My Take On The Potential New Ford Bronco

It’s the most requested vehicle to be brought back by fans of the Blue Oval since the reinvention of the Mustang and Ranger, but should we really expect a true Wrangler fighter?

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Ford has teased that the Bronco would make its return since the 2004 Detroit Auto Show, a full 14 years and two-months since this most recent teaser. At that time, people including myself fell in love with that concept and were expecting something close to it just a year or so later. However, despite the praise of Ford Truck fans, that concept was never meant to be.

Is It True?

Photo: Ford Media

Unlike that past concept and rumors, there is more proof now that a Bronco is on the horizon. However, I think too many people are quick to get excited that it will be a direct fighter against the popular Jeep Wrangler. Well, let me rephrase that, the rabid fans are expecting a Jeep Wrangler with a Bronco badge. This romantic image isn’t what the Bucking Horse SUV is going to end up being.

The Original Broncos

Photo: Ford Media

The original 1966 Bronco was a competitor to the CJ but also to the International Harvester Scout, another beloved SUV of the 60’s. Its design was not only simple with a removable top and doors, but it had a full body. Now, when you listen to the “fan base”, you’d think it was a direct competitor of the CJ down to the removable fenders. That really wasn’t it. The Bronco was marketed as a simple SUV for its time. Though, the original Bronco did come with a CB Radio, Power Take Off (PTO), and a winch. Now those would be great to see on the new one, too, but not likely.

Photo: Ford Media

For the second-generation Bronco – 1978 to 1979 – Ford went even further from that design as it was now based on the Ford F100 rather than having its own chassis. The front doors weren’t even removable anymore. However, the rear top and rear seat were both still removable. This basic design criteria would continue with each generation until the final 1996 model year. The criteria being it was a shorted F-series pickup – the F150 specifically by generation three.

Remember the C350? Most Don’t.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

There are also people bemoaning a four-door Bronco, but the fourth- and fifth-generation did get a slightly unofficial four-door version: The Centurion Vehicles Centurion Classic. These were crew cab trucks that had a Bronco rear clip grafted on. The Centurion quite possibly is a bit more a cult figure than the original 66 Bronco just simply for the fact that there aren’t a ton of them out there. What’s more is that it wasn’t just a half-ton chassis as the C350 used the F350 Crew Cab chassis along with the C150 with its F150 Crew Cab base. So, that means there is also some argument towards a diesel-powered Bronco as the F350-based Centurion Broncos used the 7.3- and 7.5-liter diesel V8s.

Danger Ranger

Photo: Ford Media

However, one argument that does remain is the want for the new Bronco to be based on the F150 as it had been since the second-generation. Unfortunately for those fans, that’s not happening, as it has already been confirmed that it will be built on the new Ranger chassis. That’s not a total fail as it will remain a true, body-on-frame SUV and the new Ranger is a rather impressive vehicle on paper so far and from what we know from our Asia-Pacific and Australian friends.

Will it Walk the Dinosaur?

Photo: Ford Media

Now, knowing that, many are speculating that we’re going to get a Raptor version of the Ranger and Bronco because those guys are getting one. Sorry, but that isn’t going to happen. We’re not getting a Ranger Raptor nor are we getting a Bronco Raptor. We already have a Raptor here in the US based on the F150. Though I say that, I’m not ruling out that there won’t be a high-performance version of both the Ranger and the Bronco. What will it be called, I can’t completely speculate but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about a ST version like we’re seeing with the Explorer CUV. I’ll be even less surprised when we are told that there will be a Shelby version just like we currently see with the Raptor, too.

What do I think is coming?

Photo: Ford Media

Here is my hope when it finally sees the light: It will be a two-door Bronco based on the Ranger and there will also be a four-door version as the new Ranger chassis has the room for either. It will not have removable fenders like a Jeep Wrangler does but the rear top will be removable. The doors won’t look like they are removable but there might be some way to do it and keep the body lines clean for emissions.

Photo: Ford Media

The base engine will be the EcoBoost 2.3-liter, like the Ranger, but there will also be a 2.7-liter EcoBoost along with a Power Stroke diesel option. The most likely option will be a four-cylinder based on the EcoBlue from Europe. The 3.2-liter I5 Duratorq/Power Stroke is less so, but I won’t rule it out.

Photo: Ford Media

If we get a high-performance variant, the EcoBoost 2.3-liter will probably be the engine of choice. The 3.5-liter is already used in the Raptor and is the “halo” engine for Ford, right now, after the Coyote. The 2.7-liter could be the hotter engine, but its going to take a bit of work. It will probably need new heads to allow for a header and larger turbos. The current 2.7 does not have a traditional exhaust manifold as its integrated into the heads.

Will Carbage Get One?

Photo: Ford Media

Will we get a new Bronco? You can bet your butt Carbage will get one if I can afford it. The only way I can do so, though, will be by your support! So, be sure to help Carbage by buying stuff in our Merchandise link at the top of the page or support us on Patreon. We will also be greatful for a share or two along with comments at the bottom of this page. Audience growth is always going to be a crucial factor for this site. It doesn’t matter if its getting you more coverage and getting advertising, if it comes to that.

What to Expect from the Peanut Gallery

Photo: Ford Media

Unfortunately, those ultra-rabid, die-hard fan boys are going to be disappointed. Though, they aren’t going to be satisfied anyhow because they want a Jeep Wrangler with a Ford badge and not a Bronco. The less rabid ones are going to be disappointed because either it’s not based on the F150, it’s going to come with four-doors, or it’s just not a re-release of the 1966 Bronco. However, I think most Ford fans are going to like the new Bronco as they have with the EcoBoost powered F150 and Raptor.

Those that aren’t content will buy a Jeep or do nothing but complain, as usual.

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Justin Banner
@jb27tt on Instagram or RacerBanner on Facebook and Twitter

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Justin Banner

Justin Banner, Lead Editor and Founder of Carbage Online, has been involved with the automotive media and industry in many capacities and now tackles publication ownership with CarbageOnline.com. Prior to that, he has freelanced for top online publications of modern media that include Speedhunters, MotoIQ, Super Street Online, Hot Rod Magazine and many others. All due to his nearly 20 years experience as a mechanic, service writer, and technical support in the automotive industry. Justin is also a Journalist Level member of the Motor Press Guild - an industry recognized entity of professional automotive journalists - since 2015.