Explorer Sport Trac: Nothing Else Like It
“It is all about versatility and innovation. There is nothing else
like it. The new Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a sport utility
vehicle for people who live the SUV lifestyle. They like the
comforts of the interior space, but there are days they wish they
had more cargo room to haul a muddy mountain bike or pick up a load
of top soil for the yard. But these people would never own a pickup
truck – they just don’t need one. Sport Trac is the perfect answer
to balance the needs of these customers.”
O’Connor, President, Ford Division
Ford is introducing the first sport utility vehicle with an open
cargo area for added flexibility in the type of gear and stuff it
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is an all-new type of sport utility
vehicle (SUV), based on the best-selling Ford Explorer, which builds
on Ford’s tradition of tough trucks with innovations designed to
Explorer Sport Trac combines the best features of Explorer with more
cargo-carrying versatility. At the same time, Sport Trac is
designed to project an adventurous image with a bold styling, inside
and out, and improved ride and handling – something compact pickups
with crew cab configurations cannot match.
The 2001 Explorer Sport Trac features several innovations,
- The first vehicle with a composite cargo area
cargo cage that increases cargo area length and a lockable, hard
- The first power rear window in a truck or SUV
- A segment exclusive weatherproof 12-volt powerpoint in the open
- A standard center console that includes a removable
The Explorer Sport Trac is similar to the Adrenalin concept vehicle
that Ford introduced in 1996. Due to the overwhelmingly positive
reaction to the concept, Ford moved to bring a production version to
“It was such a runaway hit, we actually had to pull it off the show
circuit because we were afraid the competition would see the crowds
gathering around and react with a version of their own,” said
Sport Trac’s versatility is no accident. Ford engineers spent
several hundred hours with SUV and pickup truck owners to better
understand how they use the vehicles and to anticipate their future
The customer research paid off, as a unique customer emerged with a
set of needs not being met by anything currently on the market. A
clear message came from SUV owners, who were the most enthusiastic
about the need for an added open cargo area.
“Customer input was the driver of this program,” says Steve Ross,
Explorer Sport Trac chief program engineer. “A lot of SUV customers
told us they loved the roominess, but they wanted a little more
versatility to carry more stuff.” Armed with customer feedback, the
development team turned to the Explorer platform as the ideal
Chassis Engineered for Ride Comfort
Explorer Sport Trac is based on the four-door Explorer, with the
frame lengthened 14.25 inches. Sport Trac’s frame also is 40
percent laterally stiffer than Explorer’s, with larger brake rotors
and a specially tuned suspension. The added lateral stiffness -
which makes the vehicle more agile on and off the road – was
achieved through additional gussets on the vehicle’s longitudinal
beams, as well as a new tubular crossmember and thicker frame side
Ford engineers also worked to reduce unwanted road and engine
vibration from reaching occupants. This was achieved by using
urethane body mounts – another Ford first on an SUV – rather than
the typical solid rubber ones.
The result is quiet, confident handling and a more balanced ride.
Even with such refinement, Explorer Sport Trac’s rugged SUV roots
were never compromised, making off-road travel just as
Two different types of wheels are available on Explorer Sport Trac.
A 15-inch silver-painted styled steel wheel with a new P235/75R-15
all-season Firestone radial tire specifically engineered for
Explorer Sport Trac and Explorer Sport is standard on 4×2 models.
On 4×4 models, an all-terrain version of this tire is standard.
An all-terrain P255/70R-16 Firestone fitted to a 16-inch bright cast
aluminum, five-spoke wheel is optional on both 4×2 and 4×4 models.
The Sport Trac’s full-size spare tire, located under the rear of the
vehicle, comes mounted on a steel wheel.
Explorer Sport Trac’s 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) V-6
engine has refined power for all driving conditions. Rated at 205
horsepower, the engine is designed to meet Ford’s tough truck
durability requirements but still be quiet and smooth enough to
cruise comfortably to a concert or while towing a pair of jet skis.
Explorer Sport Trac’s powertrain meets California’s Low Emission
Vehicle (LEV) standards – as do all Ford SUVs in the U.S.
Explorer Sport Trac’s four-wheel-drive system can be shifted while
the vehicle is moving, thanks to an electronic shift-on-the-fly
transfer case with automatic locking hubs. Three drivetrain modes
can be selected: 2WD for normal driving on clear, dry roads; 4WD
HIGH, for slippery surfaces at higher speeds; and 4WD LOW for heavy
snow or deep mud and when driving speeds are lower.
Sporty, Functional Exterior Design
Sport Trac’s exterior is clean and purposeful, yet rugged. Its
aggressive “power-dome” hood flows into a honeycomb platinum-color
grille flanked by vertical air intakes. The two-tone front bumper
fascia flows into new sculptured, flared front fenders.
The upper portion of the bumper is color-keyed to the sheet metal
with the lower portion molded in a medium titanium accent color.
Integrated into openings in the bumpers are new optional fog
lamps and a pair of black tow hooks (standard on 4×4, optional on
4×2) that add to Explorer Sport Trac’s athletic appearance.
