By on November 13, 2018

Image: Ford

It’s possible the 2020 Ford Bronco just had an unlikely reveal after photos of last month’s Las Vegas dealer convention found their way online. On a Ford website, no less.

Slated for production alongside the 2019 Ranger in Wayne, Michigan, the Bronco is returning to satisfy the burning itch felt by longtime fans of the rugged, body-on-frame SUV. But is this that vehicle?

These photos, uncovered by Off-Road.com, show a vehicle that certainly seems to fit the bill for Bronco. A retro visage with contemporary cues greets us. Circular headlamps ringed with LED mascara are a nod to the classic 1960s ute, and the model’s prow is (nearly) as blunt as can be. As noted by Off-Road, it appears the grille’s large “FORD” lettering features its own illumination, though whether this is a pre-production feature destined for the dustbin remains to be seen.

Clearly, Ford is enamoured by the floating roof trend sweeping the nation. Blacked-out pillars all around call attention to the equally retro white roof, which dips downward aft of the C-pillar. Meanwhile, the beltline rises to meet it. From a side-on angle, this feature brings to mind other SUVs that are most definitely not Fords. Along the slab-sided flanks, a small fender vent can be seen, while a lower character line rises to meet the rear fender bulge. Out back, the taillights are reminiscent of modern Blue Oval steeds like the Explorer.

You’ll also notice the presence of four doors and a fixed roof, which certainly isn’t retro. As a supposed Jeep Wrangler fighter, many hoped the returning model would allow drivers to go topless and give short shrift to rear-seat passengers, regardless of potential lost sales.

Image: Ford

About that. Ford hasn’t, as of publication time, confirmed the identity of this vehicle. The model’s wheelbase and proportions raises suspicions that we’re looking at something else besides the Bronco. Also, Ford has already released an official teaser of the Bronco (above), showing a boxy, straight-edge vehicle that can’t possibly be a four-door. It’s known that Ford ‘s planning an Escape-adjacent “baby Bronco” crossover to capitalize on the returning nameplate, built on the platform of the new-generation Focus, with the automaker releasing a conceptual rendering earlier this year (see below). There are similarities, not least of which are the two hood bulges.

Image: Ford

Two sources tell TTAC that the vehicle in the dealer meetup pics is not the BOF Bronco, which is expected to arrive in three- and five-door bodystyles. That would make this the unibody Baby Bronco, slated to arrive around the same time as its bigger stablemate.

An email to Ford remains unanswered. We’ll update this post when we hear back.*

*Update: Jiyan K. Cadiz, Ford’s North American car communications manager, writes (not unexpectedly), “Ford has an exciting product future but we don’t comment on speculation.”

[Images: Ford]

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