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.