Ford officially unveiled the 2007 Explorer Sport Trac over the weekend at the Texas State Fair showing off the sport utility truck's new look and the trick gear bins recessed in the 4.5-foot cargo box. The Sport Trac is all Explorer from the B-pillar forward, but adds its own rear doors and a cargo box made of corrosion-proof sheet molded composite (SMC). Two of the three recessed cargo bins are, and I quote, "six-pack-size" while the larger one spans the width of the bed directly behind the cab. The all-new chassis gets the tube-through-tube frame from the new F-150 and lifts its IRS from the new Explorer. Motivation comes from either the standard 4.0L V6 rated at 210 hp/254 lb-ft. of torque or for the first time a SOHC V8 with 4.6L of displacement, three-valves per cylinder, variable cam timing and a class-leading 292 hp and 300 lb-ft. of torque.
Tons of pics and full press release after the jump...
RUGGED NEW EXPLORER SPORT TRAC POURS IT ON WITH STYLE, CAPABILITY, SAFETY, AND DRAIN PLUGS
2007 Explorer Sport Trac
The 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac combines attributes of the best-selling Ford Explorer and best-selling Ford F-150. The Sport Trac is new from the ground up, including its innovative cargo box with tiered storage and a trio of integrated storage bins, complete with drain plugs.
"Sport Trac is designed for customers who demand the comfort and refinement of a five-passenger SUV as well as a tough and rugged adventure vehicle for hauling everything from mountain bikes to landscaping supplies," says Steve Lyons, group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "The all-new 2007 Sport Trac delivers all of the multi-functional character of the original, and does it better than ever."
Everything New Outside: Rugged design inspired by Explorer and F-150
The first thing one notices about the 2007 Sport Trac is its contemporary new look, which blends tough truck exterior cues also found on the new 2006 Explorer and F-150 pickup. The tough and ready appearance is an overt nod to Sport Trac's truck and SUV siblings, each dominant leaders in their respective class.
From the B-pillar forward, the Sport Trac design is shared with the 2006 Explorer, including the standard chrome-finished grille, powerdome aluminum hood, and pronounced wheel arches. The rear doors are unique, and the C-pillar arch serves as a visual separation between the people space and cargo space.
The 4 ½-foot cargo box is constructed of corrosion-proof sheet molded composite (SMC) with a molded-in black inner liner that resists scratches and is dent-proof. The box is notched, allowing customers to place two 2x4 boards across the span to provide tiered storage of materials - including the ubiquitous 4x8 sheets of plywood. The outer SMC shell is painted body color and accented with tie-down anchors, emphasizing the Sport Trac's functional design.
Inside the box are three integrated cargo bins designed to maximize cargo-carrying ability and contribute to Sport Trac's versatility. The bins are recessed into the bed floor, with two six-pack-sized bins in the right and left rear of the box and one large bin that runs the length of the box headboard. The bins are equipped with weather-resistant lids and removable drain plugs for storing wet gear or ice.
An available tubular aluminum cargo cage acts as a cargo divider or can be swung out as a bed extender for extra storage capacity when the tailgate lowered. An optional, locking hard tonneau cover keeps gear secure from the weather and would-be thieves.
Everything New Inside: Rubber floor covering, two-tone leather seating surfaces and class-exclusive heated windshield establish Sport Trac's rugged, comfortable interior
Sport Trac's rugged exterior image carries over into the personality of its interior. Sport-designed seat styles and standard Tuflor™ rubber floor covering are designed for tough utility, allowing owners to wash out mud and grime with relative ease. Sport Trac is equipped with Berber-carpeted floor mats, further complementing its rugged image. The interior seats five passengers and benefits from many of the same noise, vibration, and harshness improvements of the 2006 Explorer, making for an exceptionally quiet and comfortable cabin. Two-tone leather seating surfaces are available, as are heated front seats with 10-way power adjustment.
