Ford is aiming the sale of the new Bronco to specific enthusiasts within and without the off-road world. There are many ways it can appeal to enthusiasts depending on which ones it targets. One of those targets is those that see and feel nostalgia for the Bronco. For that group, there is only one type of engine that must go into a new Bronco, and that’s a V8. But, will the new Bronco get a V8?
When one thinks about a first-gen Bronco, he or she almost takes for granted a V8 is sitting under that flat hood. There’s just no question about it. It’s like asking if the Bronco has a steering wheel. Or brakes. Of course. But maybe we shouldn’t be too optimistic. Or, as Ford might be thinking; maybe we should get our heads into the 21st century.
Ford will make new Broncos how it wants, not how you want it
Everyone wanted to see a mid-engine Corvette. But from those initial rumors in the 1970s, it took Chevy about 50 more years to heed the bell. Sometimes for whatever reasons (mostly money) car companies do what they do. They will make a vehicle for how it wants to make it, not necessarily how the customer wants it.
It’s like the “New Coke” debacle when the Coca-Cola mothership decided everyone will like the New Coke better than the original. We saw how that went, right? So it happens. And, it may be happening with the new Bronco, too.
From what we know and what the rumor mill has been buzzing about, it seems that the new Bronco will have a 2.3-liter DOHC engine. Some parts suppliers are mindlessly putting out common parts info for things like spark plugs and such. A Canadian tire site has listed this engine for the 2021 Bronco for its spark plug availability. Other sites have confirmed the leak. Actually, it’s more like a slip than a leak.
The new Bronco engine will probably be like what’s in a Ranger
This is probably the same engine that is used in Ford Rangers, Explorer, and EcoBoost Mustang. If so, that means we’re talking about 270 hp to a bit over 300 hp. That’s more than anything Ford offered in the original Bronco.
And with the ability to ramp up torque as quickly as this engine can, it will feel like a V8. But what about a real V8?
Remember that the original Bronco had an inline six-and a lot of early Broncos had them. Then after a couple of years the small block Ford was an option. That may be a similar path for the new Bronco. Initially, it keeps the assembly simple, and it gives Ford a terrific marketing opportunity. It knows everyone wants a V8 in their new Bronco. But it also knows that there are too many that just want a new Bronco. Even if it has a stomach pump for power.
Ford needs to hold back on the V8 to help market it in later years
So this gives Ford the opportunity to hype to the hilt the availability of a V8 in a couple of years. Interest will have calmed down by then. Ford will need something besides murdered-out editions and electric gas caps to keep the hype coming. Plus, it will surely find many Bronco owners trading in their 2.3-liter Bronco for a V8. That’s two conquests for every one customer.
The 2020 Ford Ranger has a single-engine and it’s, you guessed it, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder. Ford is making just about every Ranger it can crank out. So, if the Ranger is not seeing a dip from a lack of ponies, you probably won’t see Ford too anxious to change what’s not broken. At least not when it comes to the Bronco.
You can buy first-gen Broncos brand new right now
Don’t forget that if you really want a new Bronco that looks like the first-gen, there are companies making new versions of the original Bronco. For those, you can get anything from a small block Ford to an LS and even a Ford Coyote engine. The shock towers get pitched and the front suspension becomes unrecognizable, but you can get one nonetheless.
We hope that makes the question clearer than mud, which is about as close as we can get until later this year.