done a lot of pulling, but when I have it does a pretty good job. It has a decent amount of get up and go. If I'm doing interstate driving I generally get right at 17 mpg. I drove the highways back to my parents' (2 hours) at the speed limit (60 mph) to see what the best I could do would be and averaged right at 20mpg. Generally my mix of city/highway is just about 16.5mpg all around.

    The interior is the exact same size as the prior generation Explorers from the back forward. I really like the red on white guages. The stereo is very good for factory (and I'm picky) even though they came out with a nicer one after my purchase. I have had CDs get stuck on occasion (mostly b/c I change them SO much), but have been able to fix that myself without much trouble. On the road I vent my moonroof and back window and it provides a nice flow of air through the cabin. The back seat isn't the roomiest, but it's fine.

    I would HIGHLY recommend getting the tonneau cover from the factory. It's hinged in the middle so you can flip the front portion or the back portion open. Basically serves as a large trunk--although it still gets a little dusty back there. It really makes me enjoy the vehicle a lot more. The back is quite deep. I have used the tailgate extender a few times when moving things as well and it works pretty well.

    All in all it's been the most practical vehicle I've owned. I don't really haul a whole lot of stuff, but it's nice to have the back if I do. It doesn't feel like a pickup, but moreso an SUV. It's fun to drive and doesn't feel overly big. I really do think it's the best of all worlds--for ME at least.

    Favorite Features:

    KEYPAD ENTRY -- I can't tell you how much I love this feature. I don't know why more auto companies don't have this (probably Ford Co patent or something). If it's cold and I'm running in somewhere I can just leave my keys in the car with it on and lock it up. I can just lock my keys in the car when I park and not have to worry about carrying them or losing them. I could go ON AND ON. Really makes me want to own a Ford product for the rest of my life.

    REAR WINDOW -- for for novelty than anything, but it is a neat feature.

    STEREO -- very solid and I like the 6 in the head unit. Ford generally has the nicest sounding systems.


    Shoddy interior materials that have NOW been changed.

    The backseat is just a little cramped, but nothing too bad.


    If anybody has any other questions at all, I'd be glad to answer!
  • bennbbennb Member Posts: 143
    I wish they offered an AUTO 4 x 4 mode -- it has 2 hi, 4 high, and 4 low.
  • cookie01cookie01 Member Posts: 369
    I think the back seat is MORE than roomy enough. I'm 5'6 and have plenty of room back there. !!!

    One thing I would really like is rear seat grab handles. I use the front ones all the time. The truck is just tall enough to need a little something to "help" get up there.

    Has anyone installed aftermarket handles? Will Ford do it? (we don't have the side curtain air bags, so there's nothing up there we'd be blocking)
  • renonevadarenonevada Member Posts: 69
    My wife got a 2001 Explorer ST as soon as they came out. We opted to get an AST color-coordinated fiberglass over steel bed cover to match her truck. Has been extremely reliable for 3years. Only once to dealership for temp gauge needle stuck when initially starting engine in the morning. Replaced - no problemo. Have been using Mobil 1 10W30 since first oil change. Runs smooth as silk. The 5-speed auto is silky smooth, also. Making last Sport Trac payment next month. YEAH! Lots of fun - highly recommend it (especially for a woman who wants a SUV with a bed).
  • renonevadarenonevada Member Posts: 69
    is that the gas mileage for a 5-speed auto should have higher ratings: the ST gets anywhere between 16.6 to 18.2 mpg. That's a combination of 70% highway/30% city driving. The rearend is a 3.73 ratio - so maybe we should have ordered a 3.55 rearend instead. No towing involved.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Member Posts: 647
    I'm seriously considering buying a used Sport Trac, and I'd like to know if there are many differences between the 01's and the 02's. I know they took the metallic paint off the dashboard in 02, but are there any mechanical changes from 01 to 02 in the engine, drivetrain or brakes? Any additional safety improvements?

    I think the Sport Trac will perfectly suit our needs for hauling people, and an occasional need for a truck, and it's not as expensive as the Chevy Avalanche.

    I know the Sport Trac is on the last generation Explorer platform, but that doesn't seem to be a problem with those who are posting on this forum, most of you seem to be happy with the Sport Trac.
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    I had considered the Sport Trac but in the end chose the larger F-150 Supercrew. The bed on the Sportrac was just too small at 4'. If the F-150 is not too big, it may be a better choice.

