By on January 3, 2018

Image: 1994 Ford Bronco

For 2019, Ford will debut a new Ranger (1982-2011), followed the next year by a new Bronco (1966-1996). While there have been some camouflaged Rangers seen running around, Ford is not showing anybody what the new Bronco will look like.

Since they’re leaving it up to our imaginations, do you think they’re going to ace the new Bronco, or drop a big deuce?

Let’s define what both outcomes mean:

Image: 2015 Ford RangerAces: The new Bronco will feature excellent, retro-modern heritage styling much like Ford managed with the new Mustang in 2005. Though it’s unique from a styling standpoint, the Bronco will share basic underpinnings with the global/North American Ranger to save on development costs. This is the option most enthusiasts are hoping for if they have any sense. The Bronco is once again a sales hit, and receives successive generation(s) with revised styling and core characteristics intact. The Bronco legacy continues, untarnished except for that one time in June of 1994.

Image: 2015 Ford RangerDeuces: The new Bronco will feature slightly modified Ranger styling (ie. Ranger with bed cap), and will be too similar overall to be a real Bronco. Heritage of prior models will not be present, save for perhaps a few retro throwback badges here and there, or a plaque on the dashboard. Ford will pillage the Bronco name to make money, while expending the smallest possible amount of capital. It’s strip mining, but for cars. At the end of the first generation the Bronco is dropped, or reduced to a trim variant of the Ranger. Perhaps it is reincarnated as a Ford Mobility bicycle or an ECOSport later on.

2019 Ford Ranger FX4Point for Deuce: While it’s all well and good to be mysterious about what the new Bronco will look like, the appearance of a Ranger in camo which is just about identical to the global Ranger (see above) does not bode well for the future Bronco. If Ford didn’t spend the money to change the Ranger before bringing it over, it’s doubtful they’d do so for an even more limited model like the Bronco.

Image: 1966 Ford BroncoPoint for Ace: The reason Ford is being so secretive is because they know they have a hit on their hands, and it’s definitely not just a global Ranger with a cap on the back (which would look suitable in any street scene in Thailand). They’ve invested too much to reveal it early, and want to catch competitors like the Wrangler and Defender off guard with their brand new bucking Bronco.

Off to you B&B, which do you think is more likely to happen here?

[Images: Ford; TTAC]

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81 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Think Ford Will Ruin the New Bronco?...”


  • avatar
    stingray65

    The first Broncos have a cult following today, but they weren’t very popular when new. Just like when Ford changed the cool 2 seater T-birds (55-57) into less cool but more practical and popular 4 seaters in 1958 (square-bird), the Bronco reached its peak popularity when it became a more practical (and cheaper to build) F-150 or Ranger with a cap over the bed. I would be absolutely shocked if the new Bronco was anywhere near as unique as the first generation Bronco was.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    With the success that Ford had with the Raptor, a vehicle that by all logic they *shouldn’t* have been building at the time in 2009, I would think (and hope) that they understand that an underwhelming CUV with a Bronco badge would be a dud. Yes, a true Jeep competitor is risky, but if they do it right, they could redefine the segment with a modernized ’66-’77 Bronco.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “With the success that Ford had with the Raptor, a vehicle that by all logic they *shouldn’t* have been building at the time in 2009”

      Why shouldn’t manufactures build successful vehicles?

      • 0 avatar
        Landau Calrissian

        Not that it isn’t successful, but it is surprisingly so. It’s a pretty expensive toy, which wasn’t a hot market in 2009, and gas was expensive back then too. But hey, it worked out.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        They released a large gas guzzling loud off road focused pickup when that was the opposite of all things the market was pointing towards

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I don’t think Ford has a good track record with being able to tell if they have a hit on their hands. I think the first Taurus (hit) surprised them. I think the 1996 Taurus (steaming pile) equally and oppositely surprised them. If you can call the Raptor a hit, and the Lightnings before it, I’d have to say they were surprised.

    The secrecy exceeds that kept for the recent Ford GT, a car which can only be considered a hit because it sold out of its extremely limited production run by having prospective buyers carefully chosen from a curated and vetted pool of applicants. It didn’t have to be a hit car to sell out, it just had to be exclusive to buyers who can afford to care about exclusivity.

