2020 Ford Bronco Gains Hybrid Variant, Smaller Off-road Sibling

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2020 ford bronco gains hybrid variant smaller off road sibling

Ford wants to be seen as a nimble, responsive automaker, quick to adapt to changing market trends, so today the automaker dumped a pile of product information on our heads.

Some of the vehicles Ford confirmed today were already known, like the upcoming Shelby GT500 super Stang, Ford Explorer ST, and hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150. What we didn’t know until today was that the reborn Bronco, due out in 2020, will receive an electrified powertrain. Nor were we aware that it won’t arrive alone.

Ford’s calling the Bronco’s smaller companion the “Off-Road Small Utility” for now, but “Mini Bronco” sounds better to our ears.

By 2020, Ford wants an SUV lineup consisting of eight models, with the Ford Performance division gaining 12 new models, among them the 2019 Edge ST and 2020 Explorer ST. But you’re probably not reading this to learn more about the Explorer ST.

You want more Bronco.

The automaker teased the above image on Thursday, showing the Bronco sitting beneath a form-fitting wrap. Is it a concept vehicle? Prototype? Ford won’t say. It’s clear Ford aims to challenge Jeep with this offering, rather than offer a butched-up family hauler like the overseas-market — and Ranger-based — Everest (as some have feared). A flat hoodline, upright windshield, flat roof, massive wheel arches, and rear-mounted spare are the big takeaways from this image. Is there room for four doors between those arches? The jury’s out.

Ford didn’t say how broad the Bronco range will be, but a hybrid model is a certainty. The hybrid system planned for this model and others is apparently “more efficient and less expensive” than previous generations.

“The valuable capability [hybrids] offer – plus fuel efficiency – is why we’re going to offer hybrid variants of our most popular and high-volume vehicles, allowing our loyal, passionate customers to become advocates for the technology,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, in a statement.

The smaller off-roader is even more of a mystery. What platform it uses remains unknown, and powertrains are anyone’s guess. There’ll be EcoBoost power, though — you can count on it. Obviously, there’s a certain capability implied when an automaker calls something an “off-road” model. This vehicle, due date unknown, should surpass the off-pavement antics of, say, an Escape or EcoSport.

Given the timing of the announcement, we’ll surely learn more information at this month’s New York Auto Show.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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4 of 35 comments
  • Mikehgl Mikehgl on Mar 16, 2018

    Ford's following the sheeple masses where they are roaming - to trucks and sport utility platforms. Can't blame them. Why plow billions into car platforms "just in case" another shock comes down the pipeline? The world has changed since the last go-around with oil embargo's, peak oil and the like. The good ol' USA is about to become the largest producer of crude on the flat earth. Merika! Never say never, yes, but what scenario places the automakers back into the same situation that befell them in decades past? It's difficult to imagine.

    • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Mar 16, 2018

      Total electrification is going to happen before the "oil shock". It may be helpful to re-consider the obstinate desire to live in the past.

  • Kato Kato on Mar 16, 2018

    It doesn't need a solid front axle to be capable off-road. Tacoma and 4-Runner do just fine with IFS. Rock-crawlers can continue to buy Wranglers, the rest of us might enjoy something just a tad more optimized toward being a decent handling/riding daily driver.

    • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Mar 16, 2018

      This. I see tons of 4Runners around here with not so much as dirty fender flaps. They buy for the *image* of toughness more so than the *need* for toughness. The baby 'Bronco' actually looks more like a FCA product, imo.

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies. https://x.com/WallStreetApes/status/1729212326237327708?s=20
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.