Ford Bronco 'Air Roof' Will Give You Open-Air Off-Roading Via Six Removable Panels

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

Update: Added detail about next-generation Jeep Wrangler roof.

A vehicle is no Bronco unless owners can remove its roof in some way. Thankfully, it looks like the next-generation SUV won’t disappoint.

According to two well-placed sources, the next Bronco won’t feature a canvas top or fiberglass cap. Instead, it will look to the Wrangler’s little brother, the Jeep Renegade, for inspiration.

The two sources independently detailed the existence of a feature called “Air Roof” for the next Bronco. The system will consist of multiple panels, possibly up to six of them, that can be removed manually and stored in the vehicle.

Much like Jeep Renegade, and unlike the current Jeep Wrangler, Bronco is expected to have fixed roof rails. Our sources did not give detail on what material makes up the roof panels — whether they be glass, plastic, or metal.

The Renegade with MySky — the tradename for the Jeep’s roof — uses solid, lightweight panels that owners can manually remove and store in the trunk. Jeep also offers optional power retractable panels, though they can still be manually removed and stored.

The next-generation Jeep Wrangler pickup variant is rumored to get a fixed roof with removable panels, reports Road & Track.

The illegal convertible

The last-generation Bronco technically had a removable top — but Ford dissuaded owners of its removal for legal reasons.

If a particularly nitpicky cop saw a ’92-’96 Ford Bronco going topless, Johnny Law had every right to pull it over thanks to Ford engineering its Center Mounted High Stop Light (CMHSL) into the Bronco’s fiberglass roof. When removed, the Bronco was without that required light.

Ford attempted to deter owners from removing the top by affixing it to the body with tamper-proof Torx (TR) bolts. The Jeep Wrangler gets around this problem with a CMHSL mounted to the external rear-mounted spare tire bracket.

Off the beaten path

The latest news brings relief to Bronco fans after a Redditor, claiming to work for Ford as a designer, stated the next-generation SUV would be fixed-roof only. Those claims were later refuted by TTAC sources.

North America Product Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company Mike Levine wouldn’t comment on specifics, stating Ford will share more information closer to launch and Bronco will “meet the needs of Ford’s most demanding off-road enthusiasts.”

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • EBFlex EBFlex on Jan 12, 2017

    Six panels sounds very convenient. But one can only wonder how much more convenient 12 panels or 18 would have been.

  • Zackman Zackman on Jan 13, 2017

    I can see it now - all those removable panels. The owners will give their Bronco a nice, if not lovable nickname: the LeakMeister and/or the SqueakMeister. I haven't heard of those issues with Jeeps, but Jeep owners put up with niggles that others wouldn't tolerate, so we'll have to wait and see.

  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.
  • SCE to AUX 08 Rabbit (college car, 128k miles): Everything is expensive and difficult to repair. Bought it several years ago as a favor to a friend leaving the country. I outsourced the clutch ($1200), but I did all other work. Ignition switch, all calipers, pads, rotors, A/C compressor, blower fan, cooling fan, plugs and coils, belts and tensioners, 3 flat tires (nails), and on and on.19 Ioniq EV (66k miles): 12V battery, wipers, 1 set of tires, cabin air filter, new pads and rotors at 15k miles since the factory ones wore funny, 1 qt of reduction gear oil. Insurance is cheap. It costs me nearly nothing to drive it.22 Santa Fe (22k miles): Nothing yet, except oil changes. I dread having to buy tires.
  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through rockauto.com.Maintenance and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
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