The Ford Bronco is one of the most popular and cutting-edge SUVs on the market today. However, despite this car’s initial success from the 60s through the 80s, the Bronco was discontinued by the mid-90s and didn’t re-release until 2021.
So, how did this once dominant vehicle drop from the face of the Earth and regain its popularity as a dependable and capable off-roader in just two model release years? Read on to learn the brief history of the evolution of the Ford Bronco.
Ford Motor Company VP Don Frey created and introduced the first-ever Ford Bronco designs in 1965. It was the world’s first Sports Utility Vehicle to officially carry the “SUV” classification and was released as a larger complement to Ford’s other successful automobile, the Mustang!
Unlike similar 4x4s from the era (generally called jeeps), the Bronco prioritized comfort and the rider’s overall experience. The original two-door Bronco featured “go-over-all-terrain” (GOAT) capabilities while also providing a less noisy and bumpy ride.
Ultimately, Ford marketed their newest SUV as a multi-functional investment—it’s applicable for large families, adventurous individuals, military and defense personnel, farmers in snowy regions, and so much more! As a result, the Bronco quickly became one of the most sought-after 4x4s in the automotive market.
The Bronco’s Decline
Ford released five generations of Broncos from 1966 to 1999, accumulating a loyal base of fans and consumers along the way. However, consumer interests changed dramatically toward the end of the millennium, and fewer drivers wanted large two-door SUVs.
While many people attribute the Bronco’s decline to OJ Simpson’s infamous joyride, the truth is this style of vehicle was not selling well at the time. As such, Ford removed the Bronco from its fleet in 1996 and replaced it with a four-door SUV called the Expedition.
For a long time, there wasn’t much demand for a Bronco return, aside from hardcore off-roading enthusiasts who liked rebuilding old Broncos in their garages. During this stretch, competitor Jeep became the number one brand for off-roading SUVs with their mid-2000s Wrangler releases.
Alive & Stick Kickin’
Finally, after decades of dormancy, the Bronco was revived when the sixth-generation model was released at the end of 2020. Unlike generations before, modern Broncos feature sleek, futuristic exterior trims and advanced interior technologies.
Primarily, the Bronco maintains its title as the most comfortable off-roading SUV, especially compared to the more rugged Jeep Wrangler. With an impressive GOAT-assisted driving configuration and ultra-responsive suspension systems, the Bronco is a more practical daily driver for urban dwellers and small families. And, of course, this SUV is more than a comfortable ride—the powerful drivetrain and engine configuration make the new Bronco a truly capable off-roading beast.
The Ford Bronco has endured quite an evolution throughout recent history. In just 30 years, the Bronco went from a popular American SUV to entirely non-existent—and then relevant again nearly 20 years later! Thankfully, the newest generation of Broncos is here to stay, and it’s worth considering purchasing this dependable SUV for yourself, especially if you enjoy off-road adventures. Enhance your Ford experience by investing in a quality Bronco top removal tool from our team at TopLift Pros!