New Ford Bronco Wish List – 13 Things We Hope to See
Thanks to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s assertion that Ford would shed jobs by moving small-car production from Michigan to Mexico, and the company’s and the UAW’s responses – Ford confirmed that two new products would be built and no jobs would be lost, and then the UAW slipped and confirmed that those products would be the Ranger mid-size pickup truck and a new SUV bearing the historic Bronco name – we now know that the Bronco is returning for real, after years of rumors.
Allow me, then, to present a wish list for what we’d like the new Bronco to feature. Ford’s product planners probably aren’t listening, but just in case, well, we’re happy to help.
First, let’s start with the looks. While most publications are speculating that the next Bronco will look like the Ford Everest, a body-on-frame seven-seat SUV sold in Australia, we really hope it looks more like a two-door boxy off-roader like the previous Ford concept Bronco or the fan renderings we’ve seen flying around the Internet. Why? Well, the Everest is a handsome but boring four-door that has the same grille as the SUVs Ford already sells here. Aside from a slightly “tougher” look and stance, as well as its body-on-frame construction, it doesn’t stand out significantly from the Explorer. But the two-door retro-themed version does (a four-door version of the rendered vehicle would be a near-certainty here). It looks cool, and while we get that from a business standpoint it makes more sense for the Bronco to just be an American version of the Everest, we’d much rather see the fan-rendered version on the road.
Under the hood, we hope Ford starts with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 as the base motor. Depending on whether the Bronco is Everest-based or not, and depending on size, a smaller EcoBoost four-cylinder and or a V-8 could be options. Imagine, if the Bronco ends up being light enough, a lineup that offers engine choices similar to the Mustang – a base EcoBoost V-6 with around 300 horsepower, a mid-level model with the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 320-350 horsepower, and a model with the Coyote V8 putting out around 400. That would be one hot Bronco. If the V-8 doesn’t work, maybe the high-power 3.5-liter V-6 (450 horsepower) from the 2017 Raptor would.
If the Bronco is more Everest-like, we’d still like similar engine choices, even if the V-8 is no longer viable. A diesel would be nice, too, and if the next Bronco follows the current Everest formula, it might even be likely, as the Aussie Everest uses diesel power exclusively.
We’d really love a manual-transmission option, too, especially if the design is all-new.
As far as off-road tech goes, we’d imagine a terrain-management system like what we’ve seen in the Raptor and Explorer will exist on a new Bronco, and all-wheel or four-wheel drive is a given. We’d of course want performance suspension will plenty of travel, skid plates, enough ground clearance, at least a limited-slip differential (but we’d prefer locking diffs), a hill-start assist, hill-descent control, and all the other necessary low- and hi-tech goodies.
Really, our ultimate wish is for Ford to take a chance and build a true Wrangler fighter. Ford could take a risk and build a true Wrangler competitor with two or four doors, several stout engine choices (including a diesel option, which could be possible if the F-150 diesel test models come to fruition), and manual and automatic transmission choices – maybe even with a removable roof of some type. But given how popular the Wrangler is, how other SUVs have fallen short in that category, how impractical the Wrangler is on-road, and how the Everest platform is right there to be borrowed/shared, it makes more sense that Ford will go with a rebadged Everest to position as a tougher version of the Explorer that’s still practical for daily driving.
Since this is our list, however, we’re still wishing for the retro-styled Bronco, with off-road specs to rival the Wrangler, a choice of two or four doors, several engine choices including diesel and V-8, and maybe a removable roof.
I’ll take a two-door with a six-speed stick, the Coyote V-8, and a hard-top please.