Ford was recently spotted testing a short-bed, single-cab pickup that wore an F-150 body. Driving around in Raptor guise the test mule hints at something completely different than what appears to be the case.

Take a closer look at the spy photos and you will see the 2020 Ford Bronco has an ultra-wide track, just like the current F-150 Raptor. Furthermore, the wheels and tyres on duty are also from the Raptor. Additionally, the blocky front and rear bumpers are exactly the same units you will see when you remove the front and rear fascia of the fast pickup. However, you can’t buy a Raptor, or any F-150 for that matter, in this short-cab, short-bed body type.

A prototype wearing the F-150 Raptor's body, sitting on a platform underpinning the Ranger could only mean that the Ford Bronco is inching closer to production.

One would assume looking at the spy photos that Ford is working on a Ranger-based prototype. However, closer inspection reveals key differences between the test mule and the Ranger that suggest otherwise. The current Ranger has a track of 1560mm, far narrower than the F-150 Raptor that clocks in at 1880mm. Ford sells the Ranger Raptor in select markets, and even that model is narrower than the F-150 Raptor by more than 150mm.

At the same time, the prototype’s wheels sit fully flush with the wheel wells, much like the production F-150 Raptor. This is where things start to get interesting, for the prototype sports a wheelbase of roughly 2750mm, which is too short for a pickup truck. However, the rough estimate is not far off the last F-150-based full-size Bronco, which had a wheelbase of 2660mm.

Such a configuration is not available in either the Ranger or its bigger sibling, the F-150.

This leads us to believe that Ford might be testing what appears to be a full-size two-door Bronco sitting atop a modified F-150 frame. This conclusion seems unusual, since Ford has already confirmed the arrival of a new Ford Bronco that is aimed squarely at Land Rover’s much-anticipated new Defender. The company has also declared that the new Bronco would be sitting on the T6 platform that currently underpins the midsize Ranger.

Could this mean that Ford could be working on a secret return of the big Bronco? Ford was unavailable for comment, treating us with the age-old line: “We do not comment on future products.”