2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Review

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable cabin, available V8 power, superior towing capacity, top-notch safety scores.
  • Small cargo bed compared to traditional pickup trucks, V6 less fuel-efficient than brawnier V8.
Other years
List Price Range
$12,700 - $16,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a good all-around utility vehicle that's worth a close look in this specialized segment.

Vehicle overview

Automakers have long been intrigued by the half-people mover, half-truck design. Decades ago, the El Camino was the standard-bearer in this niche market; more recently, Subaru gave it a go with the Baja, a short-lived four-door, trucklike contraption based on the popular Outback. But here's the thing: Most people who value the utility of a truck bed would like it to be attached to a burly utility vehicle, not the front half of a passenger car. The 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is their dream come true. The back half is a pickup bed, and the four-door front half comes from Ford's venerable Explorer SUV.

The Sport Trac shares its basic platform with the current Explorer, but it rides on a 13-inch-longer wheelbase, which frees up passenger room and also allows for a decently sized cargo bed with three built-in storage compartments. Like the Explorer, the Sport Trac features an independent rear suspension, which puts its ride comfort and handling dynamics on par with the similarly conceived Honda Ridgeline. Only the Sport Trac offers Ford's exclusive Sync system, however, as well as an optional V8 under the hood. The Sport Trac also trumps the Honda in maximum towing capacity.

There's a lot to be said for the 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac as a family-friendly utility vehicle. Midsize crew-cab pickups are better suited for heavy-duty hauling, but the Sport Trac trounces these workhorses in terms of interior accommodations and ride comfort, and it can still carry its fair share of cargo. Moreover, while midsize SUVs offer more covered cargo space, they simply can't match the utility of an open truck bed. The Ridgeline, a very good vehicle in its own right, has traditionally been the Sport Trac's only real competition in years past, though this year's new Hummer H3T is another one to consider. We suggest driving all three before you buy, but you certainly can't go wrong with the Ford if you're shopping in this segment.

2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac models

The 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is essentially an Explorer SUV with a pickup-like cargo bed behind the second-row seat. Two trim levels are offered: XLT and Limited.

The well-equipped XLT features a composite cargo box, 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, a power rear window, foglights, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, a drop-in storage bin with power points, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a CD player. The Limited adds color-keyed bumpers and heated side mirrors, sidestep bars, 18-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable pedals, heated leather seats, the Sync multimedia integration system, HomeLink and a power driver seat. The Adrenalin package is new this year for the Limited and has 20-inch wheels and specialized exterior and interior trim details.

Major options, depending on the trim, include a heated windshield, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a voice-operated navigation system with Sirius Travel Link (Limited models only), dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded sound system and a cagelike bed extender and hard tonneau cover for the cargo box.

2009 Highlights

The 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac receives standard satellite radio and available heated leather seats and heated side mirrors. Trailer sway control has been added to the stability control system, and the optional navigation system has been updated and includes Sirius Travel Link. The new Adrenalin package adds 20-inch wheels and exclusive styling cues, with full-time AWD (no low range) an option on Sport Tracs so equipped. Finally, a hard tonneau cover for the bed joins the options list.

Performance & mpg

Standard power for the 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac comes from a 4.0-liter V6 that generates 210 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. This tried-and-true engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Optional is a 4.6-liter V8 that cranks out 292 hp and 300 lb-ft matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both models are available with either rear- or four-wheel drive, except for when the Adrenalin package is specified -- these models are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive (a full-time system with no low range).

Acceleration with the V8 is respectable for a 2.5-ton truck, with 60 mph arriving in 8.1 seconds. Towing capacity is another strong point, as the 4WD Sport Trac boasts a 6,990-pound maximum towing capacity when properly equipped.

EPA fuel economy estimates are 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined for V6 2WD models; remarkably, V8 2WD models are rated slightly higher at 15/21/17 mpg. Same goes for 4WD Sport Tracs: the V6 is rated at 13/19/15 mpg, while the V8 comes in at 14/19/16 mpg.


