The hotly anticipated return of the Bronco came into sharper focus with new leaked photos of the four, two door, and Sport versions.
Boy, Ford sure doesn’t want us to know what the new Bronco is going to look like. I’m sure the recent spate of leaks was totally unexpected and unwelcomed, because, obviously, the last thing you would want when promoting a new vehicle launch is a groundswell of rumor and speculation surrounding said vehicle. Or … Ford’s marketing department gave a wink and a nod to a couple of surreptitious flip-phone photos (seriously, these aren’t smartphone quality pics) making their way onto the interwebs.
Not that we’re complaining. These are by far the best shots we’ve gotten of the Bronco and Bronco Sport, no camo or aftermarket bodywork. And they reveal a Bronco worthy of the name. Let’s dive into the details of each.
Design wise, the Bronco Sport looks somewhere between the Jeep Renegade and the Land Rover Defender. Elements of note include a slick two-toned paint job and the new “Bronco” grille along with a forward slanting C-pillar and flush fenders. While the overall design looks to put the Escape to shame, I couldn’t help questioning the bulging front grille of the Bronco Sport. Now these are likely cell phone images notorious for distortion and warping, but the bulging grille would be the most dramatic departure from the design language of the Bronco proper (which we’ll get to in a moment).
Built on the Escape’s C2 platform, the Sport will likely be powered by either a 1.5 or 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. What’s not clear from any leaked photos are how off-road adept the Bronco Sport will be. You’d have to expect it to out-do the Escape in capability. So, will it have a locking-diff or a transfer case with low range? We should know soon enough, the “Baby Bronco” is expected to be released this April.
The legend returns. Well … maybe … we hope. Though the leaked photos of the big Bronco appear to be in some sort of warehouse or factory, the typical poor quality of the image encourages a bit of skepticism. With that pinch of salt, let us say that this image does align everything else that’s come out over the last few months and any differences between this and the final, official Bronco will likely be minor.
The dimensions look right for a Wrangler rival. There’s plenty of lift, the square shoulders and general rectilinear shape, and a two-toned paint job. Notice too the gnarly off-road tires, complete with bead locks (which might also indicate that this is a higher trim version we’re looking at). Unlike the Sport version, the Bronco proper has flared fenders, though they’re not quite as pronounced as the Wrangler’s. And the front bumper looks to house not only fog lamps but also tow hooks and possibly a winch mount.
Thankfully, the Bronco’s grille is a good deal flatter than the Sport’s, meaning it stays a lot closer to the Broncos of old. In the black version’s photos we can also glimpse utility handles on the hood for strapping down tools and equipment, likely an add-on feature. On the opposite end, we get a shot of the back hatch complete with mounted spare tire. Most importantly we can see the Bronco’s removable top, but we’d expect no less when it’s tasked with going toe-to-toe with the Wrangler. Plus, there’s a cool looking roof rack that extends all the way forward to the windshield (perhaps to accommodate removing the middle roof section?).
I don’t know about you folks, but the Bronco I’m most looking forward to doesn’t have four doors, it has two. I’m apparently not the only one since the two-door Bronco got its own leaked pic; and let me tell you, it’s all I’ve been pining for and then some.
The two-door Bronco keeps the same front end as the four-door, has the same flared fenders, and the same height atop those beefy off-road tires. But its those proportions that wow me. There’s a Tasmanian Devil kind of distribution going on. The two-door Bronco is all muscle up front, thick-necked and stocky. It’s up on its haunches, ready to jump from the word go. I’m officially calling dibs on C’MATME vanity plates for this one.
Those words of provocation are directed squarely at Jeep and the Wrangler specifically. I can’t wait to see what sort of 4×4 capabilities the Bronco winds up with. We shouldn’t have too much longer to wait as the Bronco is expected by the end of March, with the Bronco Sport to follow shortly after.