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Jeep Wrangler Looks To Copy Ford Bronco With New Half-Door Option

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Despite singing a very different tune, Jeep’s actions in recent months are a clear indication that it’s rather worried about the forthcoming 2021 Ford Bronco. First, the automaker revealed the Jeep Wrangler 392 Concept on the same day the Bronco was unveiled. Then, it released a doors-off mirror kit that relocates the side mirrors to the body of the vehicle, just like the Bronco. Then, it sent out a memo to dealers trying to reassure them that the Jeep Wrangler can compete with the Ford Bronco, and that they had nothing to worry about.

Now, it appears the Jeep is moving forward with yet another feature intended to counter the Ford Bronco – half doors. The 2021 Bronco comes equipped with pillarless doors from the factory, which aid the open-air experience when the top is removed.

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However, the JL Wrangler comes equipped with doors that have pillars. Fans have been asking for half-doors for some time now, and yet, the automaker has remained hesitant to make them, despite offering them on the previous-gen JK Wrangler.

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In recent years, Jeep has teased a few different half-door designs, including when the JL Wrangler was revealed back at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show. It also said at that time that half-doors would be available as an option beginning in the 2019 model year.

Then, it revealed the Jeepster Concept, which was wearing half doors, at the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari. And most recently, the 392 Concept was also sporting a set of half doors. And yet, Jeep has yet to offer them as an option for Wrangler buyers.

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Now, we’ve spied a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited out testing while wearing yet another set of concept half-doors. It’s entirely possible that the timing is a coincidence since Jeep has been batting this idea around for a few years now, but it sure seems like the automaker might be speeding up the process since its forthcoming rival is applying some pressure to do so.

These new half-doors feature fabric windows with front quarter windows and a large opening in the center. They’re very similar to what we saw on the 392 Concept, and perhaps more notable, it’s the first time we’ve seen half-doors on a production model JL Wrangler.

But even though looks are subjective, we can’t help but think that these are a step back in the looks department for the JL. They just look cheap and somewhat of an afterthought, compared to the nicely integrated appearance of the Bronco’s doors. But as is always the case, buyers will ultimately decide which design they like the most and vote with their wallets.

We’ll have more on the Wrangler and Bronco’s renewed rivalry soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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43 Comments

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  1. Not that I support the new Jeep’s but the are the original makers of the half doors from back in the 70s and 80s not sure if it was in fact if it was amc or Chrysler but the they were available with steel and or fiberglass half doors the top half slid out on steel rods I owned 4 Jeep’s from a 66 willys CJ 5 a 76 AMC cj5 and a 85 amc CJ 7
    and Chrysler Corp. wrangler YJ I had aftermarket half doors on both cj5s the CJ7 and Yj also both had half doors the yj came factory option with full or half doors
    Sorry Ford !

      • An article with a false title is not worth reading Brett. Besides, considering everything Ford has done to create a vehicle that mimics the Wrangler, to call Jeep the copycat is pretty hilarious.

        • Since you refuse to use actual logic or facts to make a point, I’ll summarize it for you.

          1. Jeep said that it would offer half doors for the JL Wrangler for the 2019 model year back in 2017 when it was revealed.

          2. Jeep has not yet delivered on that promise.

          3. Now that the Bronco has been introduced and comes with frameless doors, Jeep is suddenly testing a regular, non-concept JL Wrangler with half doors for the very first time, a timeline that would insinuate they were motivated by what Ford did with the Bronco.

          4. Ford and Jeep have been copying each other since World War II, as we’ve written about many times in the past.

          • Even though I can very easily argue and discredit your point about the motivation and timing of the MOPAR JL half door, my original point was the false information in the title “Jeep Wrangler Looks To Copy Ford Bronco With New Half-Door Option.” Half doors are “not new to Jeep Wranglers.” Clearly the fact that Ford is using half doors on the Bronco is one of many examples of where Ford is copying previous Jeep Wranglers ideas in their new Bronco design.

            • Half doors were used on the Bronco back in the 1960s as well. The article isn’t about who made them first, it’s about the fact that Jeep is suddenly going to offer them again after Ford decided to. But you’d know that if you read it.

              • With that same logic, does that mean if Ford ever has a new V8 Bronco option in the near future (even though past Broncos have had V8 engines) it is “only” because the new Jeep Wrangler has a V8 option? I look forward to your article “Ford Bronco Looks To Copy Jeep Wrangler With New V8 Option” when that happens. 🙂

              • Have you looked at pictures/video of the new Jeep Wrangler at its unveil at the 2017 LA Auto Show? Pretty sure they show a new red Wrangler with half doors. So yes, the idea and design for half doors on the new Wrangler was already there in 2017 and not something they “suddenly offer after Ford decided to.” If you want to talk about not delivering on promises, let’s talk about that slippery Bronco Sasquatch availability date.

                • Ok Darren. Darren ok. Riddle me this – why did it take FCA four years (FOUR!!!) to bring half doors to market? What’s the reason behind that? Could the reason be summarized as “pressure from the Ford Bronco”?

                  On a separate note, the implementation of what’s seen in the photos does not look great nor inspire confidence. So the fact that it took four frigging years to bring to market is almost embarassing.

                  Face it – the Bronco is putting pressure on Jeep. You should be happy that this it taking place. With competition, everyone wins.

                  • Good question Alex. Here is your answer: Anyone that knows anything about automotive sales and marketing know the value of releasing options in phases. New Jeep generations run for 10 years so why would they release every option on day one? Besides, I am sure that the EcoDiesel, 4xe, and 392 were a little higher on the priority list than 1/2 doors. Also considering that there are many options for aftermarket 1/2 doors and historically factory 1/2 doors never been high demand, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they have been on the backburner. In fact, I don’t even see Jeep investing time or money advertising the release of the 1/2 door (proof alone that they aren’t released as “pressure from the Bronco”).

