Bronco and more: Ford’s crossover showroom of the future

January 10, 2017

Ford's confirmation that two iconic nameplates will return to the U.S. on Monday is the latest sign of the brand's efforts to reshuffle its crossover/SUV lineup.

“Bronco is one of five all-new global utilities coming by 2020,” Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs said during today's press conference.  

Early last year, the company announced plans to launch four new SUVs by 2020, and with the Bronco's confirmation we have a good idea of what Ford's crossover-heavy lineup will do to its showrooms later this decade:

2018 Ford Ecosport

2018 Ford Ecosport

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Ford Ecosport

Ford's baby crossover from across the pond, the diminutive EcoSport won't be here until next year at the earliest. But despite the long lead time, the vehicle coming to the U.S. is the same basic cute 'ute Green Car Reports tested in 2013. So it's old. But it also gives Ford a challenger in an increasingly popular segment, challenging the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X, and a host of others.

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid

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Unnamed All-Electric SUV

Announced just last week, Ford is promising a 300-mile, all-electric by the end of the decade. Built at Ford's Flat Rock, Michigan facility, the new entry is a “small utility,” which sounds to our ears like a Ecosport or Escape-sized vehicle. Such a vehicle would also, effectively, be a zero-emissions successor to the slow-selling C-Max Energi and Hybrid twins.

Ford Bronco concept, 2004 Detroit Auto Show

Ford Bronco concept, 2004 Detroit Auto Show

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Ford Bronco

The big kahuna and the vehicle off-road enthusiasts have waited years for, Ford confirmed its plans to reintroduce the Bronco at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Slated to hit showrooms in 2020, the new truck will feature an off-road-friendly, body-on-frame architecture, potentially based on the Australian-market Everest. But while the big Aussie SUV features four doors, we're betting the traditionally two-door Bronco to drop a pair when it returns at the end of the decade.

2015 Ford Expedition

2015 Ford Expedition

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Ford Expedition

Ford updated its aging Expedition—and its counterpart, the Lincoln Navigator—a few years back with mixed results. A new Ecoboost V-6 was popular, but the platform's age was evident both inside and out. But with extremely affordable gas prices the new normal, Ford is preparing a big redesign of both Expedition and Navigator. Expect aluminum body work, thanks to the related F-150, powerful Ecoboost engines, and plenty of interior space to be the backbone of the next Expedition's appeal.

question mark on road: image via Flickr/ milos milosevic

question mark on road: image via Flickr/ milos milosevic

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So, what's lucky number five? There are so many possibilities. Ford's two bread-and-butter crossovers—the Escape and Explorer—are growing long in the tooth are due for redesigns by 2020 or before. At the same time, multiple sources confirmed late last year that Ford would kill its big, three-row Flex by 2020. Could we see a new nameplate slot in above the Explorer? Either option seems like a fair possibility. In the meantime, we'll continue gazing in the crystal ball for an answer.

For more from the Detroit auto show, head to our dedicated hub.

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