It’s official: the Ford Bronco is coming back in 2020 for yet another joyride. Ford has slowly been revealing the details, but one thing’s for sure: this SUV is going to be just as fun as the one from the good old days.
Designed by the same guys who crafted the Mustang, the Bronco shares Jeep ruggedness and SUV convenience. Flash forward from the original built in 1966, and the Bronco has been gone but not forgotten. Ford plans to bring back that tough 4×4 in its 2020 lineup – and we can’t wait to see the modern take on this iconic SUV.
So why now? After all, the Bronco has been out of production for more than 20 years as the last one rolled off the line in 1996. Well, it’s the same reason that Ford slashed its sedan and small car offering. With SUVs dominating the market right now, there’s nothing hotter than this vehicle. And to take a cue from Chevrolet, if the Blazer can come back, why not resurrect the Bronco?
So, as buyer preferences shift and the old becomes new again, this retro and rugged offering aims to offer an SUV that serves the part of the market that Ford has neglected lately: the off-road SUV and truck market.
True to its truck heritage
Based on photos of camouflaged test mules spotted on Michigan roads, it’s pretty clear the Bronco is poised to pick up where it left off. It’s expected to be a solid off-roader and a versatile truck-like vehicle that looks like it could compete closely with the Wrangler.
A rectangular grille adds to a boxy silhouette. It’s been reported that there’s a very retro-influenced style happening throughout. Car and Driver points out the similarities to the current Ranger truck model – another revival, mind you – pointing to the influence in the front end. The back end stays true to original form with a bulky, high tailgate.
Let the good times roll
This is where it sounds like the Bronco is set to shine. At a dealer event, Automotive News’ sources reported the Bronco will be a highly customizable vehicle, with two- and four-door versions, the smaller of which seems to be dubbed the “Baby Bronco.” In addition, sources noted a removable roof and doors, making this even greater competition for the Wrangler.
Big wheels and minimal overhangs give it the extra advantage needed to crawl, ascend and keep pace with other off-road rivals. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t share many similarities to Ford’s truck offerings, as the Bronco has been known to do in the past.
The “Baby Bronco” is expected to come first and is likely to be the first in a new line of compact trucks and off-roaders that the “Blue Oval” is rolling out. As they start to direct their offerings more toward the truck and SUV segments, the change is something that’s going to be exciting for off-roading enthusiasts and original Bronco fans alike.
More to come
All we know so far is it’s coming. Ford has already teased it officially on their website. But the final details have yet to be seen. Luckily, fans of the iconic nameplate won’t have to wait long, as it’s anticipated to be out in 2020.
Ford’s recent investment in electric SUV maker Rivian also draws questions about this SUV’s powertrain. The timing just happens to be close between the investment and this vehicle’s announcement. Rivian’s focus on electrifying trucks and larger off-road capable SUVs just fits in with this vehicle. While it’s still far too early to tell whether the Bronco will tap into Rivian’s talent for this vehicle, we do know that electrification is certainly in the plans for Fords’ truck lineup.
Because of the close mechanical similarities to the Ranger – they share a platform – there are likely to be some similarities in the powertrain, too. While it will almost certainly feature an automatic option, there may also be a manual in the works, as Jalopnik reports, to fully complete the throwback quality of this new SUV model. So manual fans, you might just be in for a treat with what could be a 7-speed transmission and a V6 to boot. We do know the Bronco will be built alongside the Ranger at the Michigan assembly plant.
What we can be certain of for now is the new model is going to pay homage to the old model in some ways, but blaze its own trail in others. There’s something for everyone here, and it’s likely it will be a hit with both Jeep fans as a competitor and Ford truck fans as a smaller alternative.