Ford has been spotted testing a Bronco Sport prototype with upgrades that point to a more off-road capable version of the compact crossover being developed.

The most capable Bronco Sport at present is the Badlands. Ford also offers a Black Diamond Off-Road Package for the Big Bend and Outer Banks grades. A more off-road capable version would likely be positioned as a new grade.

The prototype is heavily camouflaged but can be seen wearing new fascias front and rear. These may be designed to improve approach and departure angles, and possibly fit bigger skid plates. It also looks like the ground clearance of the prototype may be higher than the Bronco Sport's standard 8.8 inches.

Another key clue is the tire selection. According to our photographer, the tires on the prototype are Goodyear Territory Mud-Terrain tires. The tires are used on more off-road capable versions of the bigger Bronco, and haven't previously appeared on a Bronco Sport.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

On the prototype, the tires are wrapped around a new wheel design that looks similar to the rugged design used on the new 2024 Mustang Mach-E Rally.

A dual-tip exhaust can also be seen, though the design is only a temporary unit used for testing purposes and will change as development advances.

Currently the Bronco Sport is offered with the choice of a 181-hp 1.5-liter turbo-3 or a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4. There have been rumors of a hybrid option, though it isn't clear if this is what is being tested here.

If Ford is planning a new Bronco Sport variant, a debut next year as a 2025 model is likely.