While it might not be sold in Australia, it appears the 2020 Ford Bronco will have some True Blue DNA, with a pair of test mules spotted locally.
An eagle-eyed Wheels reader sent through an image that shows two camouflaged vehicles, which appear to be Bronco mules, testing around the Mount Gambier area in South Australia.
Read next: Are these spy shots of the 2020 Ford Bronco?
Interestingly, while one of the pair has the ‘space cab’ body that has appeared on other test mules, the second looks to have just a single set of doors. This is potentially the first time a two-door Bronco mule has been spotted in the wild.
The Bronco nameplate’s return was first announced at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, with only a single teaser image released since then.
It’s expected the Bronco will be built atop an evolution of the T6 platform, which underpins the current Ranger and Everest, and was developed in Australia.
While the mules feature cobbled-together bodywork, the reborn Bronco is likely to pay homage to the iconic shape of the ‘60s icon, and will differ stylistically to the Everest SUV which is built atop the same platform. The mules are rolling on the same BFG rubber as the Ranger Raptor, but appear to have the shorter wheelbase of the Ford Everest.
It’s likely that the Bronco will share the same powertrain as US-delivered Ford Rangers, which have the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol EcoBoost engine under the bonnet, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The rear bodywork is cleverly styled to hide suspension components, which are expected to be of the multi-link coil variety. Meanwhile, the axles are also cleverly covered, with US media speculating the Bronco will sport a Dana 33 up front, and Dana 44 in the rear.
Ford revealed to dealers earlier this year that the 2020 Bronco will spawn a family of vehicles, including three-door short wheelbase, and five-door long wheelbase variants. It’s likely the former which appears in our spy shots.
A ’baby’ Bronco to rival the Jeep Renegade is also expected to be in the pipeline, featuring a monocoque chassis which could also spawn a light duty ute.
It’s likely the Bronco will feature removable bodywork, much like Jeep’s venerable Wrangler, with the roof and doors able to be stowed in the cargo space.
Photos of the Bronco mules in Australia give credence to unconfirmed reports earlier in the year that Ford engineers from the US were spotted driving a pair of left-hand-drive Jeep Wranglers ‘extremely hard’ near Melbourne for benchmarking.
Broncos are expected to roll off Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant alongside US Rangers before the end of the year. Ford Australia chief Kay Hart told local media last year there was no decision on the Bronco coming Down Under as the Ranger and Everest were doing well here already.
Ford Australia declined to comment on the photos.