QOTD: Where to Bump Up the Brawn?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Ford is anything but a conversation killer these days. Love their ideas or hate them, the boys and girls at the Blue Oval seem pretty confident that they know what works in the near automotive future.

One ploy is the bold step of splitting a model in two. No longer will one mainstream crossover attempt to be most things to most people. Instead, you’ll get the Escape, newly urbanized for the 2020 model year, and a similar-sized (but not shaped) platform mate gunning for a more rugged set of buyers. Two vehicles, one brand, one segment.

If this becomes a trend, where should it strike next?

We’ve told you about the 2020 Escape already, but Ford’s keeping details of its so-called “Baby Bronco” under wraps for now. Designed to capitalize on the upcoming body-on-frame Bronco, the smaller, Euro Focus-based compact crossover will apparently do its best to mimic its larger, more capable brother.

One hopes there’s more to it than just squared-off Bronco-esque proportions and prodigious body cladding. We saw what happened when Toyota took its RAV4 and gave it the TRD treatment. Leg day at the gym, essentially. Toyota’s RAV4 TRD boasts the same ground clearance and overhangs as the RAV4 Adventure, with sturdier shocks and meatier tires to make the markup worthwhile.

Even after being contacted, Ford wouldn’t fill us in on the 2020 Escape’s ground clearance, which wasn’t listed in a spec sheet that touted the revamped model’s car-like prowess and cargo-carrying, gas station-dodging versatility and efficiency. In terms of traversing rocks, it’s hard to say where the starting point in this Jekyll and Hyde two-fer really is. Suffice it to say, the Baby Bronco can’t hack it on looks alone; real off-road capability had best be in the offing.

If Ford pulls in more buyers with two versions of what’s essentially the same vehicle, industry rivals make take note. Looking around the auto landscape, where else do you see this strategy paying off? More specifically, where do you want to see it pulled off?

Which model deserves an alter ego?

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Apr 09, 2019

    Do not know what is taking so long to release the new Bronco? It suppose to be in dealer showrooms now in 2022 while the baby Bronco will be released in 2020 for 2021 dealer showrooms. The new Bronco was announced by Ford back in 2014 and was suppose to be in showrooms right now!

    • Rocket Rocket on Apr 09, 2019

      It was the UAW that outed the Bronco early. As for what's taking so long, it's going to be built on the next generation Ranger platform, which wasn't even under development at the time.

  • Hubcap Hubcap on Apr 09, 2019

    Here's one I'd like to see. A new Fiero. Mid-engine, 2500 lbs and powered by the 330 hp V6 from the Camaro. Make the platform versatile enough so that it can also handle a mid-engine sedan, a la the Corvair.

  • Haze3 Near must have... car guy make car, software guy make software THAT I CAN USE EVERYWHERE and not just on some specific brand of truck/car/suv.
  • Wolfwagen If there is no Rust or rot this would be a good buy when MB craftsmanship and engineering meant something. While I prefer the 500 or 560 for the larger engine, this is good
  • Wolfwagen Tim, Now you should ask the B&B who we want to succeed and why. You could limit it to EV or non- North American MFGs.
  • TCowner I consider it mandatory for the navigation purpose - using a phone in a Weathertech cupholder in my old Town Car just doesn't compare. However, I don't use it for anything else (i.e. music, etc) and don't find that important.
  • THX1136 No smarty pants phone, no interest in mirroring.