Our biggest fear about the 2020 Ford Bronco was simple: Ford would deliver the name, but not the soul, of the Bronco, and the whole thing would be a horrible branding exercise. Consider us tentatively excited, therefore, to discover that one of the most appealing features for a car enthusiast could well be appearing on the upcoming Bronco reboot.
If you’ve not been keeping up to speed with the latest in Ford’s SUV, crossover, and truck endeavors, the Bronco is a key part of that process. The automaker plans to shed most of the regular cars from its North American line-up, replacing them with the more popular “activity vehicles” that people are actually buying. That’ll involve reworking existing models, but also adding new nameplates to the mix.
That’s where the 2020 Bronco comes in. Ford has been said to be planning on reviving the name for the past few years, though we aren’t expecting to see it for at least another two years. Last discontinued in 1996, the two-door truck will be reborn as “a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city” according to Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas, speaking back in January 2017.
Bronco enthusiasts wanted to believe, but at the same time were wary of getting their collective hopes up only to have them dashed at the reality of the car. For a start, there’s Ford’s push for electrification. That will see every model having at least one electrified option.
In the case of the Bronco, that’ll be a gas-electric hybrid. However, it looks like that won’t be your only option. According to Jalopnik‘s sources, Ford has been busy sourcing a seven-speed manual transmission for a gas version of the truck.
It’s said to be the handiwork of Getrag, which already builds the Mustang’s six-speed manual. Apparently already known as the MT-88, it’s expected to be paired with Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Getrag documentation about a work-in-progress manual gearbox – which would be available in both six- and seven-gear configurations, and work with engines mustering up to 405 lb-ft of torque – has identified the most likely candidate.
Nobody involved would confirm what was being developed, and why, and of course with several years still to go before we’re expecting to see the actual Bronco – as opposed to fan renders and concepts, like the one shown here – there’s plenty of time for Ford to change direction altogether. Still, we wouldn’t argue with a classic nameplate matched with some classic driving dynamics.