Ford is working on a small SUV with rugged looks and off-road capabilty to rival the Jeep Renegade. We first received confirmation of the new SUV in early 2018 and now a prototype has been spotted.
With a new Bronco on the way to join it in a two-prong challenge against Jeep, many have started calling the new small SUV the baby Bronco. Rumors point to the name Adventurer, although Maverick, Timberline or Bronco Scout might end up as the vehicle's actual name if recent trademark activity is anything to go by.
But the baby Bronco and Bronco will be quite different in philosophy. While the Bronco will be based on the rugged body-on-frame platform of the Ranger mid-size pickup truck, the baby Bronco will be twinned with the latest Ford Escape. This means the car-like unibody platform known as C2.
The prototype is heavily camouflaged but we already know what the baby Bronco looks like thanks to a leaked photo that surfaced last November. The photo was taken during a dealer presentation.
2020 Ford baby Bronco leaked via Off-Road.com
It shows a vehicle that clearly recalls the original Bronco of the 1960s, with perfectly round LED lights and the Ford nameplate spelled out across the grille. The side profile is characterized by a nifty shoulder line that moves up from the rear passenger door handle to the window.
Inside, the baby Bronco will feature a rotary gear selector, an electronic parking brake, an available 8.0-inch touchscreen, real buttons and knobs for the climate and infotainment systems, and pushbutton start.
2021 Ford baby Bronco spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Median
It isn't clear what Ford has planned for the powertrains but you can count on some, if not all, of the same units found in the Escape making an appearance. Front-wheel drive will likely be standard, with all-wheel drive on the list of options.
In the Escape, buyers with fuel efficiency in mind can opt for hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains. Both are powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 teamed with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. For performance fans, there's a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. There's also a 180-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3, though we don't expect this option in the baby Bronco.
Exact timing for the baby Bronco's release also isn't clear. It's currently thought the vehicle will arrive at dealerships alongside the Bronco sometime next year. Both are expected to arrive as 2021 models.