    I don’t think Ford has committed to how they will proceed which is why you don’t see Broncos out testing. If true it would not bode well for production release for the stated model year.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I think no matter what Ford does, there will be all sorts of complaining from people who wouldn’t buy one new, and would still find fault if Ford literally hired Jonathan Ward to get his Icon Broncos sold as brand new vehicles.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if at some point, we see a Bronco that’s basically a mini-Raptor wagon, and that’s a decent and reasonable outcome. At a minimum, being Ranger-based means this will be a proper SUV instead of a crossover, which is all I really ask.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Maymar – I agree that Ford is not going to please everyone. I like the original Bronco more due to their novelty. I rarely ever see one that hasn’t had a sawzall modify the rear wheel wells. They tend to be the domain of the “anti-Jeep” crowd and usually end up with a 289/302 under the hood.

      I much prefer the full-sized variant which isn’t much different than a short box full sized F150. I can’t see Ford making just a 2 door version. Even Jeep discovered that 4 doors sell. IIRC at least double that of the 2 door Wrangler.

      A proper BOF truck based SUV with off-road abilities is needed to sell.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I gotta ask (because I’m too lazy to look it up myself), but is the new Ranger really that much smaller than the F-150? Because that pic doesn’t look anything like the Rangers of yore, which looked like a very useful “I’m not in construction, nor do I run a ranch, but can think of some uses for a pickup” vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      No. It’s 9/10th of an F-150

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Just like the Colorado. I remember when people were saying that it was going to be the return of a proper mini truck. Still if I were inclined to purchase a new truck I’d look into the Ranger or Colorado. I’m just not a fan of the behemoths full size trucks have transformed into.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @sirwired – IIRC it is dimensional very similar to the Colorado.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        The Ranger is slightly larger than the Colorado. The size was used for the rear seat passengers.

        The global Ranger is a couple hundred kilo’s heavier. That’s why I thought it odd the US Colorado used a lighter chassis.

        I’m guessing that the US Ranger will design its chassis similar to the aluminium wunder truck, with varying chassis rail wall thickness to reduce weight.

  • avatar

    I would like a Ford Everest.

  • avatar
    NN

    I don’t think it’s going to be a Ford Everest. Otherwise, we’d likely have seen it already. I’m thinking it will be more Toyota FJ-Cruiser like in that it harkens to the original with styling cues, but is otherwise similar to the Ranger. It should therefore sell pretty well, at least at first.

  • avatar
    brettc

    So what happened in June of 1994? /s

    Hopefully they don’t screw it up like how their poor decision on the DCT has tainted the Focus and Fiesta. Only time will tell.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Is that Bill Murray practicing his assistant greenskeeper skills in the stock the stock Bronco photo?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If he bothers you, I’ll take care of him. What you’ve got to do is cut the hamstring on the back of his leg right at the bottom. He’ll never play golf again, because his weight displacement goes back, all his weight is on his right foot, and he’ll push everything off to the right. He’ll never come through on anything. He’ll quit the game.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I personally think the Ranger will end up being the “even more limited model,” not the Bronco, and I think anyone thinking the Bronco will be 2 door is living in la la land.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    Ford fan and former Ranger (’96) owner here. I DO NOT like the profile of the (presumed) prototype/import shown. Proportions, lines, etc. are all just off (reminds me of the Honda abomination for some reason). Up-tapered bed? Really? And the greenhouse is reminiscent of Camaro.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    you know when it’s a classy joint when in a Bronco topic no one mentions The Juice.

    Oh well, it was classy before I got here this morning.

    Would The Juice drive one?

    Edit: looks like someone beat me to it as I was writing this….

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am super hopeful the Bronco will lead a resurgence of the PLUV (personal luxury utility vehicle). Jeep currently is the only offering, as I believe the FJ is no longer made.

    I am a fan of the Bronco in either its initial smaller introduction and the larger version that ended in 1996. I am also a fan of the K5 Blazer as well and would be delighted if GM would bring that back.

    My Suburban should last no problem for another 10 years, then my boys are on their own and I won’t need such a massive rig, but would love a two door version of the same vehicle. I am certain that I am one of the few, but automakers continue to make plenty of low volume cars and it seems to me that a Bronco/Blazer can be produced fairly easily using the pick up as the template.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I continue to predict that the “new” Bronco will have two features:

    a.) As much parts commonality with the global Ranger as possible to reduce production costs (honestly the only reason we’re getting a Bronco is to help justify the business case to build the Ranger here.)

    b.) The bones will essentially be Everest.

    Think 4Runner competitor, not FJ Cruiser. Now the FJ Cruiser is dead but damn have you checked resale values on those suckers? It makes Wrangler resale values look sane!

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      FJ Cruisers were pretty capable vehicles with a solid fan base…I had one and it was great even though visibility sucked and it didn’t have a removeable roof (which it should have had, IMO). Traded it in on my first Raptor, but I would get another if I was in the market for something like that.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I just think that it’s strange that Toyota couldn’t make a business case for continuing the FJ BUT 5 year old models were being traded in at 75% of original purchase price. Even a Wrangler is usually over 50% but under 60%.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      FJ resale values seem nuts to me given how capable (and how much nicer) the platform-mate 4Runner is. But it certainly doesn’t have the same image.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Agree with Principal Dan – I think the Bronco will be more 4Runner than Wrangler Unlimited.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Bronco looks good on this size/platform. Ranger is too big and won’t be offered with same F-150 options which will cripple it. Can’t predict what will happen, say it would be more successful smaller, say 60% of F-150. Might be a bomb as-is.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @28-Cars-Later – If GM/Chevy is any indication, the Ranger will have a Raptor variant and a King Ranch/Platinum variant. Since GM offered the Denali package in the Canyon I have seen several on the road. I’ve seen a few ZR2’s as well.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s a safe bet Lou, I’ll be curious as to why to buy this over an F-150 when the size overlap is nearly the same.

        • 0 avatar
          turbosasquatch

          The Colorado and Canyon have the appeal of not being nearly as wide as the Silverado and Sierra. Being more car sized means they fit in more places. Personally, I wish they were significantly smaller though

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Obviously it’s so secretive because they are actually buying up all the old first gen Broncos, upgrading them to make them pass current crash requirements, and doing a complete restoration.

    The secrecy is so word doesn’t get out and the prices of the old ones shoot through the roof since they are going to be selling them for $15,000 well optioned. They’ll only be available with 4WD, manual transmission, and they’ll get 32mpg combined from the 425hp V8 (only available engine).

    But, since they will decide to keep true to the original and have exterior locking hubs, you won’t buy it. Maybe when they are used for $7,000.

    Real opinion: They will ruin the real thing in our eyes and they will sell like gangbusters.

  • avatar

    Based on the history of everyone since the 90’s trying to throw out a real offroad competitor into the market (not named wrangler) my guess is it will suck.

  • avatar
    scott25

    The fact is though that the 4Runner isn’t a massive success the way the Wrangler is, so it’s more likely to be a Wrangler competitor. It just is unlikely to be as hardcore, and will have more concessions to on-road comfort, so it’ll probably be somewhere in between the two. So yeah, maybe like an FJ. It’ll be square anyway, and I think it’ll take more cues from the 70s/80s bronco than the original.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I don’t know anything concrete about the new Bronco, but my guess will be that it will be a medium to large SUV based on the Ranger slotted between Explorer and Expedition. Similarly to what GM is doing with the Blazer.

    Off-road aficionados will be disappointed (as they usually are with anything new) but the market will embrace. Perhaps there will be some sort of offroad package ala Trailhawk Grand Cherokee to satisfy the 99% of SUV buyers who do go off road but not swampers and rock crawlers.

  • avatar
    derekson

    I think if the Bronco was just going to be a mildly warmed over Everest it wouldn’t have any reason to trail the Ranger by a year or more.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I think they will screw this up much like they did the refresh of the Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Of course they’ll screw it up. The bar is set so low for this stuff now, it will join the anonymous hordes of CUVs down at the mall and the yoga place. The only real 4x4s left are the Wrangler and the 4Runner.

  • avatar
    arach

    Ruin?

    Do you know what manufacturer DIDN’T ruin a car before debut?

    No me either. I can not recall a single car that pleasantly surprised me when it debuted, or even stood up to expectations. Every car has been a disappointment.

    The LEAST disappointing was probably the Camaro frankly… other than that, every car I’ve been super excited for ends in a pile of failure… Either they drop the performance trim, tone down the design, remove cool features, forget who actually buys the thing, over prices the thing, or skip over the seemingly promised features and colors, or it doesn’t come in the expected Engine/Trans/option combos.

    It’s like new car debuts have to go through the factory of sadness before they can reach your dealership.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I can’t see Ford getting this right, it’ll probably be just another boring, run-of-the-mill, indistinguishable appliance.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If they can merge retro styling with everyday livability somewhere north of the weird suicide door format of the FJ Cruiser on a platform with the offroad capabilities of a 4Runner, I would consider that a win. Keep the price reasonable. I have a 4Runner now because no one offers anything like it anymore.

