2020 Ford Bronco Mule Possibly Spied, Looks Pretty Hardcore

Two years have passed since Ford confirmed the Bronco would return in 2020. Since then, we’ve only seen a handful of heavily disguised teaser images.

That could be changing as spy photographers have snapped what appears to be a Bronco mule. Looking decidedly hardcore, the mule is either based or at least using the shell of the Ranger SuperCab and features a comically short bed which is covered by a custom top.

Of course, you shouldn’t be worried about the questionable styling as this vehicle is likely a mule for a Ranger-based SUV. That effectively means the Bronco, which will be built alongside the Ranger at the Michigan Assembly Plant next year.

The hardcore nature of the mule is hard to overlook as it appears off-road ready even in prototype form. As you can see, it features a front skid plate and six-lug wheels with beefy off-road tires. The mule also has plenty of ground clearance as well as room for articulation.

Ford has been tight-lipped about the Bronco, but the company’s North American president has previously said the SUV has to live up to expectations and have a certain kind of capability. Kumar Galhotra did go into specifics, but it’s believed he was talking about off-roading.

This isn’t too surprising as Ford is expected to position the Bronco as a Jeep Wrangler competitor. That comparison becomes pretty clear when you look as previous teaser photos which suggest the Bronco will incorporate classic design cues as well as a little bit of inspiration from the Wrangler.

Little else is known about the Bronco at this point, but Ford has already confirmed the model will be offered with a hybrid powertrain. We can also expect conventional engines, possibly including the Ranger’s current 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder which develops 270 hp (201 kW / 274 PS) and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque.

more photos...

Picture credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops

  • smartalec

    Looks like it will probably be a short wheelbase Ford Everest.

    • Matt

      We’ve known for a long time that the Bronco will be based on the Everest’s platform. The body will be all-new though.

      • EM1

        And retro styled.

      • MarkoS

        By the time they are done, just the basic architecture if that is related.

  • NoMan2015

    Shouldn’t this be FAR beyond the mule stage by now…?

    • Ken Lyns

      This is Ford. Testing and development of the production bodywork is scheduled for 2020 (i.e. with first-year owners).

    • Matt

      I guess it’s different with body-on-frame development, as you can easily test the platform without the need for the production bodywork (it just bolts on and off).

      Ford probably has completed prototypes testing as well, but behind closed doors.

      • Jay

        Agreed, I’m sure they have a few broncos ready to be bolted on somewhere.

    • MarkoS

      Depends, My bet is a 2-door will follow the 4-door.

  • TheAmerican2point0

    Short bed Ranger if I ever saw one

    • Bo Hanan

      I agree.
      I also hope there’s a Bronco (4-Door) and Bronco-II (2-Door).

    • brn

      Ranger already has a short bed.

  • Rocket

    I love the way they camo-wrapped what is obviously not production sheet metal. It’s not hiding anything, just saying, “hey, look here … Bronco test mule!”.

    • Matt

      Yes but it stops the public from seeing a chopped-up Ranger which would confuse people.

      • Rocket

        Confusion is the point. Or so they would have you believe. A chopped up Ranger certainly wouldn’t draw any more attention than a chopped up Ranger wearing camo film.

        • Matt

          Yes it would, because people would think it was an actual production model. At least with camo the average joe doesn’t know it’s a Ranger (only regular car-spotters on car blogs would know).

  • jfalckt

    It will be the saviour Ford needs

  • Ken Lyns

    If there’s no 4-door version, it’ll die a slow death like the FJ Cruiser.

    • Rocket

      Ford has indicated there will be both 2- and 4-door models.

      • brn

        There will need to be, otherwise Ken is correct.

    • yomama

      There’s a big difference between the FJ and the new bronco….

      • Ken Lyns

        The Bronco has plastic transmission pans and other Ford weirdness? Or the Bronco name meaning nothing to buyers under 40?

  • Jay

    No doubt it’s based on the ranger. Looks like they’re off to a great start so far.

  • Branden Burke

    That looks so hillbilly ugly. I saw another picture that looked good, but I’m sure this one is the real one. So far it’s a big ugly no.

    • Matt

      Dude, it’s a mule. That means they just put a Frankenstein body over the production running gear for testing. In this case, a chopped-up Ranger.

    • no25

      You obviously have no idea what a “Mule” means.

      • Branden Burke

        Nope. I have better things to do than to follow the new releases every year.

        • Matt

          Sure you do…

        • no25

          What does that have to do with knowing what a mule is? lol I love how people on here get so offended about little things.

          • Branden Burke

            I’m not offended. I don’t care lol.

        • EM1

          The final product will NOT look like this.

        • Karl

          You are definitely on the wrong blog here,my I suggest “Keeping up with the Kardashians”

          • Branden Burke

            That’s cute. Did you come up with that all by yourself?

          • Karl

            Wise men speak because they have something to say;fools because they have to say something! TMZ awaits your presence..

        • yomama

          You’d think you’d at least have some time to know what the heck you’re talking about but I stand corrected.

          • Branden Burke

            Who cares to look at something that isn’t the real vehicle? That’s retarded. I clicked on it thinking it would be the real vehicle. What could you possibly get by looking at this thing? It’s dumb. Shouldn’t even be news and the fact that anybody would find this “mule” interesting is boring. I clicked on a Ford bronco article to see the new ford bronco. Not this dumb thing. I don’t know what a mule is because I don’t care. I’m not buying mules. I’m buying real vehicles.

        • nellydesign

          You have better things to do, but here you are commenting on an article about a prototype vehicle because you thought it would show a picture of the real thing. Then you complain about how ugly it is, and when people try to explain why it’s ugly you get all pissy and argumentative. Are you 12? Because you sound like you’re 12.

          News flash genius, cars don’t just spring to life out of thin air. They have long development processes. Part of that involves testing the chassis and power train before the actual body is finished being designed and tooled. So they slap on a mishmash of body parts so that it can be driven on public roads.

          Why do people (not you of course) find something like this interesting? Because it gives them an idea of the size and capability of the finished product. By looking at this you can see it has a proper looking off road suspension setup and that it is indeed going to be offered as a two door. Quite possibly a true competitor to the Jeep Wrangler. These are things people may have not known before.

          But you can’t be bothered with such things. Super busy car buff has better things to do. So off you go, super busy car buff! God speed!

      • Baeyoung ❂

        For a moment I almost cried before I realised it’s a mule…

  • Peterman Pinscher

    Broncosaurus…

  • AT LEAST IT’S NOT A SEVEN SEAT CHINESE BUILT SUV LIKE THE BLAZER.

    • FordMopar

      Blazer is a 5-seater that competes with Edge. Oh and Blazer is Mexican built. Come on, try google. Google is your friend.

      • Matt

        You obviously aren’t up-to-date with the news. China will get a 7-seat stretched Blazer for their market.

        • FordMopar

          so you complaining about Blazer turning into 7 seater that’s being built in China for their own market? Doesn’t affect us.

          • Matt

            No complaints from me, direct your frustration at MICHGO. I was just confirming such a car exists…

          • FordMopar

            Yea I meant for MichGo. Ha

      • no25

        They’re making 7-seater. “Come on, try google. Google is your friend.” 🙂

        • FordMopar

          yes I remember that article about 7 seater. The way he said it about being Chinese built and etc was confusing me, thought he was comparing to Bronco.

          • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

            because the original blazer competes with the bronco

  • FordMopar

    So many people believe anything they see! They call themselves car fans? Please disable your disqus page and GTFO! Save your lame comments/jokes. Yea it’s a weird looking but like any car fans know, it’s only a test mule.

  • Tinky-Winky

    At least they have a sense of humour 😀

    • no25

      this has nothing to do with humor. it’s a mule.

      • Tinky-Winky

        no, it’s a hinny.

  • MarkoS

    Appears a 2-door Bronco is in the works again.

    • EM1

      It was from the start.

      • yomama

        No it wasn’t, they pretty much said it probably wouldn’t exist as a 2 door and might still not make the cut in the long run.

        • EM1

          Link

      • MarkoS

        I meant in relation to the original covered teaser speculation.

  • MarkoS

    You forget the T4 Troller. This is like a mash-up of a Ranger and Troller which would explain the SWB with Ranger body parts thrown on. Who knows though.

    • Matt

      It’s a shortened Ranger/Everest platform. There is no Troller in this, it’s 100% a Ranger Crew Cab with a shortened bed (the mule that is).

      • MarkoS

        Oh, I’d bet there are some relations. Wait and see.

    • yomama

      Sorry, there’s nothing troller affiliated with this mule.
      That was just an assumption that the bronco would be based on.
      The bronco is going to be an suv version of the next gen ranger.

      • MarkoS

        Oh, I bet there is some relations.

  • Paul

    It sure is a funny looking little mule. At least it looks like it will be the real deal and not some glorified crossover like Chevy and their Blazer..

  • SteersUright

    Man, Ford has some really great stuff coming out soon!

  • FordMopar

    It’s not gonna sell here anyways. Complain about being built in Mexico. Ha

  • 31/12/2999
  • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

    They went through a lot of trouble to conceal the rear suspension on the mule. Coil springs FTW!!!!

    I’m very excited for the release.

  • Sebastien

    I’m looking forward for the “baby” Bronco.

    • yomama

      I’m looking forward to both. Although I think i’ll like the full size more, my budget will be geared towards the smaller bronco.

  • Emoto

    Independent front suspension?

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