After a nine-month production hiatus, Ford’s US market Explorer Sport Trac – effectively a blend of an Explorer SUV with an F-150 pickup truck and fully redesigned – goes back into production at the Louisville plant in spring 2006.

Assembly of the old model ended last June.

Ford recently ‘facelifted’ the regular Explorer – which is also built in right-hand drive for sales in markets such as Japan and Australia– and the Sport Trac has most of the SUV’s styling and equipment improvements.

The 4 ½-foot cargo box is notched, allowing users to place two 2×4 boards across the span to provide tiered storage of materials – including the ubiquitous 4×8 sheets of plywood by which most US buyers evaluate truck haulage capacity.

Inside the box are three integrated cargo bins designed to maximize cargo-carrying ability. The bins have weather-resistant lids and removable drain plugs for storing wet gear or ice.

The cab seats five passengers and can be ordered with two-tone leather, heated front seats, power seat adjustment and the segment-exclusive heated windscreen.
A 210hp four-litre V6 engine is standard, with five-speed automatic transmission and a 292hp 4.6-litre, three-valve V8 is newly available as an option and comes with a class-exclusive six-speed automatic.

The Sport Trac now has independent rear suspension with a patent-pending, trailing blade design and side curtain air bags have been added to the options list.