The Blue Oval’s beloved off-roader is returning in the form of the 2020 Ford Bronco. Here are some new rendering to whet your appetite.
Firstly, this imagined Bronco is worryingly huge. Remember, the last production Ford Bronco, the fifth-generation model of 1996, measured only 4,660 mm in length. For the sake of comparison, that’s just a little longer than the current North American Ford Escape (4,524 mm). The Bronco6G renderings, however, make the Bronco look like an Expedition. Well, maybe an older generation Expedition with more of its signature boxiness, but that’s not the point. The point is that the latest Expedition measures 5,347 mm in length. It’s unlikely Ford would make the Bronco that big. But, if it won’t rub shoulders with the Expedition, where will the Bronco fit in Ford’s SUV lineup?
In 2018, Ford will offer the EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex, and Expedition (in order of ascending size) in North America. In short, that’s a lot of SUVs. Even though the Flex will probably be discontinued in 2020, there’s still no significant gap in Ford’s SUV lineup – at least in terms of size. That must mean that Ford will not be designing, or marketing, the Bronco as a traditional SUV for families. In other words, even if the Bronco is the same size as the Edge, people who want a huge engine and off-road suspension will buy the Bronco. But we should think about its competitors, not its allies.
Most industry speculators assume that Ford has painted a squarish bullseye on the Jeep Wrangler. The boxy Jeep wrangler, affordable, fun, and a tied to off-roading culture. In the first half of 2015, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) sold 11,146 Wranglers. But with FCA’s emissions scandal and persistent dependability problems, consumers are souring on the Jeep brand. In the first half of 2017, FCA sold only 8,259 Wranglers. Every model but the Grand Cherokee is down this year. The Wrangler is still popular, but it’s iconic status is tenuous. It could very well be the perfect time to revive the Bronco and claim the (affordable) off-road throne.
If they intend to target the Wrangler with the 2020 Ford Bronco, then the sizing should reflect it. The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is only 4,173 mm in length, close to the early generation Broncos. More importantly, its size, and shape, are distinctly close to the Bronco concept vehicle Ford Produced in 2004. That vehicle looks like a modern Jeep Wrangler, an H3 Hummer, and the T-1000 from Terminator 2 were involved in a collision. It’s definitely tacky – a far-cry from the understated Bronco of old.
But remember: 2004 was a time when you could see frosted tips and and distressed denim without watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. If you peel back some of the Y2K optimism and gratuitous chrome, you see a classic two-door off-roader with an athletic profile. Diehard enthusiasts of the Bronco will be hoping the production model resembles Ford’s 2004 concept much more closely than Bronco6G’s version.
Of course, this is all just speculation for now. We still have to wait a couple years find out what the Bronco will really look like. In the meantime we can enjoy the highly anticipated return of the Ford Ranger to the North American market.
Recently, Ford’s Bronco prototype has been spotted wearing the body of the Ford Everest. The Everest is a rugged SUV, approximately Explorer-sized, that Ford sells in some international markets. It may just be a way of disguising the Bronco while Ford tests out some of the mechanical components. Then again, the spy pictures show the use of some camouflage tape, indicating Ford wants to keep at least part of the vehicle’s exterior a secret.