The new Ford Bronco has been a staggering success. The new SUV appears to have met the high bar the Jeep Wrangler set — albeait, with the caveat that no one outside Ford has driven it yet. But Jeep is not standing pat: a plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe will arrive soon, and it may be the most capable Wrangler ever built. And all signs point to Ford following the Wrangler down that electrified road, potentially as soon as the 2022 model year.
According to a TFLCar source, Ford will use the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 as the gas component for the new hybrid Bronco. That’s the same engine from the Explorer ST, which puts out 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque without hybrid assistance; it's also the engine used in the plug-in-hybrid Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, where it produces an incredible 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft. It would be paired with Ford’s modular 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ford may not tune the engine to as high of an output in the new Bronco as it does in the top Aviator. But if that report is correct, we should expect the most powerful Bronco to be by far and probably the most potent off-road-oriented SUV still relying on internal combustion. It could lead to some mind-melting performance; that hybrid unit, after all, pushes the comparatively chunky Aviator from 0-60 mph in just 5.0 seconds.
Of course, one of the presumed point of a plug-in-hybrid would be better fuel economy. But the 3.0-liter V6 may dash hopes for a significantly greener Bronco; the hybrid Aviator Grand Touring, as it turns out, was less efficient than the standard combustion Aviator in Car and Driver testing.