How Can Ford Make the New Bronco Even More Awesome?

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Speculative Bronco rendering.

Ford Truck Enthusiasts community has great suggestions for how to make the Bronco amazing, and Ford should listen.

According to Ford, the Bronco will be shown to the world in 2020 to be “back and badder than ever.” They also promise “a bold new look remaining true to its rugged roots.” That’s exactly what we want here at Ford Truck Enthusiasts, and those sentiments run thick through the Official Suggestions to Ford Concerning the New Bronco thread that’s blowing up in our forums.

Solid axles for rugged off-road capability and a 2-door aesthetic that relates to the original design of the Bronco are a universal demand. We’re in synch with the community in the belief that front and rear solid axles are what will make the Bronco for enthusiasts. Dig a bit deeper though, and there are other really good suggestions to help flesh out the new iteration of Ford’s Bronco.

There are calls for manual transmissions but the general understanding is that will be unlikely despite reports of a possible 7-speed manual. However, engine choice comes up a lot and some great points are made, including the idea that a V8 shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of the new Bronco. User SGR F150 captures the trend of the engine suggestions, telling us, “I’m thinking the 3.5 EcoBoost obviously, but please oh PLEASE, throw the Coyote 5.0 in it. Imagine just how much you’d be able to spice up the small SUV market by having a small Bronco with a beefy V8 in it!”

It’s hard to argue a Coyote 5.0 would be awesome and grab the headlines, but the 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6 could turn out to be the best choice for creating a super-capable Bronco as well as a fun and easy to drive SUV for commuting and running errands. A couple of people even point out the 4-cylinder Ecoboost could serve the bronco well. SDDL-UP says, “Adequate power could certainly be made with a 4 cylinder EcoBoost. Imagine popping the hood on your new Bronco and actually being able to see an engine in there!”

Speculative Bronco rendering.

One well-supported notion is for the Bronco to be a full-on “Jeep fighter,” and go the whole hog with a 2 or 3-speed low box and a removable hard top. User FatherDonald74 addresses the Jeep fighter notion saying, “It needs to be something that will meet the consumer’s needs/wants which will, in turn, assure production for a long time and not make it some fly-by-night reintroduction of a classic that offers none of the features that made the original such a classic. The 2020 Bronco must share DNA with its predecessors in at least a few categories to compete in the Jeep Wrangler’s segment.”

Diff-lockers are also a popular suggestion, but opinion is split between electronic and manual. Manual would be more cost efficient but with the reliability of electronic lockers these days, electronic does also make sense. It’ll be interesting to see if there will be an off-roading orientated package for things like a low box and locking diffs.

Overall, the call is for the Bronco to be a utilitarian vehicle that shuns the trappings of showy electronic toys and appealing to the luxury market. Enthusiasts want their Bronco to be capable and bulletproof in both a nod to the old-school and an understanding of what the Bronco name is all about. However, user sykanr0ng points out that when talking about the Ford Ranger, Ford executive vice president Jim Farley is on record as saying, “Our recreational position is not like off-road crawling. It’s go to the beach, go to the mountains, be safe and confident you can get there.”

Yahoo’s article featuring Farley’s quote claims, “Most owners of four- or all-wheel-drive vehicles never go off-road, so Ford is hoping to snag the cache that comes with a rugged image, without building in costly extra capability few drivers will ever use.” If that’s the case with the Bronco, then Ford will run the risk of alienating their enthusiasts for a short-term fad vehicle. User Fosters warns of the danger of that approach, explaining, “The FJ cruiser tried to get into the Wrangler’s market. With an IFS (Independent front suspension) it’s done, discontinued, one generation run and it’s gone forever. And if there’s one brand that has more loyal nutswinger fanboys than anyone, it’s Toyota.”

Like our forum members, we believe it makes more sense to push into Jeep’s demographics. Yes, as some of our members observe, Jeeps are often something that people “wear” as a fashion statement. But that statement is based around the rugged image jeep has earned and functionality that comes with the vehicles. The horse comes before the cart, and if Ford nails the modern take on a cultural classic and infuses it with the ability people want, then the Bronco will keep the form and function to become a timeless market dominating classic, just like the F-150.

Bronco rendering:

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Ian Wright is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites. Check out his podcast Both Hand Drive.

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