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The Bronco name was recently revived, and so far the reimagined SUV has been well received. Unlike the Ford Maverick, which went from a two-door coupe to a pickup truck, Ford stuck with the two-door SUV look of the original Bronco. Then they added a four-door SUV option for anyone who wanted it. But how does the new 2022 Ford Bronco compare to the original 1966 Ford Bronco?

Original 1966 Ford Bronco
The Original 1966 Ford Bronco | Ford

The 1966 Ford Bronco revolutionized the compact SUV segment

And I do mean “compact,” as the original Ford Bronco released in 1966 measured only 151.5 inches long. For reference, a Mitsubishi Mirage is 149.4 inches long, and those things are ridiculously tiny. But in the 60s, compact SUVs weren’t really available. The International Harvester Scout was the only option. But a vehicle built by a farming company didn’t impress the masses.

So when Ford practically ripped off the look of the Scout and called it the 1966 Ford Bronco, people swarmed to it. But there were a few good reasons as to why. For starters, Ford asked off-road enthusiasts what they wanted in an offroad SUV, and one key complaint was comfort. The Ford Bronco was built to be an incredible off-roader that wouldn’t break your back after a long day on the trails.

Furthermore, the Bronco was marketed as a sport offroader. It competed in Baja 1000 before it was called the Baja 1000, and won on numerous occasions. In other words, the 1966 Ford Bronco was a combination of an off-road utility vehicle and Ford’s all-new pony car, the Ford Mustang.

Sporty, comfortable, and capable accurately described the 1966 Ford Bronco upon its debut. But now, as the new Ford Bronco takes center stage, will it continue that legacy?

The 2022 Ford Bronco is more powerful than it’s predecessor

2022 Ford Bronco
The 2022 Ford Bronco | Ford

There’s no doubt that the 2022 Ford Bronco is plenty capable and remarkably powerful. Pairing either a The 2022 Ford Bronco is plenty capable and remarkably powerful. The options include a 2.3-liter, 275 horsepower engine or a 2.7-liter, 315 horsepower engine with Ford’s G.O.A.T (Go Over Any Terrain) mode means the little SUV has pep in its step on every surface.

And while a 10-speed automatic is available for both engines, you can have the 2.3-liter engine with a seven-speed manual that features a “granny gear” for low-speed crawling. In other words, it has all the same capabilities as the original Ford Bronco, if not more.

Though, in the comfort criteria, the 2022 Ford Bronco falls apart… literally. The interior and build quality is notoriously bad amongst the new Ford Broncos. Trim pieces feel cheap and a recall with the removable hardtop are the SUV’s biggest issues. The headliner is reported to fall off, and the road noise is sub-par. Not exactly a comfortable option for highway trips.

So the new Ford Bronco has some growing pains, but many new cars do. What we’re looking at is how far the 2022 Ford Bronco has come in comparison to its 56-year-old predecessor. Spoiler alert: the new Bronco is better in almost every way.

2022 Ford Bronco vs. 1966 Ford Bronco: how far the off-road SUV has come

1966 Ford Bronco (Top) and 2022 Ford Bronco (Bottom)
The 1966 Ford Bronco (Top) and The 2022 Ford Bronco (Bottom) | Ford
Vehicle Model2022 Ford Bronco1966 Ford Bronco
Starting Price$29,995$2,194 ($18,730 today)
Engine2.3L four-cylinder or 2.7L V62.7L V8
Horsepower275 horsepower/300 horsepower105 horsepower
Torque315 lb-ft/400 lb-ft146 lb-ft
Transmissionseven-speed manual gearbox with granny gear
or 10-speed automatic
9-speed column-shift manual
Gear Ratio2.72:1 or 3.06:14.11:1 or 4.57:1
Front SuspensionControl-armSolid axle
Rear SuspensionTrailing arm with a live axle and Panhard rodSolid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs
Length/Width174.8 inches/75.9 inches152.1 inches/68.8 inches
Weight3,467 – 3,707 lbs3,100 lbs
0-60 Time7 seconds or 6.6 seconds21.2 seconds
Fuel Economy21 mpg combines or 19 mpg combined12 mpg combined

It’s unnecessary and ridiculous, but in case you wanted to compare the two, here you go. In almost every conceivable way, the 2022 Ford Bronco outshines its predecessor. The suspension technology and four-wheel-drive systems are more advanced, the power is far greater, and the miles per gallon are stellar (by comparison. 21 mpg isn’t great).

Though, in a few aspects, the 1966 Ford Bronco would be the better buy. For starters, the gearing ratios of the original Ford Bronco are much higher according to Motortrend. That means, on paper, the original Bronco is a better offroader and has a greater towing capacity. However, it’d be hard to test that without having both models on hand.

A definitive advantage to the original Ford Bronco, however, is the price. After inflation, a 1966 Ford Bronco is valued at $10,000 less than the original. Part of the reason the new 2022 Ford Bronco’s price looks so much higher is due to rising new car prices. Though, in fairness, there is more expensive tech packed in the new Bronco than the original.

One accolade I can say about both the new and the old Ford Bronco is that their style is iconic. Ford knocked it out of the park with the original and remained true to the design today. Which you buy solely depends on whether you want a classic car or not, but both are brutally good off-road machines.


Why Was the Ford Bronco Discontinued?