We’re certainly looking forward to driving the reborn Ford Bronco, but we have to admit there’s another Ford SUV that has our attention as well. It’s the Escape-sized SUV announced back in March that may or may not be built for actual off-roading. Details on this “baby Bronco” (teased in the above image) have been scarce for the last several months, but we now have an important one: It will be built on the recently redesigned Focus platform.
Reuters reports that, according to Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product planning and development, the Michigan-based automaker plans to introduce a Focus-based crossover with “rugged off-road styling.” The new model will reportedly share some parts with the Escape and will be priced at a premium. Thai-Tang also claimed the baby Bronco will have “off-road positioning and imagery,” but it’s still unclear how capable an off-roader it will actually be.
Thai-Tang gave a few other clues about styling, as well. Without revealing too much, he promised the design will be heavily influenced by the look of the original Bronco from the 1960s. Considering the only potential test mule we’ve seen so far looked less than rugged with its stretched and lifted Fiesta body, that’s great news. Based on the teaser, we suspect it will draw a lot of inspiration from Ford’s 2004 Bronco concept shown above.
It may seem odd for Ford to use the Focus platform as the basis for an off-road-focused vehicle, but it’s important to remember that modern platforms are much more flexible than in the past. The Porsche Cayenne, for example, is built around the same modular architecture as the Audi A4, but few people would accuse the Cayenne of driving like an A4. In addition to the baby Bronco, we’ve also heard the new Focus platform will underpin the upcoming all-electric crossover that might be called Mach 1.
But while we’ll probably have to wait at least a year to drive the baby Bronco, we could see it soon. It’s set to be revealed sometime in 2019 and go on sale as a 2020 model. So while there are no guarantees, keep an eye out for an official announcement this coming January as the 2019 Detroit auto show gets closer.