If you’re one of the many folks eagerly awaiting the debut of the reborn Ford Bronco, you’ll have to wait a little longer – though at least you’ll now know that the big unveiling has been scheduled for next spring, with the SUV set to go on sale as a 2020 model.
That was the most important takeaway from today’s release of a teaser video in which Ford chronicles the history of the Bronco – which was a familiar part of the Blue Oval brand’s line-up from 1965 to 1996. The carmaker has been toying with the idea of bringing Bronco back for a number of years, but it remains to be seen what, if anything, the final production model will pick up from the concept version that was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in January 2017.
Sources have given us a sense of what’s coming, however, and the 2020 Ford Bronco is expected to retain its classic, go-anywhere nature, as opposed to the strategy General Motors took with the recent relaunch of its Blazer badge. That revived utility vehicle has been positioned more as a tall Chevy Camaro than a classic, off-road-ready SUV.
There’s certainly been no end to the interest in the upcoming Bronco return – or the stories purporting to reveal what’s in store. With that in mind, TheDetroitBureau.com is quite confident that the new Bronco will be the most classic-looking utility vehicle in Ford’s extensive line-up – and have the guts to back that up.
Rather than targeting the new Blazer, Ford appears to be taking direct aim at the latest-generation Jeep Wrangler. Expect to see function determine much of its form, with upright body panels, including doors that are expected to be removable, just like those on Wrangler. If anything, word has it that Ford engineers have made a point of making it easier to both remove the doors, as well as the roof, and then fold down Bronco’s windshield.
There’s talk that, like Wrangler, we’ll see Bronco offered in both two- and four-door configurations. The automaker has confirmed it is bringing out a downsized version of the SUV, to be dubbed Bronco Sport, so that may explain why there is some confusion, depending on sources.
Whatever turns out to be true other traditional touches should include a rear-mounted spare tire.
At least three powertrain options should be in the offing for Bronco, starting with a base, turbo-four, as well as an optional V-6, both pairing up with a 10-speed automatic. There is talk that a stick will also be offered.
We’d be shocked if Bronco doesn’t offer all the necessities for serious off-roading, at least as an option. These would include a low-speed transfer case and locking differentials, among other things. Off-road basics are already found on the revived Ford Ranger pickup – which shares platforms with Bronco – so they’re certain to be carried onto the SUV. And what would a serious off-road vehicle be without 17-inch wheels shod with knobby, 33-inch tires, or so sources source suggest.
For trail blazers, Bronco also is expected to borrow from the rugged Ranger Raptor, a report by Hagerty indicating the SUV also will feature an off-road navigation system that drops digital breadcrumbs along a driver’s route to make it easy to figure out how to get back home. Other possible features include “Adventure Capture,” basically the off-road equivalent of the track recorder found on some of the latest sports cars. Another report talks of a system called “Convoy Communications,” which might permit a group of Broncos traveling together to hold a closed chat.
The latest-generation Jeep Wrangler has gotten a mild hybrid package. Dubbed eTorque, the 48-volt system is part of both the base turbo-four and V-6 packages and enhances not only Stop/Start functionality but fuel economy and towing. Ford, however, may be taking an alternative approach, with a standalone, conventional hybrid powertrain option.
There had been some speculation Ford would reveal the production Bronco at this month’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The automaker instead decided to focus on another highly anticipated new model, the all-electric, “Mustang-inspired” SUV set to be called the Mustang Mach-e in production.
Precisely when and where Bronco will be uncovered is unclear. One possibility is that Ford could wait until June and roll it out at the North American International Auto Show, 2020 marking the Detroit show’s shift from January to June. On the other hand, that would make for a very late sales launch for the 2020 model-year – and cut into the summer off-roading season. So, consulting a calendar, we know that spring will come on March 19, because it’s a leap year, potentially giving Ford an even earlier opportunity to start off the season with a bang.