Sport Trac adds trunks
Ford Explorer pickup also gets bigger
Sport Trac Concept
BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Ford will raise the ante in pickup versatility by offering three trunks in the bed of its Explorer Sport Trac when it goes on sale next year as a 2007 model.
Honda briefly shook up the truck world earlier this year, when its midsize Ridgeline pickup debuted with a spacious lockable trunk under its cargo bed.
Ridgeline sales got off to a slow start, but Ford hopes the new Sport Trac's larger size and optional V8 engine will draw buyers. Ford sells about 60,000 Sport Tracs a year.
The new Sport Trac's wheelbase is 16.7 inches longer than the model it replaces. The five-passenger truck's overall length grows just over 5 inches.
Two small trunks are located between the rear wheels and the tailgate. They are each about the size of a six-pack. The bigger bin is located at the front of the bed. All three storage compartments are lockable and have drainage plugs. The smaller compartments each have 0.25 cubic feet of space, while the larger holds 1.4 for a total of 1.9 cubic feet. That compares to 8.5 cubic feet in the Ridgeline's large single trunk.
The Sport Trac's structure borrows from the new Explorer SUV and Ford's F-150 pickup.
Its independent rear suspension, borrowed from the Explorer, should provide a much smoother ride than the old Sport Trac, which went on sale as a 2001 model.
The pickup's frame -- the skeleton to which the body, suspension and drivetrain are attached -- uses the same strong layout as the F-150.
Ford says the new frame is more than four times as stiff as the previous one, which borrowed much of its structure from Ford's Ranger pickup.
The 2007 model will also be the first Sport Trac to offer an optional V8 engine. Ford's 4.6-liter V8 produces 292 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The base powertrain consists of a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 and five-speed automatic.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control and rollover-sensing stability control are standard equipment. Seat-mounted side air bags are standard equipment, while curtain air bags and four-wheel-drive are optional.
The truck features notches to fit 2x4 planks to create a two-level bed for extra cargo.
Interior changes include a console mounted shifter and optional two-tone leather seats.
Ford will build the Sport Trac at its Louisville, Ky., plant. Sales will begin in early 2006.