look, we know ford has been teasing this bronco release for longer than it took eddie bauer to haul his conestoga wagon across the continental divide in 1849—okay, fine, we don't know who eddie bauer is—but that didn't stop us from examining the new bronco ad frame by frame like an off-road zapruder film. is that . . . a live axle? rewind, rewind! after poring over the footage at quarter-speed and 1080p resolution, some questions were answered. and others were raised.
first, a question
what's going on at the top of the front fenders? in one shot, it looks like there's a crease that carries from the front of the fender all the way back to the base of the windshield. in another shot, though, we see a backlit three-quarter angle, and it looks like those fins are only at the front corners, with a hole in the middle. we're guessing the later shot is the one that counts, and the earlier one is some clumsy cgi. and, in fact, a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad tells us that these shots are indeed computer enhanced.
so, then, what are those things? they could be mounts for accessories (like a high-lift jack) or for those cables that run from the fenders to the roofline to help slough branches away from the windshield, camel trophy style. they look cool, whatever they are. shark fins always look cool.
houston, we have a solid axle
in another backlit shot, we see the unmistakable silhouette of a good old-fashioned pumpkin flanked by shock mounts. you can't tell whether you're looking at the front or the back, but it seems unlikely that ford would go with two solid axles, since that's kind of the wrangler's thing. and both the ranger and the f-150 use an ifs front/solid rear setup, so that's ford's area of expertise. what we do know is that it won't be four-wheel independent suspension.
it's a cameo from the baby
no, not your favorite rapper, dababy. we're talking bronco sport, otherwise known as the bronco ii of the new bronco lineup. this li'l guy's a crossover and is definitely more rounded and aerodynamic than its big sibling. to toughen it up, ford resorted to that longtime crossover hair shirt, the roof rack. hey, that bronco sport is carrying outdoor lifestyle gear to an outdoor adventure, outdoors! the rack is thule, in case you're wondering. we know that because the disclaimer says that aftermarket equipment is shown, and thule is a registered trademark, not that you can see it.
badge! hinge! taillight! flares!
there's a lot to unpack in this one shot. we see the bronco badge, reared up and kicking toward the passenger-side taillight. which is an oval that doesn't quite meet up on its right side, pinching in to form a shape that almost (but doesn't quite) look like a "b." below that is an exposed side-mounted hinge, indicating that the tailgate and spare tire swing out toward the passenger side, as on a wrangler. it's possible that the spare tire swings out and the tailgate swings down (as on the last bronco), but that setup can cause interference and requires you to unlatch the spare-tire carrier every time you use the tailgate. hence, this is likely one piece.
looking further up the body side, we see black fender flares and tires that are sticking out way more than would be legal. plenty of owners will probably arrive at this look via bigger tires and a different wheel offset, but the ford dealer isn't going to sell it to you this way. chalk it up to creative license.
it also looks like we see an exhaust pipe tucked up tight under that rear bumper, where it would be minimally vulnerable to getting pinched or smashed off-road.
six-lugs, beadlocks (kind of), colors
in a profile shot of the front end, we get a look at the bronco's six-lug hubs and six-spoke black wheels, which ape beadlock style but surely aren't (from the factory, anyway—raptor owners like to convert their "fake" beadlocks to the real thing).
behind the tire, there are what look like rock rails below the door. that could be a trim piece or an actual hardened bit of armor. ahead of the tire is . . . not much! nice approach angle, bronco. with that stubby front bumper, this thing looks ready to climb walls.
this shot also cycles through colors: dark red, gray (or charcoal, perhaps), yellow, silver, blue. whatever else we've learned from this ad, we still don't know if the bronco will be available in white.
doors off, mirrors on
unless the bronco has a horrible goiter at the base of the windshield, this final shot confirms that the mirrors are mounted to the a-pillars, not the doors, thus solving a longtime jeep problem—which is that when you take off the doors, you take off the mirrors, too. no such problem if they're mounted to the pillars.
the four-door still has its top on. how will that look when it's off? guess we'll find out next week.