Packs a Punch & Lots of Gear: 2007 Ford Sports Trac Review
Expect serious improvements when it comes to horsepower, cargo space and frame toughness
Modeled after the Explorer, the Sport Trac came into existence in 2001 as an ambitious pickup with modern take on extended cargo space. The Ford Motor Company hasn’t stopped improving the model since. The 2007 Sport Trac offers both the practical and outdoor enthusiast crowd a 5-seat midsized SUV/truck that is honestly better than the year before in areas that honestly matter: space, frame, suspension and engine power.
The 2007 Sport Trac offers 42% more horsepower in the form of a 292-horsepower 4.6-liter, 3-value V8 engine equipped with 300 lb-ft of torque for the 6-speed automatic. This V8 is new for the vehicle. The towing capacity grew to 6,800 lbs and it pulls very well.
Also headlining the improvements is all-new Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), a first for the Sport Trac. You get 8.8 inches of individual wheel travel to handle jounce rebounding in the back. Also featured is a coil-over-shock design with stronger steel control arms for a smoother ride and “road-hugging agility.”A Whole New Frame of Light
Another biggie here about Sport Trac improvements is that the frame is “five times stiffer of its predecessor.” The fully boxed frame features a “tube-through-tube” design taken from the F-150. This means certain crossbeams pass through the frame rails before being welded in place. Ford claims the foundation has a “427% increase” of improvement. In fact, it side-impact crash requirements are now good until 2010.
There is also a new Control Trac 4-wheel drive system that goes from everyday driving (AUTO) to “serious rock-crawling” (LOW) or icy conditions (HIGH) with the push of a button. Ford wants this vehicle to deliver more versatility and expects its drivers are looking for it when road conditions change dangerously and drastically.Space, Space & More Space
With the Sport Trac, you don’t have a pickup bed. You’ve got complex storing cargo space for all your pricy gear and gear gadgets. Like the vehicle literature states, getting back into nature doesn’t have to mean roughing it.
The composite cargo box on the 2007 has 26.7 percent more room than previous models. That breaks down to 5-inches longer and 2-inches wider. You’ve got a corrosion-proof exterior with a dent-proof and scratch-resistant molded inner liner. An additional three hidden gear bins are integrated in the floor of the cargo box. It’s probably one of the nicest pickup beds – excuse me, cargo boxes – you’ll see on the market.
The Sport Trac does become a pickup bed when the optional cargo bed extender opens up the tailgate to load another 6-cubic ft of toys. This is pretty ingenious stuff and another of the vehicle’s versatility trademarks. There is also an optional locking hard tonneau cover. It hinges in the center so you can access the back or the front or the cargo box. It also comes with a 12-volt standard power point in the cargo box.
For interior space, the second row’s 60/40-split bench seat that holds three passengers folds down for 44.4-cubic ft of cargo space. Seats are also available in a 2-tone leather upgrade along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. You can also adjust the seats in 10 different ways and “heat ‘um up.” All-around temperature control, from a heated windshield to dual-zone air control, is a big deal for the Sport Trac. Ford imagines the outdoor enthusiast who drives to the waves in the morning and then onto the snow-covered mountains by mid-afternoon will appreciate all this.Outdoor Fanatics Can Get More Fanatical
Overall, the 2007 Sport Trac offers a little piece of outdoor serenity and a big piece of cargo space with an improved frame, engine and suspension.
When you look at the price in terms of what you will get out of the vehicle and what you will be able to pack into it, it’s a digestible amount. Basic retail price for the XLT 4WD 4.6-liter is nearly $28,000. You know the gas situation for most midsized SUVs, and this one runs 14-mpg city driving and 20-mpg highway driving.
Obviously, it pays to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to listening to your customers. In lieu of Ford improving precise issues, the 2007 version offers a tougher frame and a sturdier feel due to independent rear suspension. This leads to an overall smoother, quieter and safer ride for the driver and passengers.
One final note: the 2007 Sport Trac has shed its Explorer affiliation, a label that probably worked better when the Explorer was the top-selling SUV. It’s literally quite big enough to carry its own image now.