Bringing Back The Ford Bronco Could Be Revenge Against Crossovers

Editorial

Crossovers don't plow through rivers. They go to malls.

A large number of people will go shopping for an SUV today and have no idea that what they’re really getting is actually a crossover. For example, if you want a new Ford Explorer or Nissan Pathfinder, two names most believe to be synonymous with SUVs, then you’ll wind up disappointed. Both are now car-based, ditching their body-on-frame construction for something more suburban friendly. In fact, other popular "SUVs" like the Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe are all car-based.

They’re just designed to look like real SUVs. With exceptions like the Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner, the mid-size/large, off-road capable SUV is dead. All that’s left, essentially, are full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and its GMC and Cadillac cousins, the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX, and Infiniti QX80. It sounds like a lot but not everyone wants or can afford big SUVs, yet still want something that’s not a Jeep Wrangler. It’s not a crime to enjoy some good old off-roading. Fortunately, there is hope. In light of the massive success of the mid-size Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, Ford came to the realization that ditching the Ranger pickup was a mistake.

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Relying on the F-150 as its entry-level truck wasn’t such a smart move and now Ford is working to correct that. Overseas, the Ranger was actually completely redesigned a few years ago (and was just refreshed), and from what we’ve heard, that platform will be updated again and modified for a new US-spec Ranger. That’ll go on sale in 2019 but it’s what's due to arrive the following year that has us even more excited: a reborn Bronco based on that new Ranger. Yes, this is really happening and we already know, more or less, what it could look like: the Ranger-based Everest. Like the Ranger, the Everest is offered in various overseas markets as a mid-size and affordable off-road capable SUV.

Packaged and priced appropriately for the US, Ford could easily have a huge hit on its hands much in the same way GM has been experiencing with the Colorado and Canyon. And if Ford achieves success here, then wouldn’t it make sense for GM, Toyota, and may be even Nissan to jump back into the mid-size SUV game, too? I don’t know about any of you, but I really miss the Nissan Xterra and the old school Chevy Blazer. My guess is that as long as gas prices remain cheap, which industry analysts are currently predicting will be the case, then the Bronco could revive a once very profitable segment. Could this possibly even weaken crossover sales?

Not likely. People today like to sit high up when driving. But the return of the mid-size and affordable SUV, hopefully starting with the Bronco, will certainly be welcomed by those who see crossovers as what they really are: SUV pretenders.

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