WHAT IT IS: Ford’s answer to the Jeep Gladiator. But wait, doesn’t the existing Ranger fill that role? Yes and no. This Bronco-styled, off-road-focused pickup will target adventure-minded truck enthusiasts who gravitate toward the Gladiator, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and Chevy Colorado ZR2. Therefore, expect the Bronco pickup to wear essentially the same bodywork as its SUV sibling, albeit with a short cargo bed. Removable doors and roof panels are a given.
WHY IT MATTERS: With no more cars to sell besides the Mustang, Ford needs its SUV and truck efforts to crush it by being both good and plentiful. A Bronco pickup, despite overlapping heavily with the Ranger—on which the Bronco is based, anyway—is intended to be additive rather than redundant, offering buyers a more stylish midsize truck option. You can bet Ford won’t complain about the extra profits this surely pricier model will rake in, either. And lest you think Ford is cravenly chasing cash, keep in mind the original Bronco was offered as a (tiny) pickup, so there’s precedent.
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: There’s no surprise here. The Bronco pickup truck is expected to share the next-generation Ranger’s frame and underpinnings, albeit beefed up to match its promise of greater off-road capability. Look for the same 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4 and 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine choices offered in the Bronco SUV, as well as that rig’s 10-speed automatic transmission and—fingers crossed—seven-speed manual gearbox.
ESTIMATED PRICE: Jeep’s Gladiator starts at more than $35,000—rich for a midsize pickup, particularly one lacking power windows, door locks, mirrors, or even a solid roof. Such is the “fun tax” for a truck with standard four-wheel drive and the iconic Wrangler’s sense of adventure. The Ford Bronco pickup, like the SUV version, will probably slightly undercut the Jeep’s price and come standard with more features. Even so, that’ll place the Bronco truck’s MSRP thousands higher than a similar Ranger’s.
EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: 2024
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