The upcoming 2021 Ford ‘Baby’ Bronco (its official name is still anyone’s guess) is increasing the frequency of its appearances in public.
The latest sighting is the most significant to date because it gives us the best look yet at the interior, which is very similar to its platform sibling, the 2020 Ford Escape. While there’s a lot of camouflage on the dash, we can still notice a striking resemblance to the latter model.
The dashboard features an almost identical floating center touch screen with five buttons and two dials (volume and tuning) underneath, a digital instrument panel, as well as the same multifunction steering wheel and rotary transmission selector.
Mind you, the baby Bronco’s interior won’t be a ‘copy-paste’ effort as the more robust central air vents are disposed vertically and higher-up than the Escape’s horizontal vents. Other differences include the repositioning of the hazard button right below the central display and the Start/Stop button placed further to the right compared to the Escape.
We can’t take a look at the HVAC controls but they’re likely placed on the lower-third of the center stack and probably feature a similar design with the Escape.
Unfortunately, the exterior of this baby Bronco prototype remains heavily camouflaged, though parts of the SUV’s exterior design have already been revealed. For example, a leak allegedly revealed the shape of the grille and headlights three weeks ago though we haven’t been able to confirm its authenticity.
Under the boxy body, the baby Bronco, which could be called Bronco Sport or Bronco Adventurer, will feature the same C2 modular architecture as the new Focus, Escape and Lincoln Corsair. This means the engine lineup should largely mirror the Escape.
Expect a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with 180 HP, a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 250 HP, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid making 198 HP, and a 209-HP plug-in hybrid. Base models are likely to be front-wheel drive but an AWD system featuring a rear-driveline disconnect system will be available as an option.
The baby Bronco will be more capable off the beaten track thanks in part to stability control and other traction control systems that will improve traction over various surfaces. The off-road compact SUV could launch as early as 2020 as a 2021 model.