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 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 last year. With the Jeep Wrangler switching over to aluminum for 2018, we assume the Bronco will do the same (like the F-150) in an attempt to keep things light.
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 show the Bronco Sport's body in full.
What Will It Look Like?
Well, we’re not exactly sure. Our early rendering proposed a Raptor-based body-on-frame design, but previous rumors, by way of Reddit (via Road & Track), suggested that the Bronco could be "very similar to the current Ford Everest." Albeit with a minor facelift. The Everest, you may remember, is a five-door SUV based on the outgoing Ranger platform that is currently available in markets outside of the U.S. But after seeing the new Bronco under a sheet at Ford's recent press event (pictured above), we're not so sure anymore.
The overall styling appears to be boxier than the Everest – 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. That shape also shares a number of similarities with Ford's Brazilian Troller, which has also been hinted at as inspiration for the final look.
Ford reportedly showed the two-door Bronco at a recent dealer meeting. While no photos leaked out, attendees said the SUV maintained retro styling elements from the original, including a rectangular grille and round headlights. The doors were also removable, and there was space to store them in the rear. We've also seen these proposed removable features via patents.
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.
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. Ford reportedly won't sell the Bronco or Baby Bronco in right-hand drive markets, though.
Gallery: Ford Bronco Mule Spy Photos
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 (below), 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.