This Ford Bronco Test Mule Looks Kind of Fantastic Just as It Is

Photo: Brian Williams

Look at that stubby little guy there! It looks both cute and tough at the same time, like a pug that’s been taking secret Krav Maga classes when you thought he was sleeping. It doesn’t seem like Ford is planning on coming out with a special short-wheelbase F-150, though: what we seem to be looking at here is a test mule for the upcoming new Bronco.

Now, we’ve heard that the new Bronco will be based on the Ranger, but this is clearly an F150 Raptor they’ve hacked up. Will there be multiple Broncos? I mean, other than the “Baby Bronco” we saw late last year?

One of the most identifying hallmarks of the original Ford Bronco was its stubby, tall proportions, part of the reason why it proved to be so effective off-road.

Happily, it looks like Ford is committed to this new iteration of the Bronco having at least roughly similar proportions, and when that is done using whatever F150 and/or Raptor parts are laying around, the result looks like this:

Photo: Brian Williams
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I think these proportions actually work on a pickup like this.

Photo: Brian Williams
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Also interesting but pretty unlikely to become a production styling element are those super-basic bumpers, front and rear. Tired of stupid, expensive, and fragile plastic bumper caps getting all scratched up and cracked? This would solve that problem, permanently.

Photo: Brian Williams
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I think those bumpers are just made of planks of aluminum? I’m not sure of the purpose of the holes drilled in the sides of them, though.

Also interesting is the tailgate handle/rear camera housing—the grey-white color looks sort of like it may be a 3D-printed piece? I can’t really tell from here for certain, but I think it’s possible plastic parts like this may be prototyped in such a manner.

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Image: Brian Williams

The suspension and rear differential don’t appear to be too different from their F150 brothers’, though I can’t really tell too much more about them from these pictures.

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Photo: Brian Williams

I think the one real thing we can take away from this mule are the general size and proportions of the new Bronco, and those seem to be pretty much on the money. I wouldn’t expect any of these body panels to remain on the production model, though.

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Photo: Brian Williams

I hope the Bronco gets a unique front end, ideally with rounder headlamps. But I’m sort of a traditionalist that way.

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Photo: Brian Williams

This is a fun mule. Too bad it’s doomed to be crushed.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)