It’s no secret that Americans love their pickups and their sport-utility vehicles. Pickups for their tough image and utilitarian uses and sport-utes for their excellent all-weather family hauling capabilities. Most households now own one, and frequently wish that they had the other as well. So, for those buyers, Ford has come up with two trucks that they think deliver the best of both worlds.
They’re the 2001 Ford F150 SuperCrew and the 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. And both of these crossover trucks are designed to take two of Ford’s top selling vehicles to new levels of usefulness and sales.
Year after year, the F150 pickup is the most popular vehicle in the U.S., and Ford aims to keep it that way by offering buyers yet another variation to choose from.
Available in XLT and Lariat trim levels, the SuperCrew rides on the same chassis as the F150 SuperCab and is supported by the same 139-inch wheelbase. And although no V6 engine or manual transmission is available, suspension components in 4x2 and 4x4 driveline configurations are also the same as the rest of the F150 line.
What’s not the same is the SuperCrew’s 12 inches of additional interior cab space behind the front seats, accessed by two full-size rear doors that swing forward nearly 45 degrees for easy entrance and egress.
Once onboard, you’ll find many of the same accommodations found on the Expedition SUV. In fact, the rear seat is nearly identical, and comes with an armrest with built in cupholders. It also features a 60/40 split.
Now all this extra room in the SuperCrew’s rear quarters doesn’t come without a sacrifice. The cargo box has been shortened to 5 feet. But drop the lockable tailgate and go for the optional Bed Extender, and you’ll still have seven feet of room to haul with.
And, like all F150s, there’s still 50 inches between the wheel wells to accommodate the ubiquitous 4X8 sheet of plywood. While the floor is steel, the SuperCrew’s cargo box outer panels are made of the same tough rustproof composite construction found on the F150 Flareside.
But the SuperCrew’s innovations aren’t confined to the rear quarters and the cargo box. Slide behind the wheel and you’ll notice the F150’s usual driver-friendly layout just got friendlier, with the addition of standard, power-adjustable foot pedals. Operated by a dash-mounted switch, the pedals can be set anywhere within a three inch range.
But for those who like the idea of four full-size doors and a useful cargo box, yet are too adventurous for the bulk of a full-size truck or simply don’t want it, Ford is ready for you with the Explorer Sport Trac.
Although based on the mid-size four door Explorer SUV, the Sport Trac’s frame has been lengthened 14.3 inches and has 40 percent more lateral stiffness than the regular Explorer.
The Sport Trac also takes on a fresh, bolder look, with a mild power dome hood, sitting above an aggressive, two-tone front facia that includes optional fog lamps, and on the 4x4, a pair of beefy tow hooks.
Up top are a pair of standard roof rails that, when fitted with the dealer installed cross bars, will carry a 100 pound load. While along the bottom underneath the doors are a set of optional step bars that run the length of the cab, and give the Sport Trac a lowered look.
The 50-inch bed at the rear is the industry’s first all-composite cargo box, floor and all. Made entirely of molded SMC plastic, it’s just one of the many innovative features of the Sport Trac. Another is the hard, lockable two-piece tonneau cover that folds from either the front or rear and keeps cargo safe from the weather and thieves. A tubular, stainless steel “cargo cage” bed extender is also available, and when used with the lowered tailgate, gives the Sport Trac an additional 22.6 inches of room. Flip the cage into the bed and close the tailgate, and you have a nice little area for storing items you don’t want rolling all over the back, like your groceries.
Inside the Sport Trac, you’ll find a unique, hoseable rubber floor covering with Berber floor mats and newly designed front seats that can be had in durable twill fabric or leather, with or without the six-way power adjustments.
While in the rear, the seats can be folded flat for additional cargo capacity and there are two hidden storage bins behind the seat. There’s also the industry’s first power rear window. Its one-touch up/down operation is controlled by a switch on the dash, and is a Sport Trac standard.
The Sport Trac is powered by the Explorer’s 4.0 liter, SOHC 205 horsepower, V-6, and a 5-speed automatic transmission. While many other components are also shared with the four-door Explorer, the suspension is firmer, most suitable for real adventure, and the brake rotors larger. When it comes to the optional 4-wheel drive system, it’s the part-time unit from the Ranger, rather than the four-door Explorer’s Automatic Control Trac.
So, what’s the price of ownership for Ford’s dynamic duo? Base pricing on the Explorer Sport Trac ranges from $23,050 for the 4X2, to $25,820 for the 4X4. The F150 SuperCrew starts at $26,755 for the XLT 4X2, and runs to $31,790 for the Lariat 4X4. Affordable as well as versatile.
With the 2001 F150 SuperCrew and 2001 Explorer Sport Trac crossovers, Ford once again proves why it has been the leader in truck sales for many years. And if we take this dynamic duo analogy a step further, by comparing the SuperCrew and the Sport Trac to Batman and Robin, what does this make the competition? How about Jokers?
Engine: 3.2-Liter V6
Torque: 232 Lb Feet
EPA Mileage: 19 MPG City 29 MPG Highway