The New Ford Bronco: What You Need to Know

September 7, 2019 Cars By

More than two years ago, Ford excited everyone by announcing a new Bronco for 2020. After a protracted development process, we have seen leaked photos, speculative renderings and odd-looking test mules cruising around Detroit. But the 2020 model year has arrived, the 2020 calendar year is fast approaching, and Ford…is still not commenting on upcoming vehicles.

Here are the big outstanding questions about the new Ford Bronco — and what we know about the answers.

How many Broncos will there be? There should be three versions, eventually. A standard “Bronco” will be body-on-frame, and run on the Ranger platform. A smaller “Baby Bronco” should join it on a unibody platform. Names like “Adventurer” and “Scout” have been floated for that smaller model, but Ford Authority suggests the current leader is the hopelessly generic “Bronco Sport.” Reports suggest a Bronco pickup may emerge during the Bronco’s life-cycle.

What engine will the Bronco have? This is still in the educated-guess stage. A Canadian Tire parts lookup tool listed the Bronco as having Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, which is used in the Ranger, Mustang and elsewhere. That would be a natural fit for a base engine.

The original Bronco offered a V8; not doing so would disappoint some, but the twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 from the F-150 might be a better fit. Ford president Jim Hackett noted the Bronco would offer a hybrid powertrain at a shareholders’ meeting. Ford could potentially even use the 3.0-liter V6 hybrid system from the Lincoln Aviator.

Will the new Bronco get a manual transmission? That seems probable. A Jalopnik report from 2018 says Ford has tabbed transmission supplier Getrag with producing a seven-speed manual bound for the Bronco. Having that option would help build the Bronco’s cred as a legitimate Wrangler/Tacoma fighter.

Will there be a two-door Bronco? It appears so. There’s a market case for not having a two-door — Wrangler buyers have abandoned it. However, dealers reportedly saw a two-door prototype with removable doors and a removable hardtop. (The two-door Bronco is the classic look.)

Will the roof and doors be removable? Uncovered Ford patents suggest the new Bronco will be able to remove its top and doors like the Jeep Wrangler. Ford has patents for a removable hard top system and a doorless side air bag system. There’s even a patent for removing the roll bar for complete open-air driving.

When will the new Bronco launch? Ford has not given us firm dates. The Bronco debut will have to work around the launch of the new F-150, also debuting in the 2021 model year. Educated guesses have Ford launching the “Baby Bronco” in early 2020, followed by the F-150 over the summer, and the full-on Bronco debuting late in 2020.

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Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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