4 high-profile Ford vehicles near launch

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Bronco Sport: The rugged crossover shares a platform with the Escape, but that’s about where the similarities end. Its wheelbase, ground clearance and independent front and rear suspensions are unique. It comes with four-wheel drive and a number of drive modes to help owners through multiple types of terrain, and […]

Bronco Sport: The rugged crossover shares a platform with the Escape, but that’s about where the similarities end. Its wheelbase, ground clearance and independent front and rear suspensions are unique. It comes with four-wheel drive and a number of drive modes to help owners through multiple types of terrain, and Ford will encourage customization by offering more than 100 accessories. To give a sense of the Bronco Sport’s capability, Ford tested prototypes in the same California desert where it hosted the media drive for the original F-150 Raptor. The crossover will be built in Mexico and go on sale late this year.

Edge: Ford has canceled plans to build the next-generation Edge midsize crossover, meaning the nameplate will die at the end of its life cycle in 2023. When reports surfaced this year about the cancellation, the automaker’s response was telling: “We have no plans to exit the segment,” Ford said. Still, there’s a slim chance the fate of the Edge could change following contract negotiations with the Canadian labor union Unifor.

Electric midsize crossover: Ford plans to replace the Edge with an electric midsize crossover in 2023. The vehicle, code-named CDX746, now is expected to be built in Cuautitlan, Mexico, the same plant that will build the Mustang Mach-E. Ford previously said the vehicle would be made at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan before reverting to its original plans for Mexico.

Explorer: After a botched launch of the redesigned vehicle in 2019 that seemingly cost longtime executive Joe Hinrichs his job, Ford’s popular large crossover has rebounded in sales, despite the coronavirus pandemic. In the first half of 2020, Explorer sales were down less than 1 percent to 101,149. Ford has given customers some variety with a gas-powered ST performance variant and a hybrid option. The Explorer is due for a freshening in 2023.

Bronco: Now might not be the best time to wake up from a five-year coma, but if you have, you’re in for at least one treat: Ford has revived the Bronco, and the off-roader will hit dealerships early next year. The SUV, to be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, will come standard with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that’s expected to generate 270 hp and best-in-class 310 pound-feet of torque. It will also come standard with a seven-speed manual, a rarity in today’s industry. More than 200 accessories will be offered at launch. Hackett has said there will be a hybrid variant, and a Raptor performance variant also could be in the works.

Expedition: The 2018 redesign of the large SUV helped Ford recapture sales and share in a profitable segment, but the automaker faces renewed competition from a redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe. Unlike with the previous-generation Expedition that sat virtually untouched for two decades, Ford plans to keep investing in its largest utility. It plans to freshen the vehicle next year. A redesign, along with a hybrid model, is coming in 2023.

Compact pickup: Ford will introduce a small pickup in the second half of 2021 that likely will be called the Maverick. Dealers who were shown the vehicle this year said it would be priced under $20,000. It’s the “affordable whitespace product” Ford first teased in 2019 as a way to make up for cutting lower-priced sedans from its lineup. It will be built in Mexico alongside the Bronco Sport crossover, but it’s unclear whether Ford would declare such an entry-level vehicle part of its Bronco subbrand.

Ranger: The return of the Ranger midsize pickup in 2019 was big news, but the vehicle soon will take a back seat to the upcoming Bronco, which will be built alongside it on the same platform at Michigan Assembly Plant. Customers have long pined for a Raptor performance variant, but the introduction of the Bronco might make it unnecessary. Expect a redesign in 2023.

Bronco pickup: Ford has said the Bronco subbrand is a “family” of vehicles, and Hackett told reporters that “family means you can have more children.” It’s no secret that Ford revived the Bronco in the hopes of capturing some of the sales magic Jeep found with the Wrangler. That includes the Wrangler-based Gladiator pickup, introduced in 2019. Ford is expected to follow suit and introduce a Bronco-based pickup in 2024.

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