Monday, September 30, 2013

Used Car Review - Ford Explorer Sport Trac (2000-2004)

Lifestyle truck? Err... Let Myk Belmonte do the talking about this truck for you.

2000-2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Most pick-up trucks are geared toward hauling or the image of the Marlboro Man, but going towards active lifestyles? Hmm, its a niche. In the Philippines, majority of pick-up trucks are advertised to carry heavy cargoes like construction materials and balikbayan boxes but for those who are in the sporty side (scuba diving, mountain climbing) are definitely rare. Now, all pick-up trucks (nearly) have a mountain bike in their marketing paraphernalia.

Derived from, well you guessed it, the Explorer SUV; the Sport Trac is the first sport utility truck to be introduced in the US (it was followed by the Chevrolet Avalanche and the Honda Ridgeline) and slots between the Ranger and F150 in price and size. This vehicle is built on a stretched Explorer chassis, with the bed replacing the rear cargo area. The first generation model was first available in 2000 and discontinued in 2005 to make way for the second generation model launched the following year.

Ford Group Philippines launched the Explorer Sport Trac at the end of 2000 as part of its market portfolio expansion. It was a different approach since body on frame trucks were mostly targeting construction firms and farmers and the F150 is too large. With decreasing sales, Ford had no choice but to drop this vehicle in the line-up in 2004. From launch, one can get this vehicle in either 4x2 or 4x4 with an NBX trim (only available with the 4x2) being added in 2003.

Value and Costs
Since the Philippines do not like their trucks to be paired with gasoline powerplants, these vehicles have low residuals. And in the case of the Sport Trac, a unit can be had for between P280,000-P470,000. Just remember to weigh in your priorities especially if you want a gasoline powered truck.

Don't expect maintenance costs to be the same level with the Ranger (or any pick-up truck with CRDi technology) since it drinks gasoline fuel. Parts are similar with the Explorer SUV (which is based on) so parts hunting isn't a problem. Check out the bed area if the plastic materials are intact.

Exterior and Interior
Rugged lines dominate the Sport Trac's exterior, which resembles several Ford SUVs (duh). The exterior has some styling cues that shames other pick-up trucks during that time. Cargo space in the bed is decent enough, and a bed liner comes standard across the board. Roof rails and step board comes standard in the NBX and 4x4; while a bed cover and cargo cage is available in the 4x4. When it comes to length, the Sport Trac measures 5,230mm while the smallest model of the F150 has a length of 5,702mm.

Inside, the dashboard would like to remind you that it is a 90s car launched at the turn of the millennium, the same goes with the odometer which is the roll type. The column stick frees up space for the center console that houses the cupholders. Amenities inside include a power window at the rear, and dual audio system and climate control for front and rear occupants. Space for four is great, five is a squeeze.

The only engine option locally (and worldwide) is the Cologne 4,009cc which packs 205hp at 5,000rpm and 327Nm at 4,000rpm. It does not want to be revved hard, early shifts is the recipe for a pleasurable drive. The 5-speed automatic helps aid fuel efficiency, not performance.

Driving Impressions
Disclaimer: despite the Sport moniker, do not drive this vehicle like a sports car. Steering is precise, but slow to react and there is some body roll present. Road imperfections is transmitted from the outside to the passengers. The good thing is that, ground clearance is excellent for wading flooded streets and dirt roads. Just treat it as an item of utility, not of sporty desires.

Allergic to diesels but want the bed? Then the Explorer Sport Trac is heaven sent. Definitely practical than the F150, but not losing some street cred. Before anything else, weigh in the options if you really want a Sport Trac.

The Good:
  • Sporty personality
  • Easy to drive
  • More practical than the F150 you are dreaming
The Bad:
  • No diesels
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Poor build quality
The Pick: 4x2

Engine: 4,009cc Cologne V6 gasoline
Power: 205hp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 327Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent , rear rigid axle with leaf springs

Price (New): P1,100,000-P1,600,000
Price (Now): P280,000-P470,000
Rivals: Ford F150, Dodge Dakota, Chevrolet Silverado
On Sale: 2000-2004

Ford Libis - (02) 637-2044
Ford EDSA - (02) 744-2222
Ford Quezon Avenue - (02) 361-9503

Photos from

No comments:

Post a Comment