The Ford Explorer is a mid-size sport utility vehicle produced by the American manufacturer Ford since 1990, but in 2010 it was redesigned as a Crossover SUV. The Ford Explorer become one of the most popular sport utility vehicles on the road. The model years through 2010 were traditional body-on-frame, mid-size SUVs. For the 2011 model year, Ford moved the Explorer to a more modern unibody, full-size crossover SUV/crossover utility vehicle platform, the same Volvo-derived platform the Ford Flexand Ford Taurus use. It is slotted between the traditional body-on-frame, full-size Ford Expedition and the mid-size CUV Ford Edge. Although outwardly similar, the fifth generation Explorer, Ford Edge and Ford Escape do not share platforms. The fifth generation Explorer does, however, share platforms with the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT.
Unlike the previous Bronco II, the first and second generation Explorer always offered a spare tire under the rear cargo area instead of a swing out arm. The Explorer started off where the Bronco II left off with the Ford Ranger based platform but had a longer wheelbase than the Bronco II.