Antilock disc brakes, stability control with trailer sway control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags are all standard on the 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. In government crash testing, the Explorer Sport Trac earned a perfect five stars in both frontal and side impact tests. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal offset crash test, the Sport Trac scored "Good," the highest rating possible.


Thanks to its fully independent suspension, the 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a pleasure to drive relative to traditional trucks. The ride is almost luxury-car plush, and the liberal use of noise insulation creates a hushed cabin. In terms of acceleration, the V8 provides a smooth, broad power band, with performance about the same as that of V6-powered Japanese crew-cab pickups. The V6 is another matter -- it's coarse and ponderous relative to the V8, and as it's also less fuel efficient, we recommend the V8.


The Sport Trac's cabin is virtually identical to that of the Explorer SUV, which means it boasts solid build quality and an uncomplicated dash with simple controls. The Sport Trac's rear seatbacks are split 60/40 and fold to cover the seat bottoms, creating a flat cargo area.

Out back, the 4.5-foot cargo box is constructed of corrosion-proof composite material with a molded-in liner that resists scratches and dents. The box is also notched, enabling two 2x4s to be placed across the span to provide tiered storage of building materials. Three cargo bins are built into the bed's load floor, and they conveniently feature drain plugs that allow them to be used as ice boxes or as storage for wet items.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Hot Adrenalin Sport Trac AWD V8 292 HP
James Hatfield,01/13/2009
Great Colorado Red color. Very eye- catching Adrenalin package. Love the 20" tires and special rims. The tonneau cover is very nice, convenient and weatherproof. AWD worked flawlessly in ice and snow in Ohio ice storm. V8 towed mother-in-law's car from Michigan to Florida without breaking a sweat. Fit and finish are beautiful. Sound system is excellent, as is Sync hands-free. Really great software on the Sync. Stupid flaws include: Truck bed storage compartment in bad location and useless when tonneau cover is in place; cannot get telescoping steering wheel; no grab handle on driver's door; marginal inside storage; no directional signals in sideview mirrors. Ford can be proud of this.
Fun, Flashy, and Practical all in one!
Tena V.,06/12/2009
After looking for about a month at every GM vehicle in the SUV, crossover, and truck category, I found this FORD to be a much better fit for comfort, available features, power, looks, and most importantly PRICE! The Adrenalin packages gives you everything you could want in a stylish, flashy ride. The 4.6L 8cyl engine gives you the power that makes this fast and fun. Gas mileage is typical for an engine this size.
Love The Sport Trac
Purchased brand new white 09 Sport Trac XLT 4x2, sync/sunroof, over labor day 2009. Truck is perfect for those who want a smoother ride and do not need a huge cargo bed. Plenty of room for 5. Have put 3,000 miles and no issues, rides very nice and getting decent gas mileage, about 18 MPG overall city/hwy. Paid $21,000+ Tax/License
A Convert
Dane B,06/02/2009
I have not owned an American built automobile for years, but was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Ford. With the Adrenalin package, it’s the hottest looking truck around, and the performance with the V8 is decent. With the incentives Ford was offering, it was also one of the best values out there. The SYNC system is excellent, and the cabin is insulated well enough so you can enjoy the great sound system.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Overview

The Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is offered in the following submodels: Explorer Sport Trac Crew Cab. Available styles include XLT 4dr Crew Cab (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab (4.6L 8cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab AWD (4.6L 8cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A), XLT 4dr Crew Cab (4.6L 8cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab w/Adrenalin Package (4.6L 8cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Crew Cab w/Adrenalin Package (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and Limited 4dr Crew Cab AWD (4.0L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Limited is priced between $12,700 and$12,700 with odometer readings between 131605 and131605 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT is priced between $16,500 and$16,500 with odometer readings between 74493 and74493 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Tracs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2009 Explorer Sport Tracs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,700 and mileage as low as 74493 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

Can't find a used 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Tracs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Explorer Sport Trac for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,361.

Find a used Ford for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $9,800.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Explorer Sport Trac for sale - 8 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,585.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $13,222.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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