2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin. Click image to enlarge
Competitors
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Honda Ridgeline
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab

Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

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2008 Ford Sport Trac

Ottawa, Ontario – For 2008, Ford has added a new model to the Sport Trac range that will appeal to urban dwellers and sport truck enthusiasts.

The new Adrenalin is based on the concept truck first shown at the New York auto show in 2005 and, unlike many concept-based vehicles, actually comes to town with many of the show car’s features.

First off and most noticeable are the really big 20-inch polished aluminum wheels sporting P255/50R20-inch all-season tires. The big black grille also made the cut.

2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin. Click image to enlarge

To give the Adrenalin a low street cruiser look, every exterior panel from the belt line down has been redesigned or re-styled. New front and rear fascias sit 89 milimetres (3.5 in.) lower than the standard truck, while Adrenalin-specific running boards visually tie the front and rear of the truck together. The new body panels give the Sport Trac the appearance of being lower without actually lowering the vehicle.

Circular fog lamps are mounted in matte black binnacles on either side of the Adrenalin’s prominent gloss black grille. New front and rear fenders have been smoothed by removing the wheel lip mouldings, while functional front fender vents have been added.

Roof racks, standard on XLT and Limited models, are removed to keep the Adrenalin’s low profile intact.

While the concept truck featured square exhaust tips integrated into the rear roll pan and a tailgate with integrated rear spoiler, the rear fascia on the production version gets a single dual tip exhaust and standard rear tailgate to accommodate the solid two piece tonneau cover of the standard Sport Trac.

2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin. Click image to enlarge

The Adrenalin also gets unique interior finishing with dark charcoal instrument panel, door inserts and console lid, adrenalin-branded floor mats and charcoal leather seats with perforated leather inserts.

The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable, while the passenger seat has four-way manual adjustment. Surprisingly, they are not heated.

Otherwise standard comfort and convenience features mirror those found on the Sport Trac Limited including dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, power sunroof, auto dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and cruise control, power mirrors with security approach lamps, power windows with one-touch down driver’s side window, power sliding rear window and power locks with keyless entry and keypad. The audio system has a six-disc in-dash CD player with MP3 capability, seven speakers and available satellite radio.

My tester also came equipped with a $2,300 navigation system which includes Ford’s new Sync option. Sync allows you to plug in your iPod or other device with a USB cable and control it from on-screen menus. It is truly plug and play and will allow you to listen to music while still indexing the device’s music library. Indexing a 60-GB library took about three minutes.

Other options on this Sport Trac included Class III trailer towing ($500), which allows you to tow up to 3,084 kg (6800 lb.), and heated windshield ($465). While the heated windshield is a big advantage in freezing rain, I didn’t like the minor distortion it created at night and I would have easily traded it for heated seats.

Power for the Adrenalin comes from Ford’s 4.6-litre, 24-valve V8. With 292 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, there is plenty of power to move this 2,190 kg (4,830 lb.) bad boy along. Naturally, the V8 has a thirst for fuel. I recorded 16.4 litres/100 km over three tanks of fuel in mostly city driving.

Testing by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (www.ajac.ca), when the new generation Sport Trac was introduced in 2007, showed acceleration of 9.2 seconds from zero to 100 km/h and 7.2 seconds from 80 to 120 km/h, not bad considering the weight that is being moved.

2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin. Click image to enlarge

But don’t look at the Adrenalin as the resurrection of the F-150 Lightning. The show car on display in New York in 2005 was equipped with the SVT Mustang’s 390-hp, 32-valve supercharged 4.6-litre engine, but the 4.6 in the Adrenalin is the same V8 as in all Sport Tracs, not a high performance version.

In fact, under that striking bodywork the Adrenalin’s underpinnings are no different than other Sport Tracs and the suspension has not been altered or sport tuned.

What is different, though, is the Adrenalin’s all-wheel drive system. The Sport Trac XLT and Limited are equipped with Ford’s Control Trac all-wheel drive system, which features high and low ranges as well as an automatic mode that transfers torque to the front wheels when needed. The Adrenalin’s all-wheel drive system is fully automatic and does not have a Low range and so is not really intended for off-road use.

With the front and rear fascia hanging as low as they do on the Adrenalin, one would be foolish to venture too far off road anyway. This is a street truck, not an off-road truck. However, if you do get bogged down, the differential can be locked to help get unstuck.

2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin
2008 Ford SportTrac Adrenalin. Click image to enlarge

Though the Adrenalin may give up a bit in on-road/off-road flexibility, it sacrifices none of the utility of the Sport Trac with its roomy SUV-like cabin that comfortably seats five, and its short (127 cm/50.1 in.) but practical box with standard hard-covered, double hinged tonneau cover, clever storage cubbys and 635 kg (1,400 lb.) payload capacity. An optional bed extender can increase the box length to over six feet.

Standard safety equipment on the Sport Trac, including the Adrenalin, was improved this year to include side curtain air bags which were previously optional. Other standard safety features include stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, multi-stage front air bags and front side air bags.

At $42,499, the Adrenalin is priced at the top of the Sport Trac range, $2,500 more than the Sport Trac Limited. The Limited also includes heated seats, rear back up sensors and roof racks which the Adrenalin gives up in favour of bigger wheels and tires, off-road capability and significant styling changes.

The Adrenalin’s street truck styling will appeal to urban buyers looking for a unique alternative, but one has to wonder if it is worth the extra money.

Pricing: 2008 Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin

Base price: $42,499
Options: $3,265 (Navigation system, $2300; heated windshield, $465; Class III towing, $500
A/C tax: $100

Freight: $1,250
Price as tested: $47,114
Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

Specifications
  • Specifications: 2008 Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin

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    Manufacturer’s web site
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