Almost everyone over the age of 35 will remember where they were on June 17, 1994. For those of you that aren’t that old, that was the day that OJ Simpson, a once beloved football, TV, and movie star went from famous to infamous almost overnight. His epic low speed chase up the Los Angeles freeway changed how the world looked at the Hall of Fame halfback forever, and for all his yards from scrimmage on the field, his most famous run, was from the police, in a white Ford Bronco. That Bronco became immortalized in the hearts and minds of a nation, and then in 1996 Ford discontinued its most famous truck, and it hasn’t been heard from since. Fast forward almost two and a half decades later, and with the surge in SUV sales in the last decade, it only seems fitting that Ford has chosen to bring back the iconic nameplate.
While details aren’t fully known yet, we do know that the Bronco will reappear by 2020, and it will be based on the also-back-in-town Ford Ranger that will be debuting in 2019 and feature a heavy duty fully-boxed frame. Also shared will be the same potent DOHC turbocharged and intercooler 2.3-liter inline-four cylinder EcoBoost engine that embarrasses a lot of higher cylinder engines by pumping out a stellar 270-horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, and that number could actually end up being higher, which would be fine with us. Backing that engine would most likely be the same new 10-speed auto that will also power the Ranger. But, in a fun twist of events, there are substantial rumors that are hinting at the idea that there might also be a 7-speed manual transmission in the works as an option. This may sound ludicrous at first, but keep in mind Ford has its sights trained on the Jeep Wrangler with the Bronco, and any real Jeep owner will tell you that a manual transmission is a must.
On the exterior, the 2020 version of the Bronco will look a lot like the first generation Bronco from the 1960’s, with its circular headlamps being the tell-tale sign of its nod to its great great grandfather. A large grill with either “Ford” or “Bronco” will stand front and center while squared off bumpers and fenders will complete the nostalgic tough-guy looks.. The Bronco will be a four-door for sure, but a two door is possible, especially considering its Wrangler target. Four-wheel drive is a definite and there will be about 8.4-8.9-inches of ground clearance. Undoubtedly the Bronco will also get Ford’s Terrain Management system that adjusts suspension, shift points (for automatic transmissions), traction control settings as well as throttle control for grass, snow, gravel, mud and ruts and even sand (Baja anyone?). An optional tow package will be available as well to the tune of 7500 pounds or a cargo capacity of almost 2000 pounds instead.
As with all new cars these days, even one that harks back to the ’60’s will be littered with plenty of safety nannies. Things like lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring (with trailer coverage), automated emergency braking, and a rear view camera. The interior is still something of a mystery, but we expect a simple and rugged (read: basic) interior that is more Spartan than sumptuous. that being said however, we can be reasonably sure of at least a touchscreen infotainment system that will run Ford’s Sync 3 and be compatible with both Android and iPhones.
Pricing for the Bronco should start right around the $25,000 mark and head north of $33,000 depending on options, which would put it directly in the path of most Wrangler shoppers, and well, that’s the point. Now, just as an open letter to Ford about this: maybe it’s best to not offer the Bronco in white. Even though its been nearly a quarter century since OJ made the run of his life, it still feels a little too soon.