Ford Bronco ute being investigated

Looking forward to a Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler comparison? We could also see a Bronco ute to rival the Jeep Gladiator.

1 month ago
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Scott Collie
News Editor

Ford has launched an assault on the Jeep Wrangler, now it’s putting a target on the Gladiator’s back.

Sketches uncovered by Bronco6G reveal Ford is investigating a ute built on the same platform as the off-road ready, full-blown Bronco revealed early in 2020.

The Bronco is built on a variation of the T6 chassis underpinning the Ford Ranger ute, developed in Australia.

Were it to become a reality, the Bronco ute would go head-to-head with the Jeep Gladiator, which is a longer take on the Wrangler with a tray on the back.

Rumours about a dual-cab Bronco ute have persisted since the automotive world first heard the regular four-wheel drive would be making a comeback, but there’s been no official word about the car since the new Bronco and Bronco Sport launched.

There’s no doubt demand for a Bronco ute would be strong. Less than six months after its reveal, the regular Bronco had racked up more than 190,000 reservations.

Power in the Bronco comes from a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine producing 201kW of power and 420Nm of torque, mated to either a seven-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission, while the turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 makes 231kW and 540Nm, and is available only with the auto.

Like its bigger brother, the Ford Escape-based Bronco Sport will get a ute brother.

Based on the same bones as the Bronco Sport SUV, themselves a variation of the C2 platform used in the Focus and Escape, the Maverick has been mooted for a number of years now.

Unlike the Ranger or F-150, the Maverick is a unibody truck. That means it’s not built on a ladder frame, and there’s no visible join between the body and the tray.

It will also mean the Maverick will have a lower payload than its siblings, and will likely be less capable off-road.

With a broad, flat front end and C-shaped headlights, the front end is tougher than that of the Bronco Sport SUV, and has plenty in common with how we expect the next-generation Ranger to look.

Power is likely to come from the same engines offered in the Bronco Sport.

It’s powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder engine with 135kW of power and 260Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Regardless of engine, the Bronco Sport will be offered with all-wheel drive and a set of G.O.A.T. (Go Over Any Terrain) off-road modes.

A leaked tailgate schematic leaked last year indicated the new ute will wear Maverick badges, a name last used in Australia on a rebadged version of the Nissan Patrol.

The Maverick name has popped up on various Ford-badged models over the year, including the first-generation Escape and a rebadged Nissan Terrano II in Europe and the Falcon’s 1970 successor in North America.

For North American buyers the Maverick will likely be pitched as a lifestyle vehicle, but in Latin America it could be sold as a more upscale alternative to other car-based utes, such as the Fiat Strada and Volkswagen Saveiro.

As such it would give the Blue Oval access to a market it hasn’t competed in since the Bantam ended production in South Africa in 2011, and the Courier (above) reached the end of its run across Latin America in 2013.

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