    Put the 5.0 V8 in it instead of a turbo. I want linear power delivery when crawling through washes.

    If it ends up a 5-door wagon version of that Ranger, then it is an Explorer, not a Bronco.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    You can’t recreate the awesomeness of the original Bronco.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I predict it will be based on the new Ranger platform, if anything. If it were 10 years ago, I’d say they would have a nose in common (like the Explorer resembled the Ranger of the past), but I expect it to be different, to an extent. It’d be a hit, I think. I haven’t looked into it much, but the final product seems to be a mystery. If it’s BOF, sweet Jesus, sign me up! I miss moderately sized BOF SUV’s.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The fact is that while the F-150 and Ranger based Broncos were more successful commercially they were from a different time when the market was already shifting. So even though there were more players the fact that the pie was growing meant greater success with the later versions.

    Financially it doesn’t make too much sense to stray too far from the Ranger’s pieces. Of course the suspension and powertrains will be used as is. However I can see Ford hanging on different front end sheet metal while using the Ranger’s windshield, and doors. I can’t imagine that it will be available in more than one body style so I’m sort of hoping that they use the Ranger Supercab doors and balance that line between a 2dr and 4 regular doors, like the FJ Cruiser did.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    The new Bronco will look just like every other SUV out there today. They all labor under the same safety requirements, including windshield distance from passengers’ faces. They all have to meet the same new CAFE standards, to be competitive without penalties from Big Brother…which means the same aerodynamic coefficient; the same molding to cheat the same atmosphere.

    They all want the same market segment; each maker is looking at the other. Tall as can be, while minimizing on drag. Four doors; probably six seats. All the electronic toys. Massive, butch grille. But running-board options for the inevitable Soccar-Mommy buyer segment.

    Price, half-again what I paid on my first home. Different brand, same product…just like everyone else makes.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Personally, I think it’s a deuce. The vast majority of Broncos after the original all carried their pickup truck platform face simply due to cost factors (cheaper to share a face than design something unique.) But worse, I also think it’s going to be longer and disproportionate to the original Bronco design, which was fully intended to compete with the Jeep CJ, and end up looking like a stubby pickup truck–at best with similar proportions to the Jeep JKU/JLU missing the bed.

    True, it may (only possibly) include a removable roof to some extent but I don’t think even there it will go as far as the first Bronco, leaving the entire cab uncovered.

    No. It’s almost certainly going to be a shortened Ranger chassis with no bed to speak of with very probably a Ranger nose, like the Explorer, which replaced the Bronco II on the original Ranger platform and the Expedition, which replaced the full-sized Bronco on the F-series platform.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I hope they don’t bring back the Bronco II. I’ve been in some serious accidents and have done some stupid things in cars but nothing scared me like my Bronco II. I was on my way to work and entered a roundabout at around 30 mph and went up on two wheels, man, I thought I was a goner. What a death trap. Ford should make the new Bronco nice and wide, not crazy skinny like the Durango.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Remember the original Surf/Pathfinder? I’d say the Bronco will be similar. Maybe it will be adorned with a different grill and trim, all sitting on an Everest suspension and chassis.

    The premium Bronco will run the Ranger Raptor suspension and pumped body panels.

    The engine will be the 2.5 I4 for the Ace of Base model with the EB 2.7 on offer for mid spec and up. The Raptor Bronco will have the EB 3.5.

    That’s my guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I have a hard time believing we’ll see a 3.5 EB in the small Raptor(s). I can see a different state of tune on the 2.7 EB or maybe down the road a 3.0 by the time the Raptor version hits the streets.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Scoutdude,
        If a 2.7 will, then a 3.5 will. There is considerable space under the hood. Remember the I5 diesel is fitted and the vehicles are over 6′ wide.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Scoutdude,
        If a 2.7 will, then a 3.5 will. There is considerable space under the hood. Remember the I5 diesel is fitted and the vehicles are over 6′ wide.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Scoutdude,
        If a 2.7 will, then a 3.5 will. There is considerable space under the hood. Remember the I5 diesel is fitted and the vehicles are over 6′ wide.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Scoutdude,
        If a 2.7 will, then a 3.5 will. There is considerable space under the hood. Remember the I5 diesel is fitted and the vehicles are over 6′ wide.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Hmmm?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I never said it wouldn’t fit, however the 2.7 which was designed to also fit in small FWD vehicles is more compact than the 3.5.