    Of course the one thing that I wish I had was the neat power back window that the sport trac has.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    I believe it is an option on the new F-150 higher lined models.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Member Posts: 647
    I looked at the F150, but I really like the size and design of the SportTrac. It's perfect for carrying bikes and small loads, and the bed extender helps when you need it. I think the MPG may also be slightly better with the SportTrac.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • wandafulwandaful Member Posts: 1
    We are seriously considering the purchase of a 2001 Sport Trac. It is in beautiful shape, but...they tell me that the transmission is perfectly won't lock in low gear going down a hill....or even 2nd gear. THeir explaination is that the braking system makes up for this and it is to save blowing up the transmission. We live in the mountains, and if this is truely a *feature* of the sport trac, we won't get one, but I do find it hard to believe. Any thoughts? Do yours use compression in low gear to descend hills?
    I kinda need an answer as soon as possible.
  • jrc346jrc346 Member Posts: 337
    My wife has a 2000 Explorer 4L SOHC (4-door) with the same drivetrain that the 2001 Sport Trac's came with. If selected to a lower gear on the column shift, it will hold a low gear while descending a hill.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    If you're going fast and downshift to a gear that would blow the engine or transmission, it usually won't go into the lower gear until you get to an acceptable speed, then it automatically seeks the gear you selected. But if you start out in low, and it won't hold low gear, it's malfunctioning.
  • dejudge5dejudge5 Member Posts: 1
    Can I buy a switch that keeps headlites on when ignition is on and if I get a compass,self dimming and outside temp. from Ford Dealer how hard is it to install? I have a 2003 Trac and this is my first post.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    I don't think you can get that mirror from a Ford dealer. But your car can be programmed for daytime running lights. Wish I knew how, but someone here may. Do you have a keyless entry pad on the door?
  • lennxlennx Member Posts: 73
    I would love to have this on my F-150 too. Any one know how?
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Member Posts: 168

    I bought a 2003 Sport-Trac XLT Premium about 3 weeks ago and like it very much. It does have the auto-dimming Rear View Mirror and overhead readout for outside temp and compass. It also has the 'autolamp' feature which turns the exterior lights on/off automatically depending on the light sensor located on the winshield.

    I'm not sure if you can get the all those features in one unit but the auto mirror w/compass is available from aftermarket shops.

    The mileage I'm getting is a bit over 18mpg, 90% highway, which I guess is good but I was hoping for closer to 20mpg. Anyway, the truck has been great and those heated leather seats are so nice in the cool of the morning when getting underway.

    The fit/finish/quality is no where near that of my 2002 ES300, but for 27K OTD, it's acceptable.

    BTW, anyone know of an aftermarker hard tonneau cover that is similar to the Ford one?

    Thanks and happy motoring -

    M. J. McCloskey
  • rc7762rc7762 Member Posts: 35
    My wife was in the market for a new vehicle and was looking for a 4 wheel drive, she always liked the style of the small pickups but wanted something with 4 doors and bigger but she did not see any SUV's that she liked. We first saw the ST in May 2001 in a parking lot she made me pull over to get a closer look and that was it she fell in love with it. She test drove an ST in August 2001, the dealer only had 1 on his lot it was fully loaded w/leather, moon roof, 6 cd changer, etc. Once she drove it that was it before I knew it she was signing papers. She was happy to be purchasing a vehicle she really liked and I was equally as happy trading in my VW Jetta that I hated almost from day one (but thats another story).

    Since purchasing the ST it has only been in for service 1 time for the moon roof leaking the problem was fixed the same day and has been fine since (even through hurricane Isabell).

    Being that this is the first 4 wheel drive either of us have owned, I could not wait for snow so I could try the ST out on lousy driving conditions, but living in the Baltimore area the winters here have been mild for some time now that is until this past winter, 3+ feet of snow!
    We live in the country and our driveway is somewhat steep and when it snows 2 or more inches we park at the bottom and walk to the house but the ST had no problem going up and down the driveway in all that snow and I drove all over the place seeing nothing on the roads but 4 wheel drives and it felt good to see what I paid the extra money for and what the vehicle could do in 4 wheel drive, needless to say I was impressed as was my wife.

    I really don't get to drive the ST all that much being that it is her vehicle but when I do I am impressed with the power of the V6 and I like sitting up high and feeling much safer than I do in my car (Honda civic). Since purchasing the ST my wife has had no complaints but there are a few things I have noticed that I would like to mention:

    - Cab is noisy at high speeds and when it's windy outside.

    - Rattles have developed soon after purchasing the vehicle.

    - Interior metal trim seems to scratch easy and has chipped in a few places.

    We are getting ready to purchase a trailer to haul motorcycles, garden tractor, etc. I would appreciate any advice on trailers, hitches, etc. since either one of us have owned or pulled a trailer.


  • bjbird2bjbird2 Member Posts: 647
    Just curious, I'm thinking about buying a ST. Why do you need a trailer to haul motorcycles, garden tractor, etc. Won't most of that fit in the ST?
    Off topic, I'm also curious about the Jetta. I have a 2002 1.8T Passat, and it's been the best all-around car I've ever owned. Gets up to 34mpg, and has lots of power.
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