Frankly, it’s doubtful many people imagined anything else.
Not content with just foisting a new Bronco on us (while keeping the design under wraps for an infuriating length of time), Ford will debut a new small SUV alongside the returning nameplate. Just don’t expect any sharing between the two.
According to a Ford exec, the “Baby Bronco” will do its best to mimic old Broncos of yore, despite sharing parts with the Escape and Focus. A body-on-frame bruiser this ain’t.
Speaking to Reuters at an investor conference, Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive VP of product development and purchasing, said the upcoming small utility vehicle will sell at a higher price point than the similarly-sized Escape. At the same time, it will try its best to mask its parts commonality with other unibody compacts.
With sedans and hatchbacks on the way out, doubling up in certain utility segments seems like as good a plan as any to keep Dearborn rolling in dough.
The next-gen Escape and just-unveiled Focus (of which Americans see only the crossoverized “Active” variant) rides atop Ford’s new, scalable small car architecture, and the yet-unnamed Baby Bronco will surely use this for its underpinnings. A product of streamlining, the modular platform is said to be stiffer than previous architectures, thanks to increased use of ultra high-strength steel. Fixed hardpoints means common modules can be shared between models, further reducing development costs.
A source told Reuters that the Baby Bronco will appear in 2019 for the 2020 model year, which is the same timeline as the Escape. Design-wise, the new utility vehicle will attempt to emulate the original, mid-1960s Bronco. (Given that model’s abundance of right angles, it’ll be interesting to see the result.)
While Ford hasn’t said much about the Baby Bronco, it did use the “off-road” descriptor during its announcement. Indeed, Thai-Tang referenced the model’s “off-road positioning and imagery” in his comments.
It’s assumed the little ute, which looked somewhat like a larger Jeep Renegade in Ford’s teaser image, will arrive with more trail-tackling capability than its Escape sibling.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]