Used 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Review

An interesting hybrid of SUV and crew-cab pickup, the Sport Trac is comfortable and functional.




what's new

The Explorer Sport Trac enters 2002 with slightly more power and torque from its 4.0-liter V6 engine, some new exterior colors and a simplified options list. You can now also get an automatic transmission with the value package.

vehicle overview

Just when you thought the SUV market couldn't expand any further, along came the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Not quite a pickup truck, not quite an SUV, the Sport Trac took elements from both to create a whole new type of Ford vehicle.

Marketed as a vehicle for people with active lifestyles, the Explorer Sport Trac is based on a stretched version of the previous-generation Explorer platform. From the C-pillar forward, the Sport Trac is essentially a five-passenger SUV. Rearward of the C-pillar, there's a one-piece composite cargo box. Made of durable sheet molding composite, it has molded-in texture and a mar-resistant low-gloss bed coating.

The cargo area is normally 4 feet in length, but an optional cargo keeper extends the utility of the cargo area. This U-shaped tubular device hinges on the interior sides of the cargo area and rests on the cargo floor. When flipped out over the Explorer Sport Trac's tailgate, it extends the cargo area length to almost 6 feet. There's also an optional two-piece foldable and lockable hard tonneau cover to provide protection for items contained in the cargo area. It comes with a removable divider that increases storage flexibility for the cargo area.

All Explorer Sport Trac models are equipped with Ford's proven 4.0-liter V6 engine. This single overhead cam engine, which produces 214 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 245 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm when linked to the available five-speed automatic transmission, is loud but punchy. Buyers who want the standard manual transmission will make do with slightly less power and twist. Two-wheel drive models can tow up to 5,260 pounds. Four-wheelers can manage 5,040 pounds.

Explorer Sport Trac shares its basic front and rear suspension geometry with the old 2001 four-door Ford Explorer. Not to worry; Ford says the Sport Trac's bushings, spring rates, shock valving and stabilizer bars have been modified for improved ride, handling and noise/vibration/harshness performance.

All Explorer Sport Trac models come with a standard four-wheel antilock braking system. The system controls the front wheels independently and the rear wheels in tandem to improve vehicle control under heavy braking in most operating conditions. The system includes dynamic rear proportioning to help optimize stopping performance under varying vehicle load conditions.

An Explorer Sport Trac can be loaded up with goodies, if you choose. Among the enticing items on the menu are leather seats, a power moonroof, snazzy alloy wheels, side step rails and a Pioneer six-disc in-dash CD changer.

In the final analysis, if you want to haul stuff around, buy a Ford F-150 with a full-size bed. It works better. If you want to haul a family around, buy an Explorer. It works better. But if you need both, the Sport Trac compromise between pickup and sport-ute might suit you.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.