Spy Shots: 2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - SVT Adrenaline?

The current Ford Explorer Sport Trac arrived as a 2007 model, but spy photographers for KGP have just caught a prototype with its front end and back bumper completely covered, suggesting an earlier than expected mid-cycle refresh is in the works... or maybe something else. Peering through the covers we can see a new mesh grille to replace the current Sport Trac's three thin bars. Suprisingly, the headlamps appear to be a carry over, though the front bumper reportedly has been lowered, perhaps to incorporate a new design and improve crash performance. Winding Road reports that the tailpipes have also been moved from the side to the vehicle's rear, where they'll be venting spent gasses beneath a refreshened bumper.
Hmm... after mulling it over (and getting the idea from this guy), we're starting to think this prototype may actually be wearing upgrades destined for a high-performance version of the Sport Trac that would be based on the Sport Trac Aderenaline Concept from 2005. Think about it: relocated twin tailpipes out the back, a lowered front bumper (chin spoiler?), same headlights but a new grille that looks lifted straight from the concept. The covering could be hiding a new hood or the concept's giant fender vents behind the front wheels, and that tape applied around the rear well could suggest larger fender flares for a fatter wheel/tire combo. Sure the wheels and suspension on this prototype are standard Sport Trac fare, but that doesn't mean this mule couldn't be testing cooling or other components of a high-performance model. Whatever's left of SVT, this Explorer Sport Trac prototype could possibly be the fruit of its labor.

[Source: Winding Road]

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