At the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford dropped the news we've all been anticipating for seemingly forever: The Bronco returns in 2020. Speaking with R&T at the show, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs vowed that the new Bronco will be a bona-fide off-roader, hinting that the upcoming SUV could be the first true competitor to the wildly successful Jeep Wrangler in many years.
And now, we've got further evidence supporting that claim: It sounds like the 2020 Bronco will offer solid axles front and rear.
As , axle manufacturer Dana revealed in an investor presentation this month that it's been chosen as the driveline supplier for both the 2019 Ford Ranger and the 2020 Bronco. In the presentation, Dana indicated that both vehicles will have "front and rear axles featuring our latest AdvanTEK gear technology," Vellequette writes.
Dana. Hmmm. Where have I seen those axles before? Ah yes:
Yes, it seems the company that supplies will be providing running gear for the Ranger and Bronco. And reading between the lines a little bit, that could be seen as a hint that the Ford twins could offer solid front axles.
That's important because solid front axles are the tried-and-true way to get maximum off-road capability out of a 4x4. Every Jeep Wrangler—indeed, pretty much every Jeep, period, up until the introduction of the Liberty in 2002—has had a solid front axle for this exact reason.
The original Bronco, built from 1966 to 1977 and shown above, offered a solid front axle, as did the second-gen full-size of 1978 and 1979. In 1980, Ford switched to the Twin Traction Beam independent front axle design that stuck around until the model was discontinued in 1996.
We can't say for certain that this is 100-percent proof that the new Ranger and Bronco will offer a solid front axle—Dana supplies equipment for both beam axle and independent suspension designs, and the confirmation that Dana AdvanTEK equipment will appear under the new Ford 4x4s doesn't necessarily mean it's solid axles all the way.[contentlinks align='left' textonly='false' numbered='false' headline='Related%20Story' customtitles='Everything%20We%20Think%20We%20Know%20About%20the%202020%20Bronco' customimages='' content='article.31079']
As back in early January, a Dana spokesperson confirmed that the company would supply axles and driveshafts for the Ranger and Bronco, but would not go so far as to confirm whether either model would offer a solid front axle. The Bronco and Ranger driveline equipment would, however, be built in the same Toledo, Ohio plant where Dana will begin building axles for the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler starting in November, Linkhorn reports.
The availability of a solid front axle would be decidedly good news for Bronco fans hoping for a true hardcore off-roader to take the fight to the Jeep Wrangler. With the upcoming Wrangler redesign promising plenty of new advances built on a traditional 4x4 platform with solid axles front and rear, it sure would be great to see a solid-axle competitor from the Blue Oval team. Ford has already confirmed that the Bronco will be a body-on-frame design, based on the Ranger platform; this in itself points to the Bronco being more hardcore than the typical unibody crossover.
R&T has reached out to Dana to confirm this juicy rumor; we will update this post with any news we hear.