                    Riddle me this Alex, Jeep waited a year or two before releasing the adaptive cruise control option in the new Wrangler. Does that mean that by do so they have “copied” every other automobile that has advertised adaptive cruise between 2017 and now?

                    Ford fans want soooo bad for the Bronco to be a rival to the Wrangler that articles like this make me laugh.

  2. A comment on an article without reading it is worthless, and there’s nothing false about the title in the least bit.

        • Not upset but yes, it’s about the headline. The word “copy” implies that someone had an idea first and then someone else used the same idea. The author used that word as click bait in the headline and then did a 180 in the article admitting that Jeep has a long history of using 1/2 doors and that the 1/2 door was part of the JL generation Wrangler debut in 2017. The only 1/2 door in the debut of the Bronco was CGI, Ford copied the idea of the viewport hole in the door, and still doesn’t have a Bronco on the road with a 1/2 door…so who “copied” who?

          To state the facts the headline should have said, “Jeep is street testing the 1/2 door they debuted in 2017 and will be probably be releasing it to the public as an option in the future.”

  3. hahaha, I love that the author is defending his super misleading title down here in the comments and just keeps digging deeper. I did read the whole article before I commented but had to wait a bit for my eyes to unroll themselves after the waste of time reading this. Trash “journalism” lost all credibility in my opinion.

    • If there’s one thing that’s abundantly clear here, it’s the fact that Jeep fans are obviously bothered by the new Bronco. Troll away, however.

  4. I own an 05 LJ. I’m not a big fan of the swollen JK’s and JL’s, but I understand the marketing. I welcome the Bronco and will seriously consider getting one after a few years of production after they work all the bugs out. This article is pure incendiary clickbait. Competition breeds innovation. Getting one side riled up against the other is stupid and tribalistic. The Bronco coming out is a win for Jeep lovers too. Both companies will have to try harder to compete.

  5. This doesn’t make me want a Wrangler over a Bronco. I’ll happily take Ford’s varied unreliability over Jeeps guaranteed unreliability.
    *I own a 2019, high roof Transit with 80k miles on it. It’s in for its third double manifold replacement🤦 My AWD Escape Hybrid is still kicking ass with 190k and has never needed anything but regular maintenance.

  6. Did you really just say that Jeep is copying Ford on half doors?
    Jeep has had half doors almost since it’s inception during WW2.

    Ford is copying the Jeep half doors.

  7. Umm what?! Jeep has had half doors since the 80s. The current JL had a set on the promotional models back in 18. The previous JK even had them. What stupid headline is this?

    • I feel that your comment is inaccurate and demonstrates that readers are falsely labeling things they don’t agree with as fake news these days. So you part of the problem.

      Yeah the headline provocative but it’s not exactly untruthful or inaccurate.

  8. Brett, the title is false. It clearly implies that Ford came up with the idea. Broncos look like great vehicles, but you don’t need to lie to sell them. You’re being defensive and you come off like a fan boy. Just own up to it and change the title.

    • Don’t get all upset just because a journalist calls you out in the comments for calling him out.

      To me it seems like the Jeep fanboys can’t stand the fact that Ford pushed Jeep into finally bringing out the half doors it promised years ago. Don’t think there’s any falsehood in that. Both are great vehicles but man the Wrangler fans can get defensive.

      • They didn’t push anything. The date for launching the half doors was late last year since we’ll before the Bronco was even out running around in mule form. They got delayed due to removing the hole from the original design shown at the JL reveal. Ford then copied that and then quickly reported they aren’t actually making them. Probably for same reason lol

  9. I think the title is click bate to get Wrangler fans fired up. Then when someone commentes expressing their opinion, they get called a troll? I don’t think its a coincidence that everyone in the comments thinks the title is misleading.

    In reality you can order a Wrangler with half doors right now but the Bronco is nowhere in sight…

    • Let’s also point out the fact that “everyone in the comments” is a fanboiii of a certain competitor brand and is getting their panties in a wad.

      Just like you have your opinion, authors can also have theirs… especially when there is a solid amount of truth to the matter.

      • Its clearly the click bait title. I think the “fanboiiis” you speak of are simply pointing that out. As Ford fans would if someone made an article titled “Ford looks to copy Jeep Wrangler with new body on frame off-road beast”. The Bronco is sick, honestly I can’t wait to get one in the household when we can finally order one… But to say Jeep copied them in any way is false.

  10. Half doors have been in the Mopar parts catalog at least since I owned my first Wrangler JK in 2013. These are OEM doors, not aftermarket and they are still available for the current JL models today.

    • From what I know, half doors are NOT AVAILABLE for the Wrangler JL. This article seems to be pointing this out, so the headline and article are not false as there is some truth to the matter.

  11. I wouldn’t say the title is “false” but it is very much misleading. I will say this, it’s good Jeep has competition, it will bring out the best of both the Jeep and Ford and that’s a win win for anyone that buys them.

    It is although slightly sad the author has to get into arguments over the article written trying to explain off his ideals, there is obvious bias from both sides but that just seems childish, it’s an opinion based article not facts, everyone should see that.

  12. Congratulations!!! Your amazing research skills qualify you to write for any major news organization today. Just go ahead and quit your job because CNN etc are going to be blowing up your phone by monday!

  13. The original bronco was a Jeep knock off, this bronco is a Jeep knock off, the OJ bronco was a knock off of the blazer and ram charger… this bronco will come and go… I mean, if it ever actually comes.

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