When the weather turns cold, Sport Trac offers the segment's only heated windshield, using micro-wires embedded in the glass, which helps prevent fogging and speeds up de-icing.
Unique interior door-release handles are another innovation found in the interior, ergonomically designed to the shape of the human hand at rest. Sport Trac features a new console-mounted gear selector designed after that of the F-150 pickup.
The standard audio system features a CD player with MP3 compatibility, and can be upgraded to the available six-disc, in-dash CD player with powered subwoofer. Integrated SIRIUS satellite radio is also available.
New Under the Hood: Standard 4.0-liter V-6 and 5-speed automatic transmission; available 4.6-liter V-8 and class-exclusive 6-speed automatic.
The 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac showcases Ford Motor Company's philosophy that engine employing advanced technologies can improve both performance and the environment.
For example, the Sport Trac's standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine meets federal Tier II, Bin 4 tailpipe emissions, the same as the Ford Escape Hybrid and cleaner than a Honda Accord Hybrid.
The 4.0-liter V-6 is rated at 210 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 254 pound-feet of torque at 3,700 rpm. The torque curve is designed to be relatively flat across the entire engine range and to provide strong performance at nearly any engine speed.
New engine calibrations and improved emissions controls cut NOx emissions by 74 percent - from 14.2 to 3.6 pounds per 15,000 miles - without sacrificing horsepower, torque, or fuel economy. In fact, fuel economy is expected to match the previous model, even though the 2007 Sport Trac is more than five inches longer - and almost two inches wider - than before.
The V-6, equipped with a standard five-speed automatic, delivers a maximum 5,310 pounds of towing capacity, and 1,450 pounds of payload.
For additional capability, the 2007 Sport Trac owners can now opt for an available V-8. The 4.6-liter, three-valve V-8 delivers 292 horsepower - the most horsepower in its class.
"Customers have been asking for a V-8 since day one," says Bryan Olson, Sport Trac marketing manager. "These customers want the added capability and towing capacity, as well as the power and performance that only a V-8 can deliver."
The new V-8 is paired with a class-exclusive six-speed automatic transmission. The 6F transmission's six gears and a wide 6.04:1 gear-ratio span enable the engine to spend more time in the optimum powerband - either at peak power for acceleration or at peak efficiency for more fuel economy.
The 4.6-liter V-8 and 6R transmission deliver a maximum 6,800 pounds of towing capacity, and 1,430 pounds of payload. In addition, the combination is expected to deliver more than 20 miles per gallon on the highway, matching the economy of the competitor's less-powerful V-6 engines. The V-8 meets federal Tier II Bin 5 standards, which is compliant with California's Low Emissions Vehicle II (LEV II) standards.
Either engine can be equipped with the Sport Trac's advanced Control Trac® four-wheel-drive system. Unlike less-sophisticated systems, Control Trac® features an automatic torque-split, which automatically transfers power to the front wheels as the rear wheels begin to loose traction. This increases safety and security without compromising fuel economy or NVH. In addition, the Control Trac® system features a torque-multiplying gear set in the transfer case for off-road applications that require extra power including deep sand, steep grades, and towing a boat trailer out of water.
New Underneath: All-new chassis features a tube-through-tube frame inspired by F-150, new IRS shared with Explorer
Capability and refinement start with the foundation of any vehicle: the chassis.
The Sport Trac adopts the F-150's tube-through-tube frame design, where the cross beams pass through the frame rails. The result delivers a dramatic 444 percent increase in stiffness compared with the previous Sport Trac's traditional frame for improved handling and decreased squeaks and rattles.
The new Sport Trac frame is shared with the 2006 Explorer, with a few significant changes:
• The wheelbase is stretched 16.8 inches
• A unique hanger is installed to accommodate the Sport Trac's two-piece driveshaft
• A spare tire carrier is integrated into the rear assembly
• The integrated tow bar is modified to accommodate the Sport Trac's step bumper
To capitalize on the stiffer frame, engineers developed all-new front and rear suspensions for the 2007 Sport Trac. The front suspension features a short- and long-arm design with coil-over shocks. New monotube shocks are tuned for softer damping of harsh impacts - such as potholes and expansion joints - while providing exemplary body control over larger road undulations and while cornering.
