With each generation, the Ford Explorer has softened its take on the iconic SUV shape of the 1990 original. Today's model? It's a jet-age view homage of that past, with all kinds of carlike details woven into the barest of sport-ute outlines. It's no longer a trucky ute that's trying to look like a car. It's just the opposite.
No matter which way you see its finer lines and details, the Explorer still hits some high points of crossover SUV style. It's a dialect of sharp angles and straight lines, the opposite of softly rounded wagons like the Volvo XC90 that's actually a distant cousin to it. The Explorer's visual DNA may be purely on loan here, but the tall body, big glass areas and the three-bar grille peg it as a Ford as much as its outline. It has more in common with a Taurus SHO than with a big Expedition SUV, down to winged taillamps and a perforated grille, but the Explorer still avoids looking like a sport sedan. Or, worse, a minivan--the cardinal sin of crossovers. The Explorer Sport amps things up even a bit more, with glossy black trim, 20-inch wheels, and mesh grille inserts.