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2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac ReviewThe Good
The versatile 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, with its five-passenger cabin and 4-foot cargo bed, should appeal to owners who seek an SUV/pickup-truck hybrid capable of carrying gear for camping, sports activities, and weekend projects, while also delivering a comfortable interior, a car-like ride, and solid performance.The Bad
Inferior cabin ergonomics and a poorly laid-out dashboard continue to plague the 2010 Explorer Sport Trac and cause difficulties for some drivers, who have trouble reaching certain controls, such as the climate controls, which are often blocked by the shift lever.
The CarGurus View
The 2010 Explorer Sport Trac continues to meet the requirements of a specific group of owners who seek a unique vehicle for a wide range of activities. Neither a full-fledged SUV nor a dedicated work truck, the 2010 Sport Trac straddles both worlds, offering a little something for everyone. While its exterior design remains controversial, appealing to some but turning off others, the Sport Trac nevertheless excels in its versatility, and with its comfortable cabin and agile handling, remains a viable option for owners who want to enjoy a smooth, quiet ride while hauling around all sorts of gear and cargo.
At a Glance
Ford makes only minor updates to the Explorer Sport Trac for 2010. Based on the Ford Explorer chassis, the Sport Trac combines elements of an SUV and a pickup truck, and offers seating for five as well as a 4-by-5-foot cargo bed with three in-floor covered bins. Available in rear-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive, and four-wheel-drive configurations, the Sport Trac can tow up to 7,160 pounds when properly equipped.
Ford continues to offer the Sport Trac in entry-level XLT and upscale Limited trims for 2010. The Sport Trac XLT trims receive manual lumbar support for the driver's seat as a standard feature this year, while the Sport Trac Limited trims now come equipped with an upgraded premium audio system with a 6-CD changer and updated wheels. In addition, Ford adds the SYNC communication and entertainment system as a standard feature to Sport Trac Limited trims for 2010. The SYNC system includes a GPS upgrade, which enables drivers to access traffic updates, turn-by-turn directions, sports scores, and other information through Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones.
Standard exterior features for the 2010 Sport Trac include a three-bar chrome grille, foglights, power sideview mirrors, and a power-sliding rear window. The XLT trims also come equipped with black bumpers, black roof side rails, and black door handles, while the Limited trims get a monochromatic exterior appearance, heated sideview mirrors, and automatic headlights, as well as black roof side rails and door handles.
Also for 2010, Ford offers the Sport Track with the Adrenalin Package, which includes unique front and rear fascias, headlights and foglights, running boards, and fender vents, as well as a unique black crosshatch-style grille. In addition, the package adds 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels.
A 4.0-liter, single-overhead-cam V6 engine producing 210 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque powers all Explorer Sport Trac trims for 2010. The V6 links to a five-speed automatic transmission and posts fuel economy numbers of 14/20 mpg for rear-wheel-drive trims and 13/19 for four-wheel- and all-wheel-drive trims.
For Sport Trac Limited trims, owners can opt for an available 4.6-liter V8 engine, which generates 292 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. The V8 features advanced dual-equal variable cam timing technology, which improves responsiveness and efficiency, according to the automaker. It links to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines run on regular unleaded gasoline.
The Sport Trac XLT comes in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive trims, while the Limited offers a choice of rear-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, or all-wheel-drive trims. Ford's Control Trac four-wheel-drive system, available on both the XLT and Limited trims, automatically sends power to the rear wheels during normal driving conditions and to all four wheels when required. In addition, it offers three modes of operation. Drivers can select the Auto mode for daily driving, the High mode for driving on icy roads or in inclement conditions, or the Low mode for off-road four-wheeling. The full-time, single-speed all-wheel-drive system, available only on the Limited trim, sends an equal amount of power to all four wheels, ensuring optimal traction and stability on slippery road surfaces.
All Explorer Sport Trac trims come equipped with a Class II trailer tow hitch with a four-pin wiring harness. Owners can add a Class III/IV Trailer Tow Package as an option. When equipped with the Class II tow hitch, the Sport Trac can tow up to 3,500 pounds. By adding the optional Class IV hitch and the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package to trims with the V8 engine, the Sport Trac can tow up to 7,160 pounds.
