The solid axle.
Ford, which recently announced the official return of the storied 4×4 in 2020, has reportedly handed over axle duties to Dana, noted supplier of beams to the Jeep Wrangler.
Automotive News reports that the supplier was announced during an investor presentation earlier this month. Dana claims that the upcoming Bronco, along with the U.S.-bound Ranger, will feature “front and rear axles featuring our latest AdvanTEK gear technology.”
When speaking of the near-mythical SUV, Ford executives have used words designed to stir the imaginations of off-road enthusiasts — Chairman Bill Ford called it a “true, tough Bronco” — implying Wrangler-fighting capabilities.
Still, Dana’s involvement in the 2020 Bronco doesn’t eliminate the possibility of an independent front suspension. First, the supplier hasn’t specified exactly what axle will appear on the Bronco. As well, Dana’s solid axles aren’t the sole domain of its AdvanTEK gear technology. Some independent setups have it, too.
Just to deflate the anticipation balloon a little more, Jalopnik notes that the 2019 Ranger — a midsize pickup based on the overseas T6 Ranger — does not contain a front beam-type axle. The Bronco will be based on the Ranger. Sad trombone.
Whether or not the Bronco materializes with solid axles front and rear remains to be seen, but we do know that Ford will allow something close to al fresco motoring. The automaker is expected to outfit the model with an “Air Roof” system of removable panels. The fresh air could help dry those tears.
This story first appeared on AutoGuide.com.