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2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

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2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Review

More passenger room but a smaller bed than a crew cab pickup; a good choice as a multipurpose vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac provides a crew cab sport utility vehicle that combines the style and roominess of an SUV with the convenience of a pickup truck’s bed. It uses the 1995 to 2001 Explorer Sport Trac design, and it has a V-6 engine and an automatic transmission. It uses four-wheel drive or the ControlTrac Four-Wheel Drive system that includes low-range gearing and can remain engaged on dry pavement.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6, 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Models: Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLS, Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT, Ford Explorer Sport Trac Premium XLT, Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin

What's New

The interior of the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac sees a revision of the instrument panel and the XLT gets additional standard features. The XLT Premium has a new monochrome exterior paint and the Adrenalin receives an upgraded audio system. All models include flexible-fuel features so that they can run on ethanol-based fuel. Ford axes the manual transmission for all models.

Exterior

The XLS features power windows, power locks, and front-hinged rear doors. Other standard features include variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear privacy glass, a rear cargo box with a composite bed, roof rails, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The XLT adds remote keyless entry and keypad entry, and the XLT Premium adds automatic headlights and fog lights. The Adrenaline trim gets 16-inch chrome wheels, a digital keypad, power locks, and nine paint colors.

The cargo bed in the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac measures only four feet, but you can get the optional bed extender to increase the room. This truck has a payload capacity of 1525 pounds and a cargo capacity of 29.6 cubic feet.

Interior

The 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLS comes with cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, an AM/FM/CD stereo system, split-folding rear seatbacks, and a center console. It only takes one step to fold down the rear seats so you don’t have to remove the headrests. The XLT adds a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel and cruise control, and the XLT Premium adds a six-way power driver’s seat and rear climate and audio controls. The Adrenalin upgrades to a Pioneer AM/FM stereo with an in-dash CD/MP3 player.

The controls for the Explorer Sport Trac sit in an intuitive path, although you have to stretch a bit to reach them. Interior materials get better as you go up the package levels, with the average materials used in the base and lower-level models and better-than-average materials used in the higher-level models. The cabin feels roomy and the driver feels comfortable behind the steering wheel. The seats feel hard and offer no shoulder support. The rear seat provides comfortable seating for two, but tight seating for three. The interior looks clean and stark, but organized. The center stack appears neatly designed and the instrument panel well-marked and easy to read. The rear console includes air-conditioning, seat, and audio controls that look well-marked and easy to operate.

Performance & Handling

The 2004 Explorer Sport Trac draws power from a standard 4.0-liter, single overhead cam (SOHC) V-6 that produces 210 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque with a five-speed manual transmission. The optional 4.6-liter, SOHC V-8 produces 292 horsepower at 300 lb-ft of torque. You can get the optional two-wheel drive with a six-speed automatic transmission and limited-slip differential for the Adrenalin, XLS, XLT, and XLT.

The 4.0-liter engine produces adequate power for in-city driving, but it feels strained when cruising on the highway. The ride quality seems acceptable, but the chassis vibrates when driving over bumps. The suspension remains tight, so you feel many of the bumps in the road. The steering feels balanced, but sluggish. Wind and tire noise remains prominent. The 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac lacks off-road ability.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2004 Explorer Sport Trac includes child seat anchors, an anti-lock braking system, driver and passenger front airbags, and an anti-theft alarm system. Side curtain airbags remain optional.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association gives the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac two out of five stars for rollover protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Explorer Sport Trac: 14/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy rear seat
  • SUV comfort with pickup truck bed utility
  • Optional side airbags

You Won't Like

  • Sluggish steering
  • Poor handling
  • Subpar off-road capability

Sum Up

More passenger room but a smaller bed than a crew cab pickup; a good choice as a multipurpose vehicle.

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