Last month, Ford Motor Company announced that in addition to the rugged, Ranger-based Ford Bronco making its way to the North American market, the automaker is working on a second, smaller off-road SUV in the hopes that they can “reclaim our rightful place as the off-road vehicle leader,” as Ford President of Global Markets Jim Farley put it. The yet-unnamed future SUV, which we’ve been referring to as the “mini-Bronco” – or at times, the “baby Bronco” – will probably fit into the compact or subcompact class, most likely featuring unibody construction.
A dark, obscure teaser image of the forthcoming small off-roader (featured above) was shared by Ford last month, but the image leaves most everything to the imagination. Thankfully, Autoblog has taken the liberty of commissioning a complete rendering of the future vehicle, using that teaser image to inform the front-end design, and recalling elements borrowed from the compact Ford Escape and subcompact EcoSport to fill in the blanks.
You can see the rendering on the Autoblog website.
Given that Ford has genuine off-road-performance ambitions for the forthcoming utility vehicle, the tow hooks, front skid plate, and rock rails are all sensible touches with a fairly high probability of making their way onto the production vehicle. The ride height looks to be a fair bit taller than on either the Escape or the EcoSport – as it should be, given the off-roading goals Ford has in mind – and the front and rear overhangs have been rendered appropriately short, for good approach and departure angles.
More than likely, Ford’s forthcoming mini-Bronco will be based on a transverse, front-wheel-drive platform, with clutch-based all-wheel drive either standard or optional. That could give hardcore off-roading enthusiasts cause to look down upon the vehicle, but for what it’s worth, we’ve taken the unibody, FWD-based Jeep Renegade subcompact utility vehicle rock-crawling before, and it was brilliant. There’s no reason the baby Bronco couldn’t also perform well with a similar platform.
And if the small off-road SUV ends up looking anything like Autoblog‘s commissioned rendering, it will look far better doing it.