Recently Ford held a meeting to inform its dealers of upcoming products as the brand prepares for an exciting decade ahead. After nearly a year of little to no details and a vague official teaser, we finally get to see what the upcoming Bronco looks like. This not only confirms what we've seen in that original teaser, but provides addition insight on configurations. Most noticeable of all is a fully revealed Bronco with a shadow behind it, projecting an up-segment looking version. Comparing that shadow to the Wrangler, its easy to see where it fits in, helping to all but confirm speculation of two Bronco versions.
Leaked photos from a recent meeting of Ford dealers in Las Vegas, US, appear to show a smaller sibling to the upcoming Bronco SUV.
Also visible in the image is a shadow from a larger car, which could be that of the full-size Bronco, which Ford has previously detailed.
While the smaller car, expected to arrive in 2020, will be positioned to rival such cars as the Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3, the larger will sit atop the four-wheel drive platform of the Ford Ranger pick-up truck in a bid to enhance its off-road credentials.
Details are scarce, with no word on which components, if any, the two new models will share. It can be expected that the full-size Bronco will be more upmarket, rivalling cars such as the Audi Q7 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The shadow on the wall clearly shows a taller, longer and boxier shape, but the big giveaway is the spare tire mounted on the rear of the SUV. The back edge of the roof also seems to be closer to a 90-degree angle, and better echoes the Broncos of the past, especially the Bronco II, over the sleeker and smaller Baby Bronco lit in the photos. It also lines up almost perfectly with the teaser image of the big Bronco released earlier this year.
Of course we can’t say for sure that the photos show the Baby Bronco, nor a shadow easter egg of the larger Bronco SUV, but we know Ford has been working on both, that’s sure what these look like, and that these photos were reportedly taken at a Ford dealership conference in Las Vegas. What else could they be?
While Ford works to restructure, many details dropped on what to expect and they reflect changes that will undoubtedly benefit the Bronco. That is a future of less sedans and hatches, more utility vehicles to stay competitive (especially to brands like Jeep and Chevrolet), and ultimately survive what could be tough economic time ahead. Considering the moves other car makers already made, Ford is in a slump but upcoming refreshed versions of the Explorer, Escape and a range of Bronco branded products are expected to position Ford as a stronger brand. This focus on utility benefits the Bronco line up with parts sharing among other models with battery electric components playing a role.
This time, dealers wanted to know what new products they’d be selling to fund Ford's investment in autonomous vehicles. Some were still angry at not having been warned before Ford announced it would stop selling sedans within the next few years.
“There’s a guy in my showroom who wants an Escape — he’s not worried about where the future is going,” dealer Tim Hovik said before the meeting started this week. Hovik, owner and general manager of San Tan Ford outside of Phoenix, is one of the top Ford dealers in the U.S.
But while several U.S. dealers told The Detroit News they came to the "Inside the Oval" event skeptical and unsure whether CEO Jim Hackett had a vision, the dealers The News spoke to said by the time they left, they had more confidence in Ford's position.
The company is going after Jeep with off-road and rugged utility vehicles. It's diving into a strong 2019 U.S. economy with new Ranger and Super Duty pickups. An all-new rear-wheel drive Explorer and all-new Escape will hit showrooms next year. The Bronco is coming in 2020. So is a smaller, unnamed off-road SUV and an unnamed 2020 battery electric vehicle, which dealers saw this week. And Ford plans to fill the spaces left by the discontinued Fiesta, Focus and Fusion sedans with similar-priced crossovers.
Ford's aggressive plan for offering electrified powertrain options took an interesting direction that helps to ensure their move to sell 600,000 units in the next five years actually happens. While they work to chop sedans and hatchbacks like the Fiesta and Focus in favor of utility vehicles, news broke of electrified versions of the Mustang. One being a direct successor to the Mustang as we know it and a crossover with Mustang DNA. This too should also influence whats done on both the baby Bronco and its bigger Wrangler rivaling version with streamlined approaches, even with these being opposite of it future Mustang DNA siblings.
The average age of Ford's lineup will be the youngest in the game come 2023, executives told dealers. It’s currently one of the oldest. High-volume nameplates like Mustang, F-150 and Bronco will get electrified powertrain options, which Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of North America, said will help Ford grow the number of electric vehicles it sells to 600,000 units in the next five years.
Hackett made clear that for all the talk of autonomous vehicles, he and his team are not ignoring the SUVs and trucks that pay the bills now, several dealers told The News.
Dealers drove the 2019 Ranger in Las Vegas. They saw the new rear-wheel drive Explorer, redesigned Escape, as-yet-unnamed 2020 battery electric vehicle, an unnamed small "rugged" SUV some call the baby Bronco, and the Mustang GT 500.
Some dealers who spoke to The News said they believe product plan is strong, and they better understand how the trucks and SUVs fit into the model for Ford's future, which incorporates more than the gas and diesel vehicles they currently sell.
Another plausible possibility is that Ford has just given us an early look at the front of its electric, Mustang-inspired crossover. The model’s teaser campaign has already started, we saw a sketch of its shapely rear end in September 2018, so the ad could be the next installment. While placing a Mustang emblem on a crossover is a bold decision that risks diluting the model’s hard-earned image, Ford has openly stated the yet-unnamed car’s design will draw inspiration from the famous sports car.
