Ford unveils revamped Explorer ahead of Detroit auto show

DETROIT (AP) - Ford's aging Explorer SUV is getting a major revamp as it faces growing competition in the market for family haulers with three rows of seats.

The company unveiled the new version Wednesday night at Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions. It comes just before next week's press days at the Detroit auto show, where the SUV will be on display.

The Explorer gets a top-to-bottom update that includes a switch from front- to rear-wheel-drive, as well as upgraded engines and transmissions, some nice standard safety features and even high-performance and gas-electric hybrid versions. The switch to rear drive will boost towing capacity and off-road performance, Ford says.

The Explorer hasn't been updated since the 2011 model year. Sales dropped 3.5 percent last year to just under 262,000.

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