You know we’re inching ever closer to a major reveal when we see more sets of spy shots emerge, and that’s the case with the 2021 Ford Bronco. The resurrected version of Ford’s iconic SUV is set to lose its camouflage this spring. However, this latest photo set shows something more. Something beefier, less sedate and — dare I hope — more powerful. In short, this looks suspiciously like it could be a Ford Bronco Raptor.
Now, we want to make it emphatically clear from the outset that Ford has not confirmed a Bronco Raptor. This could well be an FX4-like off-road package, like we’d see with the Ford F-150. That said, with the wider fender flares, meatier tires, rock sliders and a few other details indicate this could be something more serious. Starting from the bottom, the most interesting part of this prototype is its tires. Here, we have Goodyear Territory mud terrains in 315/70 R17 configuration.
Granted, these aren’t the BFGoodrich KO2s you find on the F-150 Raptor. But, at least they’re something that’s meant for off-roading more than the last prototype we saw.
Bigger exhaust = more power?
Head around the back, and I spot a bigger exhaust outlet than what was on the last prototypes. That may not amount to anything substantial on its own. As part of a complete package, the exhaust with the sliders, tires and stance suggest a Bronco Raptor.
At the moment, the only engine the Ford Ranger, the Bronco’s platform mate, has is the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four cylinder. In the Ranger, it makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That comes mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which should be plenty of shove for the standard Ranger. However, it makes total sense for Ford to think one bigger for a potential Bronco Raptor. The Bronco R Baja 1000 racer we saw at SEMA had a six-cylinder engine instead of the four-banger we expect in the standard version.
Stick a 2.7-liter EcoBoost under the hood, a la F-150 or Edge ST, and now we’re talking about some power. The F-150’s 2.7-liter V6 manages 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. That would make a 2021 Ford Bronco Raptor into a serious contender among off-road SUVs. It would handily beat the Jeep Wrangler and even give the straight-six powered Land Rover Defender something to think about.
This is all speculation for now, of course, but fortunately we don’t have too much longer to wait. We’ll post more specific updates as we have official information available. When the Bronco does eventually launch, the standard version will be available in two or four-door variants.