Automotive News reports that 2010 will be the final year of production for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Ford is killing off the midsize, crew cab, body-on-frame pickup truck after a decade of manufacture as the company prepares to relaunch the Explorer nameplate as an all-new unibody crossover, and in the wake of dramatically slowing demand for the Sport Trac model.
The first generation 2001-05 Ford Explorer Sport Trac went on sale in 2000 (see our original road test) after overwhelmingly positive consumer response to the 1996 Ford Adrenalin concept truck. The tough-looking Adrenalin design study was one of the first concepts to preview the trend of prioritizing passenger space over cargo space for the U.S. market. It featured a shortened cargo box but plenty of room for five passengers in the four-door cab. Prior to the Adrenalin concept, most U.S. crew cab pickups had been available only as extra-large heavy-duty trucks, while similar small crew cab pickups had long been popular in overseas markets before 1996.
The Adrenalin name was formally attached to the Sport Trac in 2003 when the Adrenalin option package was added. It included a Pioneer sound system with nine speakers and an eight-inch subwoofer, limited paint colors, side step bars and premium alloy wheels. The "Adrenalin" name appeared on the tailgate and was stitched on the headrests of the truck's leather seats.
In 2005 a new Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin concept debuted at the New York auto show based on the second-generation 2007-10 Sport Trac (please see our first drive). Buyers were able to purchase this new Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin in 2008.
Ford has long shrugged off a moderate amount of criticism from traditional truck buyers over its decision to make the Explorer Sport Trac the only midsize crew cab pickup available in its domestic lineup. The more popular Ford Ranger compact is only available as a regular or extended cab, even though a crew cab model is offered just across the border in Mexico.
The 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac features minor changes, including: Ford's Sync voice-activated communication and entertainment system, chrome roof rails and side steps standard on Limited models, plus new exterior colors Blue Flame and White Platinum.
Is this the end of Ford's small crew cabs? Probably not. Recent spy photos show what appears to be the all-new 2012 Ford Ranger global pickup that could replace the current U.S.-built Ford Ranger after it too ends production next year.
[Source: Automotive News]