Ford is leaving us in the dark. It hasn’t commented on the model shown in the ad. We could learn more about it in the coming months, either at the Los Angeles auto show, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or at the Detroit auto show. And, whether it’s a Mustang or merely a Mustang-inspired crossover, the car will arrive in American showrooms in about 2020.
Even with all we know about the upcoming Bronco line up and other Ford developments that'll influence it, a lot of questions remain, some can be addressed by looking at current examples of where its parts and components will be derived from. The all-new Ranger's T6 platform is exactly that, set to underpin the Bronco and modified to fit a wide range of rugged vehicles. Under the all-new Ranger it received updates that will serve the Bronco well as a direct rival to the Wrangler, even as suggested two and four door versions.
By the time the Ford Bronco went out of production in 1996 after a 30-year run, it was more or less a two-door version of the Ford F-150 with back seats and a covered cargo area. Expect the new Ford Bronco to borrow heavily but not overtly from the new 2019 Ranger midsize pickup, which will be built on the same Wayne, Michigan, production line as the Bronco. The new Bronco will utilize body-on-frame construction and share its platform with the Ranger.
The Bronco could also come in short- and long-wheelbase forms to accommodate two- and four-door versions. With the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited outselling the two-door model roughly three to one, the first-ever Ford Bronco four-door's business case speaks for itself.
Ford made several updates to the T6 platform to launch vehicles based on it in the U.S. and Canadian markets, specifically for the 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Ford Bronco.
Believed to have been made to better meet U.S. crash test standards and to increase the payload ratings, the updates consisted of:
- Redesigned frame rails, which became fully boxed
- Redesigned front fascia integration, which was separated from the body and instead became mounted to the frame
- Adaptation for left-hand-drive
The T6 platform was introduced with the Ford Ranger (often referred to as the Ford Ranger T6), which went into production in the 2011 calendar year as a 2011 model year vehicle in markets outside the United States and Canada. The platform was also used for the 2011 Mazda BT-50 that was developed by Ford for Mazda in conjunction with the Ranger T6, therefore essentially being a badge-engineered Ranger T6.
The T6 also underpins several sport utility vehicles (SUVs), including the 2015 and newer Ford Everest (Ford Endeavour), 2020 Ford Bronco, and the Troller T4 off-road vehicle.
- 2011 Ford Ranger and newer (International markets, Ranger T6, 2011 – present)
- 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor (International markets, Ranger T6, 2019 – present)
- 2015 Ford Everest and newer (International markets, 2015 – present)
- Ford Everest is sold as Ford Endeavour in India
- 2019 Ford Ranger (USA and Canada, 2019 – present)
- 2020 Ford Bronco (USA and Canada, 2020 – present)
When it comes to any new mass market approach, as Ford gets ready to show the first examples of its restructuring efforts, the discussion of powertrains during a big push for electrification becomes a hot topic. Its even more important for Ford loyalist that are concerned about engine downsizing. With two Bronco products rivaling the Jeep Renegade and Wrangler in about year from now, gasoline powertrains are required for base versions. Recent reports suggest one of the engines to be a Ranger derived 2.3-liter, a twin-turbo V-6 and an unconfirmed hybrid. A 10-speed automatic transmission with the possibility of a six-speed manual.
Those holding their breath for a V-8-powered Bronco better inhale and hop on the EcoBoost bandwagon. Ford has completely embraced engine downsizing, replacing naturally aspirated V-8s and V-6s with twin-turbo V-6s and single-turbo I-4s, respectively.
The Bronco's base engine will likely be the same as the 2019 Ford Ranger's, a 2.3-liter turbo-four. Ford hasn't confirmed horsepower figures for the Ranger yet, but the same engine puts out 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque in the 2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Similarly, smart money says a 10-speed automatic will be available on the new Bronco, but it's unclear whether a business case can be made for a six-speed manual. The Bronco does have a larger enthusiast appeal than the pickup, though.
We also expect a twin-turbo V-6 to be available at some point on the new Bronco, if not at launch then in time for a midcycle update. Ford's EcoBoost 2.7-liter V-6 seems like the most likely candidate. It produces 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque in the F-150. A diesel could be a possibility, as well.
The only powertrain Ford has confirmed is a hybrid powertrain of some sort. We've caught a camouflaged F-150 plug-in hybrid out testing, and we have to imagine the 2020 Ford Bronco hybrid's powertrain would be related.
We wouldn't be surprised if Ford's new Bronco shares engine and transmission offerings with the Ranger since they'll share a platform. For the US market, the new Ranger gets a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder derived from the Focus RS. Ford hasn't released detailed specs for the Ranger's engine, but it has confirmed that it'll be equipped with a 10-speed automatic. Ford did, however, confirm in its 2018 Q1 earnings call that the Bronco will get a hybrid drivetrain of some sort.
Interestingly, there's a chance the 2020 Bronco could get a manual transmission. Per anonymous sources who spoke to Bozi Tatarevic over at Jalopnik, Ford is working with Getrag on a new seven-speed (!) manual for possible use in the Bronco. There's a chance this gearbox—or any manual, for that matter—might not come to the production Bronco, but here's hoping. A manual Bronco might not be a big seller, but it would give this 4x4 some serious enthusiast cred, and better position it against the Jeep Wrangler, which offers a six-speed stick.