In the mud, up the trail, all in a whisper

2007, Ford, Explorer Sport Trac

The 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac (XLT or Limited, V6 or V8, 4x2 or 4x4) has been upgraded to the new 2007 Explorer chassis from the original Ford truck Ranger platform. Larger, longer, gentler a ride. Yes one can traverse mud holes, climb greater than 45 degree grades and have a quiet windless ride and comfort like a sedan. But there is always more.

Double cab, crew cab, 4 doors, pick your marketing speak to describe a four-way (hinged door) entry machine. The 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac covers the pup bed with hinged lid while the bed beneath contains a rectangular shaped 'cargo' hole in the base of the front portion of the bed plus rear bed sided storage bins. Room, comfort, storage to get muddy, bounce on the trail, all while listening to your iPod.

The 2007 Explorer Sport Trac, as has the machine it is based on, the 2007 Explorer plus the Mercury Mountaineer has earned the highest frontal offset crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Previously the 2007 Explorer, Sport Trac, and Mercury Mountaineer have earned five-stars in both frontal and side crash ratings for drivers and passengers. Ford's "10 advanced safety technologies" (roll, traction technologies) are standard equipment in the both versions (XLT, Limited) of the 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

This is the version of the Explorer to get dirty all the time, haul your off-road motorbikes, push bikes, jet skis, snowmobiles or, you get it. This is the "it looks good not washed!" vehicle. Or is it? Driving the 2007 Explorer Sport Trac the first mile, turn, brake, acceleration in traffic felt like a sedan not a SUV/truck. Steering is neutral, comfortable, easy. Symmetry of the company's touted frame stiffness delivers effortless cruising.

The SOHC, 3 valves per cylinder, variable camshaft timing, 292 @ 5,750 rpm horsepower, 300lb torque @ 3950 rpm V8 version engine feels and sounds strong. The exhaust reminded me of the company's premiere GT Mustang (V8 powered.) Ford's new 6-speed transmission pulls the new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac up street inclines without shifting down to redline to make power.

Plus the 6-speed transmission on the V8 version promises improved fuel economy. A V6 version of the new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac is available also with a 5-speed tranny producing 210 @ 5,100 rpm ponies with 254 lb.-ft. @ 3,700 rpm torque.

Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac optional foldable hard Tonneau covered short box bed, (49.6" wide x 61.4" long x 21.2" high) has three cargo stash compartments. Two at the rear of the bed along the sides and a larger (width of bed) rectangular storage box at the front of the be.

Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac wins the rear cab legroom and combined legroom numbers over the company's perceived class competition: Toyota Tacoma Double Cab, Nissan Frontier Crew Cab, Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab, Dodge Dakota Quad Cab, and Honda Ridgeline. Number are numbers. But I'm 6'4", 36" inseam in my Wranglers and yes I rode in the back and didn't need to turn my legs to the side with a 6' person riding shotgun (passenger seat) in front of me. I could sit up straight also too. No cowboy hat room but baseball hats work just fine.

Interior seats, floor mats, trim are inherited from the F-150. Ford's "tough luxury" juxtaposition of terms cleverly reaches both sides of a person's sensibility, i.e. comfort yet rugged. It works. I didn't feel like I was in a work truck. Closer to a sedan. Clean, clear, purposeful lines inside Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac.

Ortega highway (Ca. 74) in Southern California is a motobikers nirvanna. Sweepers, switchbacks, straits, and iconic overlooks. Its a wonderfully tempting road to find out the limits of a vehicle, 2 wheels or 4x4. Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac hugged the two laner effortlessly for a 4x4 SUV/PUP hybrid vehicle design. I detected dampened roll and yaw from the back seat. I wouldn't of lost my stomach or 64 oz Big Gulp of choice.

Driving Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac on P235/70R16 all season tires up an ATV greater than 45 degree hill with 4 American men ~600lbs approximated a loaded bed and towing condition. I felt a bottoming-out on a 2' crested drop off mudhole but Ford's new 2007 Explorer Sport Trac compromise of street and trail capability is remarkable. One could change the stock shocks to compensate for terrain but street handling would also change. Electronically putting the machine in 4x4 low and starting down the steep incline with foot off the brake was effortless and giddy. Looky-lou, no brake. Maximum tow rating for the V8 is 6640lbs.

2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac models and pricing range from Edmonds: XLT Styles (4x2 or 4x4, V6 or V8) (MSRP: $24,245 - $27,940) Limited Styles (4x2 or 4x4, V6 or V8) (MSRP: $25,845 - $29,540)

2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Limited V8 4x4 with options totaling $32,590, (priced at Edmonds.)

By Mark 'Stretch' Batchelor

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Images of the 2007, Ford Explorer Sport Trac

2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac in the mud
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac in the mud
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac cockpit
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac cockpit
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac storage bed
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac storage bed
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac bed
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac bed