Ford's Baby Bronco Sounds More Like a Butch Escape

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
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  • Scott25 Scott25 on Aug 12, 2018

    Has nobody noticed how many original Escapes are still on the roads and are beloved by their owners. I know a number of owners of them who have zero interest in the current Escape, believing they ruined the nameplate. This is simply bringing back the old Escape and will be a big hit.

    • Gtem Gtem on Aug 13, 2018

      A lot of them are leaving our roads due to structural rust issues. They are real rot boxes, and the C4DE 4spd autos are about the worst that anyone has made in the last 30 years in terms of longevity. But I agree, I love the form factor of keeping it closer to an SUV in shape with bigger clearance and a squared off cargo area. Back in 2001 They were the first to put a 200hp V6 in a compact SUV and it really stood out (and was rewarded handsomely with sales).

  • Carroll Prescott Carroll Prescott on Aug 13, 2018

    If they make it butch enough then Subaru has to be worried about their female couples with dogs. If Ford plays this right, they can feature an interior made of flannel that smells of diesel fuel and has a place for a couple of golden retrievers and 2, 300 pound women.

  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three
  • Akear I just wish GM could produce a vehicle 80% as good as the crown.I sat in a Trax at a Chevrolet dealership this weekend and was shocked how cheap it felt. GM does not care.GM - what a disgrace!
  • Akear I like the grill treatment of all Mitsubishi products. It is an interesting and original design.
  • El scotto Some rambling thoughts; Elon is pulling billions in cash out of Tesla. Tesla will be around, Elon won't let them fail. Mitsubishi is an odd place, you can't sell vehicles if you don't have dealers. Out of all the "Automalls" near you, how many have a Mitsubishi dealership? The Agnellis owned Fiat, Fiat got sold to Stellantis. The Agnellis control Exor. How much of Stellantis does Exor own? I really should be drinking beer with Billy Ford and talking Big-10 trash with him. Ford and Lucid should work out a partnership. You want an electric Lincoln? Have Lucid build it and slap a Lincoln name plate on it. BTW, kick Farley's butt to the curb.
  • Akear US contentChevrolet Trax - 5%Honda Pilot - 52%What a disgrace!I glad Consumer Reports panned the Trax, and put it on its avoid list.