The Honda Ridgeline, the company’s first pickup truck, sold nearly 53,000 vehicles last year. Though the numbers were considered disappointing by Honda and much of the press, the total nevertheless concerns Ford Motor Co., since many of those sales were from its segment share.

Now Ford is striking back with the 2007 Ford Sport Trac. The latest version, which is based off the new Explorer, provides greater room, for both interior and cargo space. A V8 engine (which had not been available in previous years) is now an option... the Ridgeline makes do with a V6. Ford has improved the Sport Trac’s safety equipment and systems to earn the highest rating for frontal offset impact safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as all government crash tests. To counter the Ridgeline’s lockable trunk built into its truck-bed, the Sport Trac comes with a lockable bed cover as an option.

But the best feature, Ford and analysts points out, is that many truck buyers still don’t consider the Ridgeline a ‘truck’ due to its unibody construction. Says Jim Sanfilippo, an AMCI analyst, "I'm not sure the domestic truck buyer has figured out what the Ridgeline is.”

Full details can be found at the link.

[Source: Detroit News, picture by Ford]