Ford didn't put all of its cards on the table when it introduced the 2021 Bronco. It still has several surprises up its sleeve, and mysterious spy shots taken by eagle-eyed fans suggest one of them has something to do with the roof. But what is it exactly: a new roof style or perhaps an add-on like a tent?
Enthusiast forum Bronco6G received images taken by Jeremy Kinneer of a test mule parked not far the Hilton Garden Inn in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. It's a four-door model that looks like a regular-production Bronco from the rocker panels up to the belt line. Above that, its top is entirely hidden by black camouflage that ends in an enigmatic, almost Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible-esque bulge. Ford is evidently still putting the truck through its paces, because the same mule (or a very similar one) has been spotted several times across the United States in recent weeks.
What's the camouflage hiding? It's not a spoiler, though Ford isn't opposed to the idea of making a quicker Bronco. Depending on who you ask, the prototype is equipped with either a power-retractable soft top or a pop-up roof tent. Both possibilities are credible. Jeep offers the Wrangler -- the Bronco's most direct rival -- with a Sky One-Touch Power Top that retracts at the push of a button. It's essentially an extra-large cloth sunroof.
Wrangler buyers can't order a pop-up tent from the factory, but dozens of aftermarket companies sell one. Ford has repeatedly stressed it plans to make hundreds of off-road-oriented accessories available for the new Bronco, and a tent could be one of them. In fact, Ford offers aftermarket roof-top tents for various models in its official accessories catalog. It would likely be a matter of developing roof and roof rack system that would support it and the weight of the people inside. Ford has also previously partnered with Yakima for various racks and accessories.
Ford hasn't commented on the images, but we'll likely find out what the camouflage hides in the coming months. What's certain is that the company isn't done surprising off-roaders with Bronco-related news.