Escape II: Ford's Bronco Sport Leaked

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Ford’s effort to generate two streams of customers for its Escape compact crossover by splitting the model into two nameplates, each with a distinct persona, is well underway, with the brawnier of the two bound for an April debut.

Unofficially, that debut is today, as leaked images have hit the web of an unclothed Bronco Sport, aka “Baby Bronco.”

The images come by way of FullSizeBronco.com revealing for the second time a boxier take on the new-for-2020 Escape. Images that surfaced in late 2018 showed a similar vehicle, though these pics of a pre-production model show Ford’s decision to more prominently display the model’s name. Note the use of BRONCO in place of a grille-centering FORD or a traditional Blue Oval badge.

Outback, it’s more of the same, though the “Sport” tags along here (albeit with smaller lettering).

Riding atop the same platform as its Escape sibling, the Bronco Sport will undoubtedly reach deep into that same parts bin for its propulsion. Expect a base 1.5-liter three-cylinder and uplevel 2.0-liter turbo-four; the Escape’s hybrid variants might not provide the image the Bronco Sport wants to get across.

Boxier, upright, and considerably more slab-sided than the Escape, the Bronco Sport seems to aim purposely for better front and rear departure angles. Its ride height seems greater than that of an Escape, too. Given its nameplate, Ford will want to endow the model with more than just butchier looks and two-tone paint.

I’m not the only TTAC writer who thinks this thing harkens back to the second-generation Escape (2008-2012), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Land Rover Freelander came up in conversation, as well. While the round headlamps’ retro vibe is somewhat tempered by their large expanse of protective plastic, which looks awkward when viewed at an angle, the overall look is miles away from the Focus-on-steroids face of the Escape.

Outback, it seems the Bronco Sport received as much peer pressure from its namesake sibling as the Explorer. The tail lamps look an odd fit.

The actual Bronco is scheduled for a public debut this month, followed soon after by the similar-in-name-only Bronco Sport. The smaller of the two vehicles goes on sale first, arriving in dealerships late this year.

[Images: FullSizeBronco]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Scott25 Scott25 on Mar 10, 2020

    There’s millions of people still driving 1st and 2nd gen Escapes (and things like Liberties and Patriots) who wouldn’t be caught dead in the newer one since they adopted the generic CUV styling and reduced ground clearance and less rugged (ie not as cheap and plastic) interior. This is for those people. Who cares what it’s named (though I agree the badge size is ridiculous)

  • Moparmann Moparmann on Mar 12, 2020

    What an absolutely (IMO) putrid color to pick for a showcase model.

  • Kosmo I, for one, and maybe only one, would buy a 5.0 L, stickshift variant of the sedan/hatchback that is Ford's "Not A Mustang EV" tomorrow.I'd buy the sportwagon version yesterday.
  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.
  • Amwhalbi I agree, Ajla. This is theory, not reality - hence my comment that Americans don't like hatchbacks. But one of my neighbors bought one of the last Regal hatchbacks that were available for sae, and it is a darn nice car. I still think the idea makes sense, even if history is proving me wrong. And my sister does have a Legacy, which rides a bit higher than my Sonata, and that also is an excellent driver. Even if the general public doesn't concur with me.
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