Ford Authority

Ford Bronco Team Not Ruling Out Fixed Roof, Upscale Model

It’s hard to imagine a Ford Bronco without some sort of removable roof portion, a feature that’s always been synonymous with The Blue Oval’s legendary off-roader. After all, open-air cruising and trail riding are some of the Bronco’s most appealing features. But as it turns out, the same team that brought us the sixth-generation 2021 Ford Bronco hasn’t quite ruled out building a version of the SUV with a non-removable, fixed roof just yet.

“Not really, because the whole premise of the [Bronco] is open-air,” Ford Bronco Chief Engineer, Eric Loeffler, told Ford Authority Executive Editor, Alex Luft, in a recent interview. “Will someone in the aftermarket do it? Maybe. But generally speaking, we think that most people will want to be running around with the top off. But if we get customer demand for it over the next couple of years, then we’ll consider it.”

“Then you know, there are those of us who wonder what would happen if you wanted to go full Land Rover fighter with this vehicle, way up end, and then you would notice that they don’t have a removable top and they need that for quietness and so forth, so if we ever wanted to do something like that, then that could happen.”

These are undoubtedly interesting comments that indicate Ford has at least considered the idea of making a version of the Bronco that’s more of a direct competitor to the new Land Rover Defender. At least a few members of the Bronco team are clearly receptive to the idea, which is obviously intriguing on a number of levels.

While it doesn’t offer a removable top option, the Land Rover Defender does compete with the Jeep Wrangler and Bronco in the burgeoning off-road SUV segment, though it’s a bit more luxurious and expensive than those two. The Defender is available in both two- and four-door configurations, and unlike the Bronco, can be paired with a V8.

While Jeep is clearly concerned about the Bronco’s arrival, Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO of Land Rover North America, recently welcomed Ford’s rugged SUV to the world, citing its positive impact on the overall segment. However, he doesn’t view the Bronco as a direct competitor to the Defender, though perhaps that could change at some point in the coming years.

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

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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  1. Bronco Billy

    Bronco is much more capable rock crawling than Defender as demonstrated by TFL when they took a Bronco 1st Edition, a Wrangler Rubicon 4xE and a Defender up a rugged trail in Colorado. The Defender blew 2 tires before it had to be left along the trail and rescued the next day. It wasn’t just wimpier tires that separated the vehicles, the Defender struggled to keep a grip over rocks because of not having locking front and rear differentials and a disconnectable front sway bar. The Bronco and Wrangler hardly broke a sweat going up and down the harsh trail. On top of that, the Defender is very difficult to modify, both in terms of not possessing removable tops and doors and upgrading tires and suspensions, whereas Bronco and Wrangler are relatively easily modified. I see the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk being a more of a direct competitor to the Defender as both have unibodies, independent front & rear axles, air suspensions and a quiet ride and luxurious interiors.

  2. JohnnyBronco

    The lack of a hardtop of any type, even from aftermarket, for the foreseeable future (2023 will surely become 2025) makes the Bronco an open air vehicle that unfortunately will struggle here where 100″ of snowfall is average – even though mine is scheduled. The soft top does not even have an interior liner like any upscale convertible car would have.

    I bought in because I considered it to be the closest thing to a Defender from a US car company, and at a $10k-$20k savings. If Ford does build a fixed roof version my Bronco might get traded early. But for now I would settle for any bolt on solid roof option with winter just around tge corner

  3. OwnWay

    I’ll take the fixed roof with and upscale interior. Then I could have access to Ford repair shops through out the US. Until then, skipping the “rip the roof off gang” and going to a Defender. I love the Bronco but really not that much into modifying, mainly the ability to drive everywhere. Probably all Outer Banks crowd agrees with me. Also, you get a flat floor on the Defender and a rollback or push back roof changed in seconds without having to stash the parts. TFL could have bought the rear locking differential as an option.

    1. Alex

      Agreed with what you said though Defender is also very flawed in quality control proven by all the crazy things that TFL experienced with their new Defender where they had to fly in from Europe an engineer to fix it. Just think of the nightmare if it was out of warranty.

      1. Kermit

        I was waiting for build on my 2021/22 Bronco Outer Banks. It just wasn’t coming and after 2 years I gave up and put a deposit to order a Defender. In 6 months in showed up- an early 2022 edition – 2 door. Now after 6 months of driving I am very, very happy it worked out that way. Although the TFL video stated the tires probably blew because they did not have the locking rear differential and the Defender uses the central deferential for locking in 4 whl drive, I did not get that option either, spending the $1800 on the sliding sunroof. I go off road but I am not aggressive and the 2 door seems to work easier than the longer 4 dr, just wanting recreational access. I have 3 motorcycles so I never did expect to take the roof off a Bronco. Absolutely no complaints so far and never heard any from anyone else. However. I would prefer an American made vehicle.


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