The Bronco is officially back – and here's what we know so far.
Update: We've uncovered some tantalizing new information since we first shared this feature back in March. Among other things, it appears Bronco will actually be a sub-brand at Ford with a "baby" Bronco based on the Ford Escape also joining the lineup. Also, there's strong evidence to suggest the Bronco will arrive after an all-new Ford F-150 pickup, and it all begins in January 2020.
Read below to catch details on these latest updates as well as everything else we currently know about the Bronco.
Fans have been waiting a long time for Ford to revive its iconic Bronco nameplate. It may have left the market in 1996, but it 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 would be produced locally at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant.
What is it?
Like the Jeep Wrangler and many good off-roaders before it, Ford says that the new Bronco will be a real, no-compromise, body-on-frame 4x4 built to take on some of the toughest terrains. It will come with features like solid front and rear axles, and an "Air Roof;" Ford describing it as a "no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city." But it may not get a two-door option.
According to Product Development Chief Raj Nair, it will reportedly share its frame with the Ranger pickup, which made its debut earlier this 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.
Update: We also learned that, in addition to a Ranger-based Bronco, Ford will build a smaller model that is thought to be based on the Ford Escape. Leaked images allegedly showed the model as presented at a dealer meeting in October, showing a square-ish SUV with a body smaller than the official Bronco teaser image below. Ford requested we remove the photos from Motor1.com, which lends credence to the photos being legitimate.
What Will It Look Like?
Well, we’re not exactly sure. Our initial rendering proposed a Raptor-based design, but other rumors, by way of Reddit (via Road & Track), suggested that the Bronco could be "very similar to the current Ford Everest," apart from 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 far 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.
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. It should produce somewhere in excess of 325 horsepower (242 kilowatts) 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.
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.
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?
Update: Two anonymous sources with alleged ties to Ford have given us a rough timeline on when to expect both the Ranger-based Bronco, as well as the smaller "baby" Bronco. The first to debut should be the smaller model in January 2020, with the larger model slated to debut six months later and production beginning in January 2021. This matches another report that stated a new Ford F-150 would arrive before the Bronco (linked above), as our source also lists start-of-production for the new F-150 as June 2020 – six months before the Bronco.