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The New Ford Bronco Will Be A Real Body-On-Frame SUV

The fantastical imaginary “new Bronco” render everybody is optimistically excited about. (Image via
The fantastical imaginary “new Bronco” render everybody is optimistically excited about. (Image via
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Lots of enthusiasts are worried that the newly announced 2020 Ford Bronco, will be a soft crossover with a Bronco badge and no real off-roading abilities, not a legit Jeep Wrangler competitor. But Ford just confirmed that this thing will have a good old fashioned ladder frame just like the off-road gods intended. Here’s why that matters.


After the reveal today, I ran down to the mob of journalist pestering Bill Ford about the company’s future plans, and heard executive chairman say this thing is going to be a tough truck with a true body-on-frame layout.


This is a big deal for off-road enthusiasts. In extreme rock-crawling situations, unibody vehicles tend to crack over time, since the stresses are distributed throughout a very stiff body. With a dedicated frame to comply with the terrain and take up the stresses, the Bronco might just be able to hold its own against the king of off-road, the Wrangler.

Not to mention, the frame also allows for easier modifications like body lifts and long-arm suspension setups— this is important, because aftermarket support and mod-ability will play a huge part if Ford wants to really compete with the big guns at Jeep.

Of course, where the Ford might fall short of the Jeep in off-road capability and aftermarket support will be in the front suspension. Will Ford have the balls to throw the more rugged, better-articulating solid axle up front, or will they go with the more comfortable independent front suspension setup found in pretty much every non-heavy duty truck (including the Ford Everest, on which many think the new Bronco will be based)?

I’d venture to guess they’ll throw an independent front suspension up there. But I kind of hope they surprise me.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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Manual transfer case or GTFO