It all started here, at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show…
Ever since the idea of a resurrected 2020 Ford Bronco became the stuff of headlines last year, it’s been an endless source of conversation. From speculation as to the final form it would take, to the simple nostalgia one would experiences when anticipating an iconic return, the Bronco represents a welcome return to form for Ford’s SUV lineup.
What Ford does best, it does better than almost anyone…and in that regard, we’re talking about trucks. With all due respect, few people were surprised at the automaker’s recent announcement that they’d be adopting a clean slate for their entire lineup of cars (barring the Mustang) in the coming years. It just makes good sense considering that the lineup has evolved into a confused mishmash of somewhat lackluster offerings. Unfortunately, the lineup of crossovers and SUVs isn’t far off in terms of its overall lack of inspiration. That said, the line-topping Explorer and Expedition still feel somewhat akin to the truck-inspired SUV’s of old. This means the return of the midsize Bronco could be tipping the proverbial scale in terms of the truck-like design philosophy that crossovers have pulled us away from. Then again, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
At the end of the end of the day, the Bronco was a pioneer of commercial 4x4s until its retirement in the mid-nineties. A rest isn’t always a bad thing since the growing popularity of off-road vehicles and hi-powered trucks had introduced a new level of enthusiasm for taking things off the beaten path. This set the perfect tone for such a reintroduction of the Bronco, and the (platform-sharing) Ranger which precedes it. The idea of reinvigorating Ford’s lineup by waking up familiar nameplates, enhancing them with an updated design philosophy, advanced technologies and reminding everyone of their off-road potential feels like an instant recipe for success.
As mentioned above, the Bronco will be built upon the same platform as the 2019 Ranger (as opposed to the F-150 platform, upon which the last-gen Bronco was built). Ford asserts that the Bronco will be neither (i) a modified Explorer or (ii) a domestic equivalent of the Everest. Expected to sport a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic, the 2020 Ford Bronco is likely to have plenty of power. And the hopeful promise of both hybrid and off-road variants, along with the possibility of a Raptor-ized version to follow means that there will be a diverse selection of flavors served up to satisfy a variety of palates.
But just as the Ranger reasserts Ford’s presence in the midsize truck segment, the Bronco reinvigorates the SUV lineup positioned (potentially) to face off against the likes of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
At the end of the day, it’s just an exciting time for automotive enthusiasts. The intensity of competition is forcing automakers to identify their weaknesses and recognize their strengths. Ford’s willingness to start from square one in one segment, while refining their offerings across two others shows a lack of willingness to rest on one’s laurels. If the returning 2020 Ford Bronco is an example of the kind of smart decisions we can expect in the years to come, it’s easy to see why people are so excited.