We’d like to call it a friendly rivalry of sorts, and with Bronco being the first major direct competitor to the Wrangler, there’s sure to be some snark and tit-for-tat play on social media.
Take this tweet over the weekend from Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager. Pay particular attention to the year of the Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1. That’s a year before the iconic Willys, from which the modern-day Jeep was born, entered the scene in 1941.
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) October 10, 2020
And if you look at our spec-to-spec comparison between Bronco and Wrangler, the wild pony pretty much toes the line on all the off-road clearances and capabilities, while upping the water fording game and being a bit bigger.
Ford even managed to take the door-removal game up a notch with attaching the side mirrors to the A-pillar and creating a storage space for the doors so you don’t have to leave them chained to a tree on the side of path or in your garage.
So, why would Ford ignore the iconic folding windshield for Bronco?
It didn’t. According to Ford Authority, this was almost a thing.
But in an interview with Paul Wraith, the Bronco chief designer, the publication learned it was about making tradeoffs. Ford wanted an open-air experience, but it also wanted the vehicle to be safe.
“We looked at that. In the original vehicle, you could do that,” Wraith told Ford Authority. “But it brings with it some problems. It does provide the user with a fairly rare event, since you start getting into things like flat windshields, which is a compromised construction around pillars.”
So, you get airbags in the roof construction surrounding the Bronco and a structure that can presumably withstand a rollover.
Is the non-folding Bronco windshield going to be a dealbreaker for off-road enthusiasts? Probably not, but it is certainly the one thing that will set the Jeep Wrangler apart from Bronco as the rivalry moves full steam ahead when the new off-roader hits the streets in early 2021.
I think it’s a good trade-off especially considering you get that full open roof on the Bronco. I never see anyone using the fold down windshield on the jeep on road or off road. It doesn’t help that Jeep developed a reputation on forums that if you fold the windshield down, it will never seal right again. I would be too worried about breaking the windshield.