The design changes are a handsome evolution of the current Explorer's look.

The next-generation 2020 Ford Explorer debuts sometime next year, and the Blue Oval is starting to bring test mules with less camouflage to public roads. These spy shots provide our best look yet at the new SUV.

Gallery: 2020 Ford Explorer spy shots

The new Explorer gains a smoother nose. The headlights feature a less boxy shape and now incorporate more cleanly into the grille. Big foglights occupy the lower fascia. The SUV also appears sleeker in profile because of the gentle arch of the roof. At the rear, the taillights are more angular and feature bracket-shaped brake lights. The snow makes things hard to see, but there are four, square tailpipes emerging from below the bumper. The updated exterior doesn't look significantly different from the current Explorer, but the tweaks combine to give the SUV a more aerodynamic appearance.  

There are no photos of the Explorer's interior, yet. Ford will likely offer its cutting-edge driver assistance systems on the SUV. The cabin will also probably feature the automaker's latest infotainment tech in order to keep up with the industry's rapid evolution in how drivers acquire information about the road.

The next Explorer will reportedly ride on Ford's modular CD6 platform. The SUV will allegedly be available with rear-wheel drive, but most buyers will likely opt for the all-wheel drive layout. There will also be a sporty ST trim that will potentially use the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Lincoln Continental making at least 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts).

Ford pledges to add greater electrification to its lineup and specifically references the Explorer. Look for a plug-in hybrid powertrain to be available at some point in the SUV's life.

Source: Automedia