Ford Bronco-based pickup could be coming to challenge Jeep Gladiator

Ronan Glon

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Ford's burgeoning Bronco sub-brand will include a pickup aimed directly at the Jeep Gladiator, according to a recent report. Rumors outline an adventure-ready, off-road-capable truck that hauls more than the Bronco SUV.

Citing sources familiar with Ford's plans, Automobile explained the Bronco pickup is being developed as more of a toy than a tool. Much like the Gladiator, it will be more comfortable hauling kayaks on the weekend than towing a load of cinder blocks from the hardware store to the construction site. Maintaining the Bronco's canyon-scouting, forest-roving image will be key to ensuring the pickup doesn't overlap with the Ranger and the F-150. Offering it exclusively as a four-door model will further separate it from the comparably-sized Ranger.

The truck will be an evolution of the Bronco, not merely built on its bones, so the two 4x4s will look a lot alike when viewed from the front. We don't know what the pickup's rear end will look like yet, though we're expecting a relatively short box. And, just like the Jeep, it will let users remove the hardtop and the doors for open-air hauling.

Automobile learned the pickup will offer the Bronco's turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder and twin-turbocharged, 2.7-liter V6 engines when it goes on sale. Buyers who select the smaller engine will be asked to choose between a seven-speed manual transmission and a 10-speed automatic, but those who choose the V6 will have to settle for two pedals. Four-wheel drive will come standard regardless of how many cylinders are under the hood or how many pedals are in the footwell, and the truck will receive all of the SUV's off-roading-related goodies.

Don't cancel your existing Bronco reservation if you love the idea of getting one with a box. Keep in mind this is an unverified rumor, and Ford hasn't released details about how it will expand the sub-brand. Even if it's accurate, the pickup isn't expected to make its debut until halfway through 2024, so it won't arrive in showrooms until the 2025 model year. Even if the model gets fast-tracked to production, which some insiders are reportedly trying relentlessly to achieve, It won't appear in showrooms until 2022 (so, for the 2023 model year) at the earliest.

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