          But that was not why I said I doubt we will see it. It is because it is more power than I bet Ford is willing to unleash in that class in the foreseeable future.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Scoutdude,
            I’m hoping the 3.5 EB is fitted to the Ranger Raptor for Australia. If that occurs a Bronco could get one.

            I would assume a 2.7 EB is a given.

            But I would think a 2WD base Bronco would use a 2.5 I4.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I don’t expect a 2wd Bronco. They did offer a 2wd Bronco II for a while and it had an extremely low take rate. Even if they do decide to offer a 2wd version dealers will only stock them as loss leaders.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I am gonna put my $0.02 on 4runner-esque thing.

    The Ford XTerra if you want.

    Truck frame, some offroad chops, can pull a boat if you need, take you up in the mountain forest roads to go camping, get you up the ski hill, look “beefy” while doing it.

    This market is so under-served….but as others have mentioned why does it seem like it is either 4runner (ancient platform/engine/transmission but somehow keeps selling well and has insane resale) and the Wrangler (overkill for almost anyone driving them).

    But the ones that show up that seem to bridge that gap or are better priced never seem to survive.

    If Ford can capture some of that original magic in the styling, similar to the current Mustang looking completely modern yet with just the right touches in the right spot to remind you of the old ones, and with some decent off-road ability and towing, I think they have a shot.

    Certainly Ford knows how to do a pickup truck/truck-based chassis. Maybe better than anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “ancient platform/engine/transmission but somehow keeps selling well and has insane resale”

      People always bring this up, but I fail to see how the Prado 150 chassis is “ancient” in any meaningful way. It’s a well engineered sturdy BOF with 5 link coil sprung solid rear axle with fantastic articulation and a durable and decent riding double wishbone IFS. No one has come up with a better setup for a mixed-use offroader IMO. And God forbid Toyota gets a bug up their rear about the “ancient” 270hp 1GR 4.0L and replaces it with that 3.5L torqueless-wonder travesty that they saw fit to put in the Tacoma. Okay, it’s about time they updated the 5spd auto to a 6 or 8 or whatever. But even with the current “ancient” setup with the non-DI V6 and 5spd auto, a 4Runner will run evenly with a Pentastar 8spd Grand Cherokee, and will get real-world MPG on par with midsize crossovers like the Explorer in my own rental experiences. And all of that “ancientness” is in part why these things are so stupidly reliable and long lasting (which in turn is why they have such strong resale).

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Preach.

        C&D had this to say about a recent 4Runner after poking fun at the “cobwebs” under the hood:

        “That ye olde V-6 pushes the Toyota to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds is frankly quite impressive, as is the 17-mpg average we recorded during our test, which matches the EPA’s city estimate.”

        The rest of that review is largely an exercise in describing how an off-roadable BOF SUV is not a Porsche Macan. Which I think is the underlying factor behind these “ancient” comments–we’re now used to CUV dynamics and making an SUV with the 4Runner’s capabilities drive on road like a CUV is going to be very difficult without adjustable suspension settings and height and lower profile tires, all of which detract from the durability you buy these things for.

        Anyway, the 6spd would result in a welcome improvement in drivability for the 4.0 and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done. I still think the 4.6 V8 + 6spd would be a nice powertrain for the 4Runner; the improved NVH, increased low-end pull, and acceleration could be worth a mpg or two.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          My other wish-list item would be a return of the multi-mode 4wd transfer case to SR5/Trail trims, that was most definitely a cost-cutting move. In my ’96 Limited over the holidays I found myself going in and out of 4Hi quite a bit as mixed road conditions were evolving. And I prefer a setting with an open center diff for higher speed highway driving in slick conditions.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Just maybe, Ford will go back to the retro design of the Bronco and make it look like a G Wagon! I know I just dreaming out loud!

  • avatar
    Matthew Hinkle

    If Toyota couldn’t make a case for continuing to produce the FJ, why would Ford come out with a retro Bronco? To me, it sounds like Ford is building an Xterra, not an homage to a 66-77 Bronco.

  • avatar
    skor

    What I really want it that new Canyonero

    Can you name the truck with four wheel drive,
    smells like a steak and seats thirty-five..

    Canyonero! Canyonero!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The FJ Cruiser was not a true retro FJ, it was a fully-enclosed, no removeable panel, SUV lacking any of the off-road ‘sport’ environment that the original had. It was big, chunky and inconvenient as a purpose-built off-road vehicle. The original Bronco let you open it up much like the CJs, even when it carried that fiberglass hard top. The later full-sized models kept that ability, though the Bronco II didn’t.

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