YOU KNOW a vehicle is getting closer to production when the factory starts drip-feeding you product information and videos. Ford USA has released this video showing a prototype of its upcoming Bronco SUV off-road testing in California’s Johnson Valley, home of the annual King of the Hammers off-road race.
Like the Bronco prototypes we’ve seen already, this one wears a Ford Ranger cab and cut-down cargo bed. This isn’t the body that will appear on the production Bronco, with a much more boxy body that stays true to the original vehicle expected when the vehicle is shown in the second quarter of this year.
Using a Ranger cab makes sense as it allows Ford to keep the final look of the Bronco a secret, and the Ranger is an easy fit as the Bronco rides on the T6 ladder chassis platform shared with the Ranger ute and Everest wagon. The Bronco is expected to drop the Ranger’s leaf-spring rear end for a coil arrangement similar to, if not the same as, the Australian-developed Everest SUV.
The Bronco will be available in both three-door short wheelbase and five-door long wheelbase wagons, and patent reports have shown it will be available with a removable roof and doors to make it a competitor to the off-road-savvy Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco will spawn a family of vehicles including a compact SUV based on a soft-roader platform and possibly a pick-up to play with the Jeep Gladiator.
The Bronco’s powertrain is yet to be revealed, but expect it to use the turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol four-cylinder as used by US Ranger models. Rumours also suggest a 2.7-litre V6 EcoBoost could be used in an up-spec version of the Bronco, possibly a Bronco Raptor.
Ford USA has said it will pull the wraps off the Bronco in spring this year (our autumn) and it will go on sale later as a 2021 model. Ford Australia tells us there are no plans to bring the Bronco to our shores.