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.

    MORE: Ford news, reviews, comparisons and videos

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers