click above for 50 high-res images of the Ford Explorer America Concept
For more than a decade the Ford Explorer was the top-selling SUV in the US with annual sales topping 400,000 units for many years. The best days of the body-on-frame SUV are clearly behind it, though, as the market has shifted toward crossovers like the smaller Escape and Honda CR-V, as well as larger vehicles like the Ford Edge. Ford has seen the light and the next generation Explorer is finally abandoning the traditional setup in favor of a new unit body design.
The new Explorer America concept that Ford is debuting at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show is the first public hint of where the Explorer is going in the coming years. When the Explorer is replaced around the end of this decade, the new model is expected to look much like this concept. The basic proportions and size are very close to the current Explorer, but the styling is a more modern look for this Ford stalwart. The combination of rising fuel costs and new fuel economy rules is pushing Ford to increase the efficiency of all their vehicles including the next generation Explorer.
Gallery: Detroit 2008: Ford Explorer America concept