At the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford dropped the news we’ve all been anticipating for apparently permanently: The Bronco returns in 2020. Consulting with R&T at the show, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs swore that the new Bronco will be a bona-fide off-roader, hinting that the upcoming SUV might be the first true competitor to the wildly successful Jeep Wrangler in many years.
The initial Bronco, constructed from 1966 to 1977, used a strong front axle, as did the second-gen full-size of 1978 and 1979. In 1980, Ford changed to the Twin Traction Beam independent front axle style that remained up until the model was ceased in 1996. We can’t say for specific that this is 100-percent evidence that the new Ranger and Bronco will use a strong front axle.
The accessibility of a strong front axle would be distinctly great news for Bronco fans hoping for a true hardcore off-roader to take the battle to the Jeep Wrangler. With the upcoming Wrangler redesign promising a lot of brand-new advances developed on a traditional 4 × 4 platform with strong axles front and rear, it sure would be terrific to see a solid-axle competitor from the Blue Oval team. Ford has actually already confirmed that the Bronco will be a body-on-frame style, based on the Ranger platform; this in itself points to the Bronco being more hardcore than the typical unibody crossover.
Given that the Bronco will be based on the Ranger, we anticipated interior to share a certain similarity. We presently don’t have an official concept about the U.S.-spec Ranger’s interior, though it will most likely look much like the worldwide Ford Ranger that’s been in showrooms around the world for years. The U.S. Ranger will likely get a slew of updates and style changes over the current global truck, so that is what we ‘d think the Bronco’s interior to look like.
A center-mounted shifter with a rotary dial for the 4WD is probable, in addition to large screens for the infotainment and chauffeur information screens. Expect keyless gain access to and push-button starting to be basic. Rear seat accommodations will depend on whether the Bronco can be found in 2- or four-door setups. In either case, anticipate it to seat five travelers. The rear seat will likely split 60/40 style for transporting cargo. We ‘d enjoy to see a drop-down tailgate and a fold-up hatch out back. That would certainly separate it from the current crop of crossovers.
As we said about the future Ranger pickup, the Bronco will likely obtain its powertrains from the F-150. We ‘d love to see the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 be the volume engine thanks to its 325 horse power and 375 pound-feet of torque. That would easily out-gun the current Wrangler JK’s 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V-8. Optionally, we ‘d like to see the well-regarded 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Possibly Ford will conserve this engine for a performance model. That makes good sense when considering it makes a remarkable 365 horse power and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Supporting both engines will most likely Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. It would be wonderful to see a six-speed manual available also, though we’re not holding our breath. Naturally, the Bronco will be used with a part-time 4WD system. This indicates it has a two-speed transfer case that sends power to the front wheels only when the motorist picks 4WD high- or 4WD low-range. This transfer case will probably be electronic, suggesting it operates by the turn of a dial rather than a shift lever on the flooring. Expect Ford to consist of an electronic locking rear differential also.
Prices is an improbable thing to be speaking about at this moment, but we expect the Bronco to be extremely competitive with the next-generation Jeep Wrangler. Costs for the Wrangler have been growing progressively, making it more costly than the low-cost thrill it started as in the late 1940s. The existing Wrangler JK Unlimited begins just under $28,000. As soon as the new generation debuts, that price will most likely crest north by a couple hundred bucks. In other words, the Bronco’s cost will most likely range in between $30,000 to $45,000, depending upon choices and trim levels.
Availability smart, the Bronco won’t happen up until the following year after the Ranger pickup. That puts the SUV as a 2020 model, hitting car dealership display rooms in late 2019.