Big Changes in Store for the 2011 Ford Explorer

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REBECCA COOK/Reuters/Corbis

There’s an SUV parked in your driveway. Do you a) use it to scale the edge of a mountain or b) drive it into town to run some errands?

CNNMoney reports that Ford’s design for 2011 Explorer leans toward choice B. Historically hyped as an off-road warrior, Ford polled current drivers and moved the new Explorer model toward being a more versatile everyday vehicle.

The move also stems from pressure to compete with fuel-efficient, crossover SUVs. CNNMoney’s report shows that between 1995 and 2002, Ford sold 412,000 Explorers on average per year. That was a time when gas prices were consistently less than $2 per gallon. With oil prices in their current $3-plus state, that number had dropped to 52,000 vehicles by the end of 2009.