Ford is toning down the macho styling and size of the next-generation Explorer SUV. For years, the Explorer has been the poster-child for the SUV generation, but that’s coming to an end as consumers shift to crossovers. A report from Bloomberg claims that the new Explorer will be built on the Volvo XC90 platform instead of the truck-based platforms traditionally used for the Explorer. The new platform will also be shared with the Ford Five Hundred, Escape, and Freestyle.

It’s time Ford did something drastic with one of its flagship SUVs, which has had sales drop by 25% for most of 2006. The new Explorer will be closer to a SUV and drive like a car, the report claims. The move is proof that Ford is thinking outside the box when it comes to its SUV range. Considering Ford will still retain the Expedition – useful for customers that haul heavy loads – the Explorer doesn’t need to be another me-too product.