• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

New Ford Bronco models, trims will keep coming through the years

Bynewsmagzines

May 1, 2023
The 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor costs more, too

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The Ford Bronco range has grown with the addition of new trim levels including the Everglades, Heritage Edition and Raptor models. Each variant puts a unique spin on the retro-styled off-roader, and the Blue Oval announced that it plans to continue expanding the line-up.

“Derivatives are an opportunity, when you have a winning product like Bronco, to actually extend into new and different spaces [and go] after different customers,” said Jim Baumbick, Ford’s vice president of product development operations and quality, during the 2023 Bank of America Global Automotive Summit. Enthusiast website Muscle Cars & Trucks reported his statement. He cited the same models we mentioned above as examples and added that they’re “just the beginning” of a planned line-up expansion in which Ford is “never going to let the foot off the throttle pedal.”

Baumbick, unsurprisingly, didn’t go into detail about what’s next for the off-roader. But we can make some educated guesses as to what is and isn’t likely for the future. One thing that we can comfortably say is off the table is a V8.  This is despite the Bronco’s arch rival, the Jeep Wrangler, offering one and aftermarket outfits such as Hennessey Performance planning V8-swapped Broncos. Ford has already confirmed that emissions regulations are keeping an eight-cylinder out of the Bronco’s engine bay; even the range-topping Raptor is exclusively offered with a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6.

V8 fans are seemingly out of luck, but folks who want a hybrid may get their wish granted. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed a gasoline-electric variant of the Bronco in May 2019, over a year before the off-roader made its debut. We haven’t seen it yet, but the rumors outlining a hybrid Bronco haven’t gone away. Instructions pertaining to an electrified drivetrain appeared in the 2021 model’s owner manual (some sources claim that was a copy-paste error), and anonymous sources detailed a 450-horsepower system that consists of a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 and a 47-horsepower electric motor. And critically, a hybrid would help take on another Wrangler variant, the 4xe plug-in hybrid.

Beyond additional drivetrains, what’s next? Your guess is as good as ours, and the answer ultimately depends on the imagination of Ford’s design and engineering teams. Casting our net into the rumor-sphere brings back unverified reports of a Shelby-branded model and a variant called Oates (internally, at least — that may not be the official name) that might borrow hardware from the Bronco Desert Runner. 

While we’ve got the rumor mill spinning, here’s an idea: the Heritage Edition is a throwback to the 1960s, which represents a sliver of Bronco production. Sales started for the 1966 model year, but the model remained part of the Ford range through 1996. How about something like the Heritage Edition that draws inspiration from later decades? Ford notably offered a package called Free Wheeling from 1977 to 1981 that added a blacked-out grille, exterior decals, and new-look wheels, among other features. The second-generation Bronco released for 1978 lost the round lights, but there’s enough retro in the modern truck’s design that a Free Wheeling package could work — if you ask us.

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