For the first time, the Sport Trac features an independent rear suspension with a patent-pending, trailing blade design. The Sport Trac's rear coil-over springs, monotube shocks, and a stabilizer bar have slightly stiffer rates than those of the 2006 Explorer, to adjust for the longer wheelbase and change in weight distribution.
IRS offers significantly better handling over both smooth and rough surfaces as each wheel reacts independently to bumps in the road, moving up and rearward simultaneously to absorb the bumps and reduce impact harshness. In addition, IRS drastically reduces rear-end skate, which is the lateral movement that occurs when a vehicle with a solid rear axle travels over sharp bumps or washboard/corrugated road surfaces.
Sizable, four-wheel disc brakes are standard, as is the four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution. The package creates a balanced chassis with ride and handling that is unrivaled in its segment.
"You wouldn't even want to bring in a comparison with a compact pickup in terms of ride and handling," says Nair. "The highest praise I can give the Sport Trac team is that they achieved the same driving experience as the new Explorer. Like Explorer, the new Sport Trac is just as comfortable on the freeway as it is driving down a washboard road, with the ideal balance of road isolation and ride control."
New Safety System: Sport Trac offers class-exclusive AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control, as well as new adaptive safety features
The 2007 Explorer Sport Trac also features the same class-leading safety package offered on the 2006 Ford Explorer.
"The 2007 Sport Trac offers the same impressive suite of safety features as the 2006 Explorer," says Sue Cischke, vice president, Environmental and Safety Engineering. "It offers active safety technology - including confidence-inspiring handling and braking combined with AdvanceTrac® with industry-exclusive Roll Stability Control (RSC®) - to help prevent accidents. In the case of an accident, the new Sport Trac offers enhanced rollover and side-impact protection and four new adaptive-safety technologies that help determine the degree of frontal-impact protection based on crash severity, occupant size, and safety-belt usage."
Sport Trac's agile handling and powerful brakes provide an added measure of safety and security during emergency maneuvers. Contributing its confident nature is Sport Trac's standard Advance Trac® with Roll Stability Control - an exclusive active safety system not offered by any other manufacturer.
As with typical active stability enhancement systems, AdvanceTrac® integrates three major components, including the anti-lock brake system, traction control, and yaw control. However, while typical systems are designed to control yaw or spinout only, Ford's AdvanceTrac ® with Roll Stability Control goes one important step further.
The exclusive vehicle-roll-motion sensor performs its duties approximately 150 times per second. If it detects a significant roll angle, it automatically engages AdvanceTrac ® with Roll Stability Control to help keep all four wheels safely on the ground.
To meet federal safety regulations and Ford's even more stringent internal safety targets, the 2007 Sport Trac features the following advanced safety technologies as standard equipment:
• Advanced restraints module and dual front-crash sensors
• Five-level front-passenger sensing system
• Driver-seat position sensor
• Dual-stage front air bags
• Adaptive load-limiting safety-belt retractors
• Adaptive front-passenger-seat air-bag tether
• Adaptive air-bag venting
• Adaptive-stroking steering column
For the first time, the Sport Trac is available with Safety Canopy ™ side air curtains that deploy in certain side-impact collisions, or if an impending rollover is detected to help protect front- and second-row outboard occupants. Sport Trac also features standard side-impact air bags for the driver and front passenger. Mounted in the outboard side of each front seat, these air bags further enhance protection for the chests of front-seat occupants in the event of a side collision.
Sport Trac will resume production at in the spring of 2006 at the Louisville Assembly Plant, as a 2007 model. Production of the outgoing model ceased in June, 2005.