Don't underestimate the Ford Baby Bronco's capabilities.
After an agonizingly long wait, the new 2020 Ford Bronco will finally be unveiled this spring, with reports claiming it will debut in April at the 2020 New York Auto Show. Joining the full-size Bronco will be a smaller SUV nicknamed the Ford Baby Bronco. According to a recent leak, the Bronco's smaller sibling will be called the Ford Maverick, although we've become used to calling it the Baby Bronco over the years.
While the new Bronco will be a highly capable, body-on-frame SUV that will compete with the Jeep Wrangler, the Maverick crossover will be based on the Ford Escape. But don't think this means it won't be capable off-road.
Thanks to Bronco6G, we learned that Ford recently held a presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Auto Summit. During the presentation, Jim Baumbick, Ford Vice President, Enterprise Product Line Management, presented a slide outlining Ford's future plans to expand its portfolio into "preferred segments". The slide shows how Ford is "aggressively re-entering the off-road adventure space that we helped create" and shows placeholder images for the Bronco and a "Small Rugged Utility," which represents the Maverick.
A chart also shows how Ford's vehicles will range from Urban to Rugged, with only the Ford Bronco and Maverick grouped in the Rugged section. This shows the Ford Maverick will be significantly more rugged than other vehicles on the chart such as the Escape, Explorer and Expedition.
The chart also potentially gives us an idea of how the Bronco and Maverick will compare in size to other Ford models, as the Maverick shown on the chart is smaller than the new Escape and EcoSport, while the regular Bronco is smaller than the new Ford Edge. Spy shots have also shown the Maverick will look far more rugged than the Escape crossover it's based on.
Since the Maverick shares its underpinnings with the Escape, it should also share the same 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-three, 2.0-liter turbo inline-four, and eight-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the Escape, all-wheel drive will likely be standard for the rugged crossover. Production is expected to start this August according to the recent leak, which suggests the Ford Maverick will go on sale as a 2021 model.