Explorer Sport Trac:

2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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“The Ford Explorer Sport Trac — a four-door sport-utility truck — wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Compact Pickup category. Sport Trac owners give their truck especially high marks exterior size and interior roominess,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “With the second-generation Sport Truck, Ford shows they clearly understand what this buyer wants — the ratings prove it.” Leading Sport Trac attributes include:
* Power and acceleration
* Exterior size
* Visibility
* Ease of entry/egress
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2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Pickup

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2009_FordExplorerSportTrac.jpgFor the third year in a row, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac takes top honors in the Compact Pickup segment. The four-door crew-cab configuration in combination with a usable bed size proves to be a winning combination. Owners give the Explorer Sport Trac leading ratings for:
• Both exterior and interior styling
• Several package-related characteristics, including exterior size, ease of entry/egress, rear seat comfort, and driver’s visibility
• Vehicle dynamics, with high scores for ride and handing
• Quietness inside the vehicle was also best in segment


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Ford Explorer Sport Trac Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Pickup

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Ford Explorer Sport Trac Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Pickup Trucks:
“The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a very unique truck. Available only as a 4-door Crew Cab, some would describe the Sport Trac as a Sport Utility Truck,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Rear Seat Comfort and Overall Seating Capacity are Sport Trac strengths. Exterior and Interior Styling and Ride Comfort were also rated highly by Sport Trac owners. The availability of a V8 engine helped secure a high Power/Acceleration rating compared to others in the segment”.


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2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

The First Sport-Utility with a Truck Bed is New for 2007
With the new-for-2001 Sport Trac, Ford was the first to put a short pickup bed on the back of an SUV passenger cabin, then based on the Ranger just as prior Explorers were. The shape has not taken off like gangbusters, but Sport Trac has managed to sell between 48,500 units and 83,600 units most years, with little marketing support behind it. And its owners are enthusiastic enough to have created a fan-based web site (www.mysporttrac.com) and an annual two-day rally in June (Ford will support one of the two days this year). Along with the annual Louisville meet, centered around the truck’s production location, there have been regional meets all over the country. Since its launch, sales have dropped below 40,000 units only twice, and in 2005 this was in part due to a short production year.

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Not only are there enough buyers who appreciate this combination and enough opportunity for sharing components for Ford to keep it alive and bring us the second generation Explorer Sport Trac for 2007, some in the competition have borrowed from the playbook. GM takes on this configuration compete amongst full-size crew-cab pickups, and include the Chevrolet Avalanche/Cadillac Escalade EXT and Hummer H2 SUT, though GM adds a mid-gate for hauling even longer loads. Honda’s Ridgeline goes most directly up against the latest Explorer Sport Trac. If Dodge’s Rampage concept (Chicago, 2006) is any indication, they are at least considering playing in this group. The GM products are based on full-size SUVs and Honda looked to the Pilot for a base, though the platform was substantially modified. For now, there aren’t many like the Sport Trac in the automotive landscape, and it competes most directly with four-door crew cab pickups, as do Avalanche, Escalade EXT, and Ridgeline.
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In late March 2006, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents got the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of the latest Explorer Sport Trac, reaching dealers as these words are being written. Here are our first thoughts.


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Dodge Rampage Explores Possible Future Trucks

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Rampage Concept Takes On Chicago
One of the most interesting concepts at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show was the Dodge Rampage pickup truck. As an increase in trucks for personal use, versus commercial or work use, caused a boom in truck sales this century, some are looking to where the future is for these nontraditional truck buyers. Though Ford’s Explorer Sport Trac was ahead of GM’s midgate-equipped full-size Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT and Hummer H2 SUT, the Ford was effectively an Explorer with an open cargo area, while the GM system truly expanded functionality. Subaru‘s Baja fits in there somewhere, though too small and lightweight to really play well with trucks. Then the Honda Ridgeline arrived for 2006, winning both Truck of the Year and honors from both Motor_Trend and a group of North American automotive journalists, though sales have not quite met expectations. There are now six products of this type on market, competing in several different truck segments (or in SUV segments, depending on your perspective). But in the final analysis, think of Rampage as a Honda Ridgeline with a HEMI.

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Dodge took a crack a developing their own truck-plus-SUV concept for the 2006 Chicago auto show, and AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand to see it. We left before the public got a chance to see the concept, but industry buzz around the show was positive. We think the truck looked terrific, and appreciate Dodge’s ability to keep its clear personality and flavor in varied vehicle types. Alongside the Rampage in Chicago were the Dodge Nitro and Caliber SRT-4, both with aggressive and strong Dodge personalities as well.
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