If, like me, when you were 17 you purposely didn’t fix a bad oil leak in your terrible hand-me-down Buick Regal until the damn thing’s engine seized because you so lusted after a classic 1968 Ford Bronco and your family said you could get the Bronco when the Buick broke down for good, but then it turns out they sorta lied and decided that you were too young for a 4×4 and you never got that ’68 Bronco after all, you’re going to be awfully interested in the news Ford broke this week at the Detroit Auto Show:
The Bronco is coming back in 2020.
Its potential design, however, remains firmly in the realm of fan fiction at this point. Ford didn’t feature any conceptual designs in their big reveal (which included news that they’re bringing the Ranger pickup back too). Will it be a two-door Jeep Wrangler fighter, in the style of the original Bronco’s cult-inducing boxy style? Perhaps a Toyota 4Runner rival? Will it look like the fan concept, above? Or maybe a massively disappointing SUV pavement princess with AWD?
“The Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city,” said Ford’s Joe Hinrichs. “Freedom and off-road functionality, and the space and versatility of an SUV.”
Well, alright, but that’s a little vague.
Initial reports were that the Bronco was very likely to be a re-badged, Americanized version of the Ford Everest, a four-door SUV sold in non-North American markets that’s built on the Ranger platform. Think more Toyota 4Runner, or the big Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, than the classic, two-door Bronco.
But Executive VP of Product Development Raj Nair recently explained that while yes, the Bronco, like the Everest, will be based on the Ranger platform with a true body-on-frame construction (giving it the strength of a truck—as opposed to a unibody construction, like, say, the Honda Ridgeline, which is basically a Honda Pilot with a bed), the Bronco will be a totally separate vehicle from the Everest. The Bronco will be “focused on off-road capability,” Nair said.
Big news, indeed.
Ford’s insistence that the Bronco will be a “4×4 for thrill seekers,” hints at the possibility for upgradable suspension components, and a more rugged off-road package of some sort. A burly, Ford-made 4Runner or Wrangler competitor will turn many heads, including mine, when it’s introduced in 2020. But unless it’s got two doors, a removable top, and that squat, brickhouse build, it’ll disappoint the purists and the once 17-year-olds who never got their dream Bronco.