Also available as a factory-installed option are step bars that run
the length of the cab. The step area of the bar is covered with a
skid-resistant coating for increased safety while entering or
exiting the vehicle. Aggressive-looking black roof rails are
standard on Sport Trac and give the vehicle a more active
appearance. When fitted with optional cross bars – available
through Ford dealerships – the rack has a load capacity of 100
Cargo Capability Unmatched in a Compact SUV
The 2001 Explorer Sport Trac is the industry’s first vehicle to have
an all-composite open cargo area. Made of sheet molded composite
(SMC) plastic, the open cargo area will never rust and can handle
whatever owners throw in it or at it. It even survived Ford’s own
“Rock, Rake and Weight tests.”
Sport Trac is designed to be just as comfortable carrying groceries
and six sets of golf clubs in its composite open cargo area as it is
hauling mountain bikes or 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood for weekend
The innovative cargo area provides 29.6 cubic feet of space and is
20 percent lighter than a steel box, which helps ride and handling
and fuel economy. Located in the cargo area is a 12-volt powerpoint
that allows customers to power such items as power tools, electric
refrigerators or mobile telephones from the rear of the vehicle -
ideal for those using Explorer Sport Trac for camping and other
outdoor activities. Ten cargo hooks – six on the outside rail and
four on the inside of the cargo area – help keep goods in place.
Also available are a lockable two-piece hard tonneau cover, cargo
area divider and stainless steel cargo cage.
The tonneau cover folds from the front or the rear, allowing
customers to access cargo from the front or rear. The cover
protects cargo from weather and locks to keep valuables safe and
An industry-leading innovation is Explorer Sport Trac’s tubular
stainless steel “cargo cage,” which adds more versatility to the
The cargo cage provides 22.6 inches of added cargo room by allowing
cargo to be secured with the tailgate lowered. The cargo cage locks
in place on the open tailgate providing a lateral and longitudinal
When rotated and stored into the cargo area, the cargo cage also
provides a divider of the cargo area to control movement of small
items stored in the cargo area.
Cargo also can be managed through the use of a plastic divider, an
accessory available from Ford dealers. The divider has latch pins
that pop into holes in the cargo area, dividing the cargo area into
Spacious, Innovative Interior
Explorer Sport Trac offers a dynamic interior, not just in
appearance but in the quality of materials used and the overall
attention to detail.
Versatility is the key to the interior design of Explorer Sport
Trac. The flooring is made of a washable, textured composite
rubber, covered with Berber carpet floor mats. In addition to
supporting an active lifestyle, the composite flooring also reduces
Seating is designed to comfortably accommodate five adults. Up
front, new bucket seats, which are more rugged, durable and easy to
clean, were created specifically for Explorer Sport Trac.
The instrument panel takes on a bold new look, with white gauge
faces and titanium accents on the instrument panel and door handles.
For the active lifestyles of Explorer Sport Trac buyers, a removable
soft pack bag is stowed under the hinged center armrest. The bag
can be slung on the shoulder to carry snacks, CDs or bottled water.
When stored in the vehicle, the bag serves as the storage area of
the center floor console.
Standard on Explorer Sport Trac is an AM/FM stereo with a single CD
player and four premium speakers.
An 80-watt AM/FM stereo with a six-disc, in-dash CD player is
available (a new Pioneer 290-watt AM/FM stereo will be available in
fall 2000). When the Leather Comfort Group is ordered, rear seat
occupants receive a console with independent climate and audio
controls, two headphone jacks and two cupholders. A control knob
for the standard power rear window – another industry first – is
located on the instrument panel. The window is one-touch up and
down, and features an anti-pinch sensor.
Comprehensive Safety and Security
Like all Ford vehicles, safety on the Explorer Sport Trac was a
priority throughout its development.
Extensive computer modeling was used to support the overall design
of the vehicle for crash safety.
Structural “crumple zones” are designed to help protect the
passenger compartment during a frontal crash, while side door beams
help protect occupants in certain side impacts.
In addition to the vehicle’s inherent safety qualities, features
include height-adjustable, load-limiting shoulder belts for both the
driver and passenger seating positions. The height-adjuster allows
occupants of different heights to position the belt in the most
The load-limiting feature incorporates an energy management system
that reduces deceleration forces on an occupant during a frontal
crash. Front-seat occupants are further protected with Second
_Generation dual air bags. Standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) further
enhance safety by providing the driver with an improved sense of
All Explorer Sport Tracs also come equipped with Ford’s Belt-Minder
system, designed to remind drivers to buckle up. Child safety seat
tether anchors are provided at all three locations in the rear seat.
Explorer Sport Trac also features SecuriLockTM, a passive anti-theft system that
prevents the vehicle from being started unless a special ignition
key containing an embedded transponder with the proper code is
inserted in the ignition.
Continuing to Lead the SUV Market
Explorer Sport Trac is the logical evolution of Ford’s dominance in
sport utility vehicles.
Sport Trac’s blend of utility and versatility, with style and
technology, is designed to appeal to a customer with a unique set of
- Those that like the comfort, safety, and
image of sport utility vehicles
- Customers who want a vehicle
with styling that turns heads
- People who need a vehicle with
true off-road capability and room to seat five adults
hauling dirty gear such as wood, gardening supplies, trees, shrubs
or fishing gear, who don’t like messing up their carpeted SUV
Explorer Sport Trac is built at Ford’s Louisville, Ky., assembly
plant – along with the 4-door Explorer and 2-door Explorer Sport.
Sport Trac goes on sale in late January 2000.