Ford Rouge Complex
A Ford Motor assembly worker attaches a door to a 2018 F150 pick-up truck at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant during the 100-year celebration of the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan U.S. September 27, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

A bizarre looking Ford test mule was spotted recently near Ford HQ. The said test mule is a black truck wearing a manufacturer plate which looks like a short-cab, short-bed Ford F-150 raptor but can also be the new Ford Bronco that the brand is working on.

At first glance, the test mule really looks like a Ford F-150 Raptor with its ultra-wide track, sporting factory-fit wheels and tires and those mocked-up front and rear bumpers match what you see when you yank the bumpers off a Raptor.

However, the Ford F-150 Raptor is a huge pick-up framed, and it was made to be like that. The test mule that has been spotted is just too short for it, since the original model is longer and somewhat wider, and has a large wheelbase unlike the short one photographed on this one. So is this a new Ford F-150 short-cab, short-bed style? It might be, but some Ford fans have another model in mind.

This unit can only correspond to an initial test mule of the new Ford Bronco, the future off-road of the blue oval brand that will be based from the 1966 original. The new Ford Bronco will be a true all-rounder. Hence its test mules are based on pickups, although the model will not have a body of this type when it comes on the market.

It makes sense as if one will put a roof on the back pickup of the test mule, it would look a lot like a modern version of the last Ford Bronco that rolled off the assembly line in 1996, two years after one featured in the infamous O.J. Simpson police chase.

The test mule also seems to have been designed to simulate a standard copy of the Ford F-150, but it does not carry any kind of camouflage, just a naked black body so it may be that Ford is testing new components and engines of the Ford Bronco - which can probably be its hybrid engine - and not the design yet.

After nearly a quarter of a century, the American brand is developing a new generation of the Ford Bronco. A model that the company itself defines as a very robust SUV that will have remarkable off-road capabilities.

There is still not much detail about the new generation of the Bronco. However, little by little, we are getting to know some of its specifications and future characteristics from the mouths of those responsible for the American firm as is the case of Jim Hackett, the CEO of Ford, who has just confirmed that the Bronco range will have a hybrid version and a smaller and cheaper model that can be used in the city and has the family-friendly approach that will be called the Baby Bronco.

It is still too early to confirm the details of this new electrified version, as well as the rest of the Bronco range, so we do not know if this hybrid variant will be pluggable or not although it is believed that it will be accompanied in the dealerships of two others gasoline versions. The shuffled engines are the current EcoBoost 4-cylinder 2.3-liter 6-cylinder EcoBoost 2.7-liter, which would be associated with the new 10-ratio automatic transmission.