Ride & Handling
All Explorer Sport Trac trims ride on independent front and rear suspensions, which allow each wheel to react independently to rough or uneven road surfaces, ensuring a smooth ride as well as agile handling, according to the automaker. In addition, the Sport Trac's stiff, fully boxed frame, as well as its lighter weight, when compared to the standard Explorer SUV, helps provide quicker handling and a sportier ride.
The Sport Trac XLT trims ride on 16-inch painted aluminum wheels, while the Limited trims receive 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. All trims come equipped with all-season tires, which do cause some road noise in the cabin, mostly over rough terrain. However, the road noise is not excessive, most owners report. Similarly, some owners find the steering a bit numb, although it's not excessive.
The Sport Trac offers more headroom and legroom in the first and second rows than a typical crew cab, some reviewers report, and even taller drivers will find plenty of room behind the steering wheel, as well as supportive seats. However, some owners complain about the interior layout of controls on the Sport Trac's dashboard, and often find certain knobs and switches difficult to reach. Interior storage spaces are limited to the center floor console, glovebox, front seat-back map pockets, and front and rear cupholders. Additional storage spaces in the cargo bed include an under-floor storage bin for larger objects and other types of cargo.
Cabin & Comfort
The 2010 Explorer Sport Trac's interior remains one of its weak spots. Some owners find the interior quiet and roomy but lacking in ergonomics. The location of the shift lever, for instance, can sometimes block easy access to the climate controls, and owners also complain about the awkward turn lever. In addition, some owners have difficulty with the Sport Trac's door handles, while others find entering and exiting the vehicle a bit of a chore, due to its high profile. Other than that, owners give the Sport Trac's interior generally good marks for its comfort and the quality of its materials. The Limited trims especially, with their upscale materials, smooth out some of the interior's rough edges.
Standard interior features for all Sport Trac trims include front bucket seats, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, and power windows. XLT trims also come equipped with cloth upholstery, a two-line message center with outside temperature display, and an AM/FM audio system with a CD player, Sirius satellite radio, and an MP3 input jack. Limited trims add a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a message center compass display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the SYNC infotainment system, and a 190-watt premium AM/FM audio system with a 6-CD changer and a subwoofer.
Options for all trims include a power moonroof, power-adjustable pedals, and a Reverse Sensing System, which alerts drivers of objects in the vehicle's path when backing up. For the Limited trim, dual-zone climate control and a voice-activated navigation system with a 10-gigabyte hard drive are also available as options.
The Sport Trac's cargo bed measures just over 4 feet in length and offers 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Cargo bed options, such as a cargo cage bed extender and a tonneau cover, are available for all trims.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac a top safety rating of five stars for protecting passengers during front and side-impact crashes, and three stars for protecting passengers in the event of a rollover. Standard safety features include Ford's Safety Canopy System, which includes side curtain airbags for protecting first- and second-row outboard passengers in certain side impacts and rollovers. Dual front airbags, front seat side airbags, antilock brakes, and the AdvanceTrac traction control system with Roll Stability Control also come standard. In addition, Ford equips the Sport Trac with a Trailer Sway Control system, which applies the brakes if necessary to help the driver keep the vehicle under control when towing a trailer. A SecuriLock passive anti-theft ignition system and a tire pressure monitoring system are among the Sport Trac's other safety features.
What Owners Think
Owners like the Sport Trac's smooth ride and agile handling, as well as the versatility of its cargo bed. The SYNC system, which comes standard on Limited trims and is available as an option on XLT trims, also gets high marks. In addition, owners like the Sport Trac's exterior styling and interior comfort, although cabin ergonomics and the placement of controls, some of which are out-of-reach for shorter drivers, receive negative marks. Some find the ride a bit stiff, although most like the "fun factor" of driving the Sport Trac. Overall, the vehicle's reliability, versatility, performance, and car-like handling draw the highest marks from owners.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.
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