Performance » 6
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
Ideal ride and handling balance
dismal, even among pickup trucks
V-8's acceleration is merely adequate
The standard drivetrain for the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 mated to a five-speed automatic, but there is an optional 292 -horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 matched with a six-speed automatic transmission available. There's a choice of the standard rear-wheel drive or Ford's ControlTrac four-wheel drive if you want extra traction. Unlike an AWD system, ControlTrac is a true 4WD system, with a two-speed transfer case that features a low range just in case the Sport Trac heads off-road. The design is inherently useful for hauling, and with the optional V-8, the Explorer Sport Trac can tow more than 7,160 pounds.
Although neither engine offered in the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac gets consistently positive comments, the V-8 is the clear choice between the two, with slightly better performance and fuel economy. But don't expect it to be that much better. Kelley Blue Book adds "most drivers will probably find the 4.0-liter V-6 more than adequate for most of their driving, with 254 pound-feet of torque and plenty of acceleration to keep up with any likely traffic situation." Going back to the V-8 on the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Edmunds comes down hard, saying "testing revealed the V-8's performance to be about the same or less than V-6-powered import crew cab pickups." Cars.com also claims that the "V-8's acceleration is merely adequate."
The six-speed automatic transmission in particular is one feature that reviewers unanimously love, with ConsumerGuide claiming that "the automatic transmission is smooth" and Cars.com noting that the six-speed "automatic willingly kicked down when more power was needed" during their test. ConsumerGuide adds that on the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac trims, both are available "with rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement." Off-road, the Sport Trac is a capable performer, and if you opt for the four-wheel-drive system, you'll be treated to a two-speed transfer case that features a low range for tackling tricky situations.
Despite decent performance on- and off-road, the 2010 Sport Trac doesn't quite cut it when it comes to fuel economy. The EPA estimates that the Ford Explorer Sport Trac will return only 13/19 mpg with the V-6 in 4WD. The V-8 actually offers better mileage, with 15/21 mpg in the 2WD model. ConsumerGuide testers characterize the Ford Explorer Sport Trac's fuel economy as "dismal, even among pickup trucks," since their test Sport Tracs "averaged just 12.4-13.5 mpg."
All that said, the 2010 Explorer Sport Trac does reasonably well in terms of handling and braking—for a truck, that is. Edmunds says the 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac features "admirable road isolation and a surprisingly responsive steering system" that makes the Ford Explorer Sport Trac "a pleasure to drive and ride in." Kelley Blue Book chimes in by noting the "Sport Trac's driving experience, both on pavement and off, is exceptionally good." Even the brakes are praised on the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, with ConsumerGuide finding that "stopping control is good, though the brakes felt slightly grabby on one test example."
The 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac isn’t at the head of the pack in performance or fuel economy, but its ride and handling are impressive for its class.