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MSRP Range: $25,400 - $31,320
Fuel Economy: 14 MPG city / 20 MPG highway

SUV passenger room with pickup utility.

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a four-door, five-passenger, midsize pickup. It was unique when it first appeared in 2000, but today it must compete with midsize four-door pickups from every major player.

Essentially a Ford Explorer with a pickup bed, the Sport Trac offers plenty of room inside for people and out back for cargo. It comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 210 horsepower, and a 292-hp V8 is optional. Both engines are available with rear- or four-wheel drive.

With the V8, the Sport Trac offers power near the top of the class. The power is delivered smoothly, but isn't as responsive in passing maneuvers as some might wish.

The Sport Trac's high ride height means the ride quality gets a bit busy over potholed or broken pavement, but otherwise, the ride is smooth, thanks in part to an independent rear suspension that also aids handling. Directional stability is good, steering response is quick, and body lean is well controlled for a heavy vehicle.

Inside, the Sport Trac has easy-to-read instruments and nice materials. Unfortunately, the door pulls are strangely positioned, making them hard to operate for some. Room, on the other hand, is plentiful front and rear. The bed offers decent room and some unique storage bins, but those who haul a lot of cargo regularly will want a more traditional pickup.

After benefiting from a redesign for 2007, the 2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac adds more standard features and additional optional equipment. The most notable new feature, available on late-2008 models, is Ford's Sync communications and entertainment system. New standard features include fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power rear window, a drop-in storage bin, and side curtain airbags. The optional navigation system offers voice activation for 2008.

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