The difference between these two operations is that in the first one, you are browsing for a folder and in the second one you are browsing for a file. The interface for browsing for a folder is generally much simpler and does not have all of the other options/information. For instance, here is an image for folder browsing in Outlook 2010.
So when you say "please bring it back" can you clarify what you are referring to since it has always been this way in SolidWorks? I am not even sure I have seen any applications have this additional information or a different UI when browsing for a folder, but I may be incorrect.
You are right, looks like the interface has been like that for a wile, yet it would be faster for us to have the option when looking or when saving a file or file references to arrange the list by date for example, that way the user will have on top the latest folder containing the files saved most recently. Thank you.