There is absolutely no doubt that Jeep is the leader in the world of off roading. Ford made that readily apparent in their launch on Monday of the new Bronco family of rigs. Every aspect of their launch video was focused on why their heritage and their innovations are better than Jeep’s.
And, to be fair, many of their out of the box offerings are better then what you get with a Jeep…
- 35″ Available Tires? Absolutely
- Hydraulic Disconnects? Yes!
- Spotter View cameras? Of course.
- Downloadable Trail Maps? Why not?
- 10 Speed Auto Trans? Figures.
- Body Mounted Mirrors? It’s the little things.
But when you put it all together what does it actually mean for the coming Jeep vs. Bronco battle?
First thought… customer confusion.
I’ve been down this path before ModernJeepers… I am already critical of Jeep for the number of models it has expanded for the Jeep consumer. Currently five different engine models that range from the standard 3.6 Pentastar to the new Diesel… and now a confirmed V8 option coming to up the ante on Ford. Sometimes too many choices lead to no choices by the confused consumer.
Now the off road consumer has two totally different brands to choose from… and make no mistake ModernJeepers, the Bronco is going to be a winner for Ford. They checked off all the boxes and, in my humble opinion, they got it right.
Minus one glaring difference… the front axle.
If you all remember, in the early days of the JL concept Jeep lovers were adamant to the late CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne that the next generation Wrangler must have a solid axle. And, of course, Jeep complied.
Well, Ford had a blank slate to work with and they chose IFS. Their experience with the Ford Raptor proves that they know how to build a “go-fast” desert runner and they adapted that knowledge to the new Bronco.
However, insiders who had a chance to test the new Bronco over the last several months told us that while the Bronco is a great rig for Go-Fast, it is lacking in the rock-crawling department… why? Most likely because of the IFS.
And that is the Achilles heel that those of us who love our Jeeps and their capability will quickly attack. Unless aftermarket manufacturers like those that support this site focus on how to make the Bronco a better Rock-Crawler, Jeep will not lose that battle.
But let’s be honest with ourselves… rock crawlers are a small percentage of the over Jeep sales… so those looking for a capable off road rig to take the family out for an adventure may just find themselves dropping coin for the new Ford Bronco.
New Technology. New Look. New Adventure.