The Bronco is back, and here's what we know about it so far.
We are continually updating this story with the latest information on the upcoming Ford Bronco.
Fans have been waiting a while for Ford to revive its iconic Bronco nameplate. It left the market in 1996, but the Bronco never truly left the hearts of the enthusiasts who loved it. In spring 2020, we’ll see an all-new version; Ford confirmed at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show that the iconic SUV will be back on the market in just a few years. And it would be produced locally at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. Here's what we know about it so far.
What Is It?
Like the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, and many good off-roaders before it, Ford says the new Bronco will be a real, no-compromise, body-on-frame 4x4 built to take on some of the toughest terrains. It will offer notable features like solid front and rear axles and an "Air Roof." Ford says it's a "no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city." And it may not get a two-door option.
According to former Product Development Chief Raj Nair, the Bronco will share its frame with the Ranger pickup, which made its debut for the 2019 model year. Ford's agreement with the United Auto Workers hints that the SUV could use an aluminum body because the panels come from the same stamping plant as the F-150.
In addition to a Ranger-based Bronco, Ford will build a smaller 'Bronco Sport.' Leaked images from an October dealer meeting allegedly show the model and its square-ish SUV body (though, Ford requested we remove the images.) A more recent photo appears to reveal the Bronco Sport's body in full, and another shot shows the grille.
What Will It Look Like?
The overall styling appears to be boxy and even edgier than our Raptor-based rendering. A tapered roof and a spare wheel mounted out back gives the Bronco a striking resemblance to the Jeep Wrangler – at least as far as we can tell.
The Bronco R off-road racer (below) provided a rough preview of what to expect – at least from the exterior. The boxy design and sharp lines have clear similarities to the original Bronco. The rig didn't perform very well in the Baja 1000, though.
Gallery: Ford Bronco R
Multiple reports and patent applications indicate that several portions of the Bronco's body would be removable. Owners would allegedly be able to take off the doors and store them in the rear of the vehicle. Panels in the roof would also come off to allow for open-air motoring.
A leaked image (below) provides a look at what's allegedly the Bronco's headlight. The design evokes the circular lamps of the SUV's original generation.
Ford reportedly showed the two-door Bronco at a dealer meeting. While no photos leaked out from this event, attendees said the SUV maintained retro styling elements from the original, including a rectangular grille and round headlights.
What’s Under The Hood?
Our best guess is that Ford will probably drop an EcoBoost engine into the bay of the new Bronco. The company put one in its Raptor off-roader and GT supercar, after all. A leak from Canadian Tire hints at a 2.3-liter EcoBoost unit, which produces 270 horsepower (201 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet (420 Newton-meters) of torque in the Ranger, paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. A hybrid Bronco is a real possibility, as is a rugged Bronco Raptor with a V8.
Gallery: Ford Bronco Mule Spy Photos
But we expect more from the base Bronco than what's rumored. The SUV should produce somewhere in excess of 325 hp (242 kW) as well as pump out a healthy amount of torque – the Ranger Raptor produces 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters), for what it's worth. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a new diesel engine, as was introduced in the Ranger, but Ford is likely to drop the more-than-10-year-old Duratorq from its range. A seven-speed manual gearbox also could be one of the transmission options.
Where Will It Be Built?
Both the Ranger and the Bronco will be produced at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Michigan, but Australia is where most of the engineering and development will reportedly take place, specifically at Ford’s Asia-Pacific Engineering Center in Victoria. The new Ranger was also developed down under, and considering the two will share a shortened version of the T6 platform, we expect the Bronco to have nearly all of the same capabilities – if not more.
Some info suggests Ford reportedly wouldn't sell the Bronco or Baby Bronco in right-hand drive markets. But then, the company applied for a trademark on "Bronco" in Europe on October 31, 2019. While far from any kind of confirmation, this filing showed not to rule out the SUV being available outside of the United States eventually.
How much will it cost?
With current conversion rates, the Australian-market Ford Everest would cost around $40,000 in the U.S. Given that production will be moved to Michigan, and relative competitors like the Wrangler and 4Runner average closer to $35,000, we can guesstimate that the Bronco will be about the same – dropping its starting price to the low- to mid-30s.
When Will We See It?
The Ford Bronco will debut in spring of 2020. Ford officially confirmed the SUV's debut via video (above), which will take place early next year. Dates for the smaller Bronco Sport are unconfirmed, but we expect the baby Bronco to debut sometime in 2020 as well.