2020 Ford Bronco: Facts and fantasies

The first image of the much-anticipated 2020 Ford Bronco was released this week. Well, it was technically a photo of a beige sheet draped over the Ford Bronco, but we’ll take it.

Regardless, it offers a first look at the rebooted SUV that’s set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next January. Until then, here’s what we know.

It’s a box –

The most obvious thing about the tease is that the Bronco looks right, as in right angles. With a flat hood, upright windshield, and slab sides it recalls both the 1966 Bronco and the 2004 concept that fans have been salivating over since then. The only round things on it are all of its wheel openings, but the final design isn’t set in stone.

The 2004 Ford Bronco Concept may give an idea of what the new one looks like.

The 2004 Ford Bronco Concept may give an idea of what the new one looks like. (Ford)

It’s a truck –

The Bronco will be built on the same platform as the also-resurrected Ford Ranger and manufactured alongside it in Michigan. That means it’s a body-on-frame SUV like previous Broncos were and the Jeep Wrangler is today.

The 2019 Ford Ranger will be built alongside the Bronco.

The 2019 Ford Ranger will be built alongside the Bronco. (Ford)

It’s really a truck –

Ford won’t confirm it, but Automotive News has reported that the Bronco will feature solid front and rear axles, also like the Wrangler, to deliver extreme off-road performance. The Ranger has a rear one, so it's halfway there.

The Bronco should have a solid rear axle like the Ranger, and maybe one up front.

The Bronco should have a solid rear axle like the Ranger, and maybe one up front. (Ford)

It’s a hybrid –

At least some Broncos will be. Ford has announced that all of its future trucks and SUVs will offer a hybrid model, and the Bronco is included in that list. Guess what else is available with a hybrid powertrain? The Jeep Wrangler. The standard engine will likely be a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder like the Ranger is getting, with a V6 a possibility, but not a V8. Nevertheless, you can be sure that a few owners will figure out a way to jam a 5.0-liter in there at some point.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is available with a mild-hybrid powertrain.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is available with a mild-hybrid powertrain. (Jeep)

It’s (possibly) a two-door –

One thing that stands out in the image is that the ratio of hood to body suggests that we’re looking at a truck with two doors, or no more than two plus two half doors like the Toyota FJ Cruiser had. Ford is keeping this detail secret, but there will most certainly be a four-door, too, because that’s where the volume is. About two-thirds of Wranglers sold are four-doors and there’s no reason to expect things will be different for the Bronco.

Previous Broncos were only available as two-doors.

Previous Broncos were only available as two-doors. (Ford)

But will the roof come off? Will there be a Raptor version. Will it come in white? So many questions remain.