There are countless ways to screw up when resurrecting an icon. But if this first glimpse of the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco is any indication, the design team at the Blue Oval has gone back to basics in updating the rough-and-tumble two-door SUV for the modern market. It's all straight lines and chiseled corners and old-school to the max—basically, the opposite of a jelly-bean crossover, which is exactly what it needs to be.
Ford has dropped several tantalizing hints about the new Bronco since confirming it would bring back the fan-favorite truck by the end of the decade. We know it will use rugged body-on-frame construction and an adapted version of the new Ford Ranger platform. We know Ford is planning a special off-road version to compete with the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. And we know it's highly unlikely that the automaker will stick a V8 in there, unfortunately.
But this first tease of the real (covered) Bronco, released during Ford's big new product blitz today, shows the company appears to be serious about its mission to reclaim the off-road crown from rivals like Jeep and Chevrolet. The straight, boxy body lines echo the 2004 Bronco concept vehicle that mysteriously popped up during the filming of the movie Rampage last summer and was highlighted on star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Instagram account.
Surprisingly, the silhouette shows that Ford plans to bring back the rear-mounted spare tire as well, an SUV design trend that has all but disappeared today. And though it's been rumored that the new Bronco will have four doors, the short wheelbase does give the teaser a distinct two-door vibe. The whole thing looks appropriately rugged and ready to claim a slice of the lucrative "people who like the idea of going outside" market.
"Ford helped start the off-road phenomenon and has majored in off-road capability for decades—from the Bronco to the Raptor," Ford Global Markets President Jim Farley said. "Now, we’re ready to reclaim our rightful place as the off-road vehicle leader."
The company's commitment to going all-out with off-road ability is commendable, but not totally surprising. These days, despite the looming specter of electrified crossovers taking over our roads, off-road-capable trucks are selling better than they ever have before. The launch of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler seems to have flipped a switch in Dearborn—Ford also says it will be introducing a smaller, "baby" off-road SUV along with the Bronco.
Of course, it's not all old-school glory. There will be a hybrid-powered version of the Bronco, the existence of which will probably annoy at least a few diehard fans. But at least in terms of design, it looks like Ford knows exactly who wants this truck and why.