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Ford Explorer Sport-Trac 2007

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While SUVs are decidedly unfashionable in some quarters, when it’s twenty below in the middle of January, you don’t want to be caught outside in northern Ontario driving a SmartCar. The Explorer Sport-Trac, despite its slightly upmarket name, is a serious little truck that can do battle with all four seasons.

It’s also just about the coolest thing with headlights.

Unlike conventional Explorers, the Sport-Trac is a somewhat disproportional pickup truck, rather than a traditional SUV. Its back half is a small pickup truck box, not an enclosed extension to the interior cabin. This small box – or very large trunk, depending upon your perspective – is ideal for carrying things too large to fit in a car, and as with all pickups, you can leave the tailgate down to deal with materials a bit too long for the box in its recumbent state.

Unlike all pickups, the available locking hard tonneau cover turns the box into a secure storage space, so your stuff won’t get up and walk away while the truck’s parked.

The interior of the Sport-Trac comes with all mod cons. Among its better tricks are:

  • An incremental speed control, allowing you to increase or decrease the selected speed in one mile per hour or one kilometer per hour increments through a steering-wheel mounted control.
  • An audio input jack to send your MP3 player through the stereo. Later 2007 Sport-Tracs are said to include iPod interfaces as well, but ours predated this feature.
  • An automatic rear-view mirror that darkens itself when headlights approach from behind at night. These are hardly new, but this one actually works properly.
  • Self-locking doors that button themselves down thirty second after the truck starts.
  • An electronic compass built into the dashboard display.
  • Lots of configurable options to fine-tune the truck’s electronics to your preferences.
  • Innumerable interior storage spaces and compartments, in which to lose things you never really wanted in the first place.

As befits a vehicle with ancestors that have been around since the late middle ages, the Explorer Sport-Trac handles perfectly, pulls well and exhibits no rough edges. It’s comfortable to drive even on extended road trips. Its fuel consumption is reasonable for a vehicle of its size.

Easily one of the nicest small trucks on the planet, the Explorer Sport-Trac is a superb ride, especially if you don’t dwell in the urbs. It’s clever, well built, slightly unusual and a treat to drive.