A Completely Unique SUV
If you have been following all the speculative news lately, some publications point to the next Bronco as being just a refreshed Ford Everest (sold overseas) destined for North American markets. Along with speculation pointing to other refresh possibilities, apparently they aren't true. According to Fords CTO, the next Bronco will be a truly unique product.
Ford's Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair, however, contradicted that assertion. According to him, the new Bronco will be a unique vehicle, not a reworked Everest. Size-wise, he said expect something smaller than the Bronco II but bigger than the original Bronco. And if you're worried the new Bronco will be a glorified Explorer, don't be. He followed it up by saying ""people have an idea of what a Bronco should be. Certainly, we have an idea of what a Bronco should be, and we're going to be looking forward to bringing that to our customers."
Speaking to Autoline, Ford's Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair said that while the new Bronco will share a platform with the Ranger, it will be its own vehicle. "It will be an incremental vehicle from the Everest." Nair told Autoline. "This Bronco is completely unique from that Everest."
This is where things start to get interesting, apparently a designer at Ford spilled some beans on the next Bronco, suggesting it will indeed be a 4-door SUV based on the Ford Everest
According to the anonymous (but verified by the moderators of the Ranger reddit) insider, the only Rangers that will come to the US market will be the four-door Super Cab and Double Cab versions. It'll be structurally identical to the current European-market Ranger, albeit with updated front and rear exterior styling, altered interiors, and different drivetrain options. This information coincides with what we learned from Hinrichs at the auto show.
The Redditor also goes on to claim that the US-market Bronco will be nearly identical to the Ford Everest, a body-on-frame Australian-market 4x4 built on the Ranger platform.
Yes, that means the 2020 Bronco will only be available as a four-door SUV. Or so the Redditor claims.
A True 4x4
From the very core, starting with its body-on-frame setup, the next Bronco will be a true off-road warrior. How good it will be compared the Wrangler will be a question we'll see pop up a lot. For now, capabilities of the Ford Ranger and Ford Everest sold overseas act as a great teaser on whats to come.
As Hinrichs states, the upcoming vehicle is “a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for the thrill-seekers who want freedom and off-road functionality, with the space and versatility of an SUV. It’s capable of conquering everything from your daily commute to gravel roads and boulders.”As he was talking, behind him were images of rocky off-road terrain indicating that the new Ford Bronco 2020 will be a fascinating off-road vehicle.
Whether retro design should happen is up for major debate but if there's one way to keep the next Bronco unique (as Ford's CTO suggests), design will be one key area to cover. At the same time, Fords latest next-generation models have done away with retro. At this point no one knows for sure.
The new Bronco likely won’t have many retro styling touches. Ford design director Moray Callum doesn’t do retro. Witness the new Ford GT, which doesn’t ape the original or the 2005 remake. Also, Ford has done retro before with mixed results. The 2002-05 Thunderbird, a homage to the 1955-57 models, sold poorly. But the 2005-14 Mustang, which paid tribute to the 1969-70 models, sold well.
The other big decision is whether it will be a two- or a four-door. Ford has never marketed a four-door Bronco. But two-door vehicles, especially off-roaders, don’t sell well. The Wrangler’s sales mix is roughly two thirds four-door, and more doors means Ford can charge a higher price. I’m going out on a limb and predicting the new Bronco will be a four-door only, at least at launch.
The original Bronco began in 1966 as a stripped-down, soft-top off-roader that sacrificed comfort and performance for massive off-road capability. It also came in several body styles, so Ford could add a wagon later. The Bronco’s run ended in 1996 when it was a bloated two-door version based on the F-150. Think of the O.J. Simpson Bronco.