The new trim will be available as a two-door only.
Faced with exceptionally strong demand, Ford is preparing to take orders for the 2023 Bronco from August 15. Ahead of this, we've already learned that the off-roader's color palette will be reduced significantly. Now, however, the wily sleuths over at the Bronco6G.com forum have unearthed yet another change to the lineup - the introduction of an entirely new trim level called the Oates.
Forum user Rivers90 cleverly decoded a VIN (identified by E4J) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which led to the discovery of this newcomer. The decoder points to the Oates as a trim offered exclusively on two-door models.
We reached out to Ford who, as you'd expect, replied that they "don't comment on future product speculation."
But this hasn't stopped fans from speculating about what it could be.
Some have theorized the newcomer may be a hardcore two-door variant with some off-roading bits from the Raptor, while others couldn't help but make jokes referencing the pop-rock duo Hall & Oates. It's very possible that the Oates trim level could be Ford catering to those who don't want (or need) a four-door variant but still require the capabilities of the Raptor, for example.
We know it will be a capable machine as, like the Raptor and Heritage trims, it is listed as having advanced four-wheel drive. Then again, it's entirely plausible that the Blue Oval will introduce a plusher variant of the Bronco and position it as a cut-price alternative to the Land Rover Defender 90. CEO Jim Farley has hinted at the introduction of another variant for the Bronco and several other models. "You can imagine high-end versions, all sorts of things," he added.
"Our design center is filled with new products and derivatives that will further strengthen our hit vehicles in the ICE and hybrid franchises like F-150 and Bronco and Maverick," said Farley at the time. Based on this, it's also safe to assume an electrically assisted Bronco could be in the cards.
Aside from that possibility, we don't expect many changes to be made to the engine offerings and anticipate the 2.3-liter, 2.7-liter, and Raptor-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 will soldier on with no revisions. More power would always be welcome, of course. These are just assumptions until Ford makes an official announcement.