Ford ExplorerToday, Ford (F) introduced its 2011 Explorer in an attempt to build on the Explorer SUV brand while also appealing to fuel-efficiency-conscious crossover fans, especially families.

The new Explorer will be more aerodynamic and with a more refined interior, the Detroit Free Press reported. It should deliver fuel-efficiency improvements of at least 25% compared with the outgoing model.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said Explorer customers, "want to be able to not only drive the vehicle to work. . .but also on a Saturday morning, get the kids up and say 'hey, grab the fishing rods, we're going to go up to the lake.' "

SUV sales have plunged recently. Through most of the 1990s, Ford sold over 300,000 Explorers a year. In 2009, the entire midsize SUV segment barely topped 280,000. Meanwhile, sales of more fuel-efficient car-based crossovers have jumped.

The 2011 Explorer will be unveiled today at events across the U.S. It should be in dealer showrooms this year for an as-yet-unspecified price. The 2010 Explorer has a starting price of $29,280.

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