2021 Ford Bronco & Bronco Sport: Delayed? Here's Where We Stand
Up until a few weeks ago the official debuts of the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport were set to be some of the biggest automotive stories of the spring. And even as we deal with continued uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak and all of its effects, there’s still plenty of Bronco leaks and info to check out for those who may be looking for something to be excited about.
With that in mind we’ve rounded up some of the latest info on the Bronco and Bronco Sport along with some forecasting on how the lockdowns will effect the timeline for these two SUVs.
2021 Big Bronco: The Latest News
Last month uncovered photos leaked showing the 2021 Bronco devoid of any camouflage, and while unconfirmed the photos fit right in with the prototype spy photos we've seen in recent months.
To this point, spy photos have mainly shown the four-door body style, which will be sold alongside a shorter wheelbase, two-door version—just like the Bronco's primary competition the Jeep Wrangler.
Interesting is that some of more recent leaked photos show a Bronco that's less “off-roady” than some of the prototype testing photos that have also surfaced. With the Wrangler set in its sights, the new Bronco will surely offer an off-road-oriented version of the Bronco to compete with the Rubicon Wrangler. It will be interesting to see what sort of branding Ford uses for these models.
As for the technical specs, we still don't know what exactly the new Bronco will offer, but info continues to suggest two different turbocharged EcoBoost engine choices: a 2.3L four cylinder and 2.7L V6.
Ford's commonly used 10-speed automatic transmission is all but guaranteed to the primary gearbox of the 2021 Bronco, but there have also been rumors of a possible seven-speed manual option with an optional crawler gear. Should that rumor turn out to be true, the purists should be quite happy.
What about the Bronco Sport?
Not to be left out is the "Baby Bronco," the smaller, more car-like crossover SUV that will carry the name Bronco Sport. Undisguised leaked images of the Bronco Sport also surfaced recently—along with additional prototype photos that have given us our closest look yet.
While it will share its underpinnings and powertrains with the Ford Escape, it looks like Ford has done a good job of adapting the full-size Bronco's character onto a smaller crossover. At this point we don't know exactly what kind of options will be available on the Bronco Sport, but engine options are said to be either 1.5L EcoBoost three-cylinder or a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder.
From the beginning Ford has used the term "off-road" when teasing the Bronco Sport so there's good reason to expect an rough and tough version similar to Jeep's Cherokee Trailhawk, which is one of the most off-road capable crossovers around.
The Coronavirus Effect?
Now we get to the elephant in the room.
The Cornonavirus has already impacted our lives in ways much more important than delaying the launch of a new vehicle and there's no way the new Bronco's rollout isn't going to be affected by this. With limits on large gatherings everywhere, it's obvious that won't be seeing any in-person events for the Bronco and Bronco Sport in the near future.
The last we heard, the Bronco was planned to be unveiled in March with the Bronco Sport to follow in April, but that timeline is obviously out the window at this point. There's nothing to stop Ford from doing a virtual/livestream reveal in place of an actual event, but it's likely the company will have other priorities over the coming weeks.
Mitigating the effects of the virus is going to be the primary focus for Ford and other automakers for the time being, both in terms of protecting its workers and helping with production of medical supplies as needed.
Longer term, there's some concern that slowing or temporarily closing factories could affect the Bronco's production window, but it's still too early to tell. A reasonable guess at this point would be that the entire roll out and production of both Broncos will be pushed back a couple months and hopefully not much longer than that.
Whatever the case, we'll continue to anxiously await both the Bronco's arrival and the return of the automotive industry to its normal self. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.
Here's another modern Ford off-roader that should share plenty of DNA with the new Bronco, check out our feature on the 2020 Ranger RTR Fun-Runner.