Explorer Sport Trac is a goner

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Ford has pulled the plug on its Explorer Sport Trac, a truck that was half pickup, half SUV.

With the reinvention of the Explorer for 2011, and the move away from a rear-drive, truck platform for Ford's SUV, the Sport Trac was abandoned.

Since its debut in 2000, the Sport Trac and Explorer SUV had shared a platform and engines. But the new Explorer is developed from the front-drive platform also used for the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS. Additionally, a V-8 is not offered in the 2011 Explorer and towing capacity was cut by 2,000 pounds.

The Sport Trac had a nice, successful run. The truck combined the ride, handling and overall feel of the Explorer with the utility of a pickup. It was positioned between the F-150 and the Ranger -- kind of a mid-sized truck.

Ford never broke out sales numbers for the Sport Trac, instead combining sales for that model in the overall Explorer sales figures that were released. But Ford sources said Sport Trac sales were generally 20 to 25 percent of overall Explorer sales during the past 10 years.

The Sport Trac was an attractive, capable alternative that captured a wide range of buyers over the past decade -- buyers who might have gone elsewhere. It did the job for Ford.