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Ford’s Baby Bronco Deserves a Pickup Truck Variant

The hype surrounding the upcoming Ford Bronco line continues to build. Every time information leaks or a patent is published, it sets off a flurry of speculation. Most of this has centered around the ‘main’ Bronco: engine choices, removable doors, possible convertible pickup version. But there’s going to be a ‘baby Bronco’, too. Beyond the initial announcement, though, we haven’t heard much about it. However, Motor1 recently obtained spy shots that allegedly show the baby Bronco in the bare sheet metal. And it’s gotten us thinking that, like its bigger brother, the baby Bronco deserves a pickup truck.

Alleged Baby Bronco Spy Photo Background

The photo Motor1 published comes courtesy of an anonymous reader. Exact location is unknown. But the source alleges the photo was taken from a place where one could see the baby Bronco bare bodies.

There is some reason to believe the source’s claims. The exterior design, especially the C-pillar, match previous baby Bronco spy photos. Where the front fender meets the door is a vent that also matches with camouflaged test mules.

In addition, this new spy shot shows a unibody design. That is the biggest difference between the Bronco and the baby Bronco. The former will allegedly offer a body-on-frame version. However, the latter is supposedly set on the Escape’s unibody platform.

At this time, Ford has not commented on the identity of the vehicle shown in the photo.

A Ford Baby Bronco Pickup Truck? It’s Possible

2021 Ford Baby Bronco caught testing

Although the spy shot doesn’t show a pickup baby Bronco, that doesn’t mean one couldn’t exist. With Ford not debuting anything Bronco-related at the LA Auto Show in November, the Bronco line won’t be officially revealed until sometime in 2020. There’s plenty of time for Ford to consider a baby Bronco pickup. And that’s assuming Ford hasn’t already made one.

In terms of engineering and design, it’s not impossible. We already know Ford’s planning on debuting a unibody pickup. It was presumed to be the next-gen Ranger, on whose platform the Bronco will ride. But if the Bronco will indeed offer a body-on-frame model, said unibody pickup could be a baby Bronco model. Furthermore, there are test mules that back the idea up. Camouflaged Bronco mules have been spotted with pickup bodywork. There have also been reports of a heavily-disguised, unibody Ford ute running around Australia. Although we speculated that it could signal a Ranchero revival, the C2 platform in question is what the current Escape rides on. If Ford plans to make a full Bronco product line, a pickup baby Bronco is a logical addition. But not just from a product family perspective.

Ford Baby Bronco Pickup Market Analysis

2020 Ram 700 Pickup | FCA-00
2020 Ram 700 Pickup | FCA

An off-road-capable, compact, unibody pickup truck would essentially be unique. No pickup currently on sale in the US is smaller than mid-size. There is a compact Ram, the Ram 700, but it isn’t sold here. Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Cruz may not even be unibody or compact and is intended as an “urban adventurer”, not an off-roader. The only unibody pickup currently on sale is the Honda Ridgeline, and it’s both mid-size and not designed for true off-roading.

2020 Ford Bronco detachable doors
2020 Ford Bronco detachable doors | Ford

Going even further, there are the removable roof and doors Ford patented recently. The patent documents already show a convertible pickup. A baby Bronco convertible pickup, with removable doors? It’d be a compact Jeep Gladiator, that Jeep doesn’t make.

That 2020 reveal date can’t come soon enough.