The New Ford Bronco Might Have a Manual Transmission

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Let’s fire up the rumor mill and start talking about a vehicle that I know you all are excited about; the return of the Ford Bronco! We’re coming up onto a big auto show, a show where it’d be a good place to show off a new concept. But we need to answer the most important question first; will the new Bronco come with a manual transmission.

Manual Transmission GIF

My first inclination is no. Why would they? The manual transmission take rate these days is so low that it doesn’t make a lot of fiscal sense to offer it in any vehicle. Heck, they don’t even offer it in the commercial-grade F-650 and F-750 anymore.

But Ford hasn’t forgotten about enthusiasts, either. Despite the trend towards various forms of automatic transmissions, the Focus ST and Focus RS are manual-only affairs, along with the Fiesta ST. Also, the performance Shelby variants of the Mustang also have three pedals.

So it’s possible that Ford would include a manual transmission option on an enthusiast vehicle like the Bronco. But would all trims of the Bronco be enthusiast trims? I don’t know.

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Assuming they do a SVT, extreme performance version of the Bronco, I could see them doing a manual transmission. The only thing that gives me pause is the new Raptor, like the old Raptor, was an automatic only deal. The new Raptor will have a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

The other potential saving grace for the manual transmission in the Bronco lies with the Toyota Tacoma. The new Tacoma’s product mix includes a large number of manual transmissions, and every trim level can be ordered with a manual transmission.

If Ford’s goal is to go after an off-roader like that, they might put a manual transmission in it.

Ford Everest Based Bronco Concept Rendering

If they target a more serious off-road vehicle like the Jeep Wrangler, again, it’d make sense to include a manual transmission since the Wrangler can be had with a row-your-own gearbox at all trim levels.

What will be interesting is whether or not the next Jeep Wrangler comes with a manual transmission. While again, it seems to make sense that it’d be offered, the Trailhawk versions of both the Cherokee and Renegade are automatic-only. There would certainly be some internal pressure to drop that transmission with the new Wrangler, even if it would create backlash.

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I know I’m beating a dead horse here with the manual transmission talk, but it’s still an interesting thought experiment. I know that manual transmissions are going away. Heck, self-driving cars are the way of the future. But, I’d still like to think that with an enthusiast product like the Bronco, a manual transmission would be a “must have.”

What do you think? Feel free to sound off with your thoughts and comments over in our forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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