It’s all but inevitable at this point: Ford will debut the new Bronco sometime next year. Based on reports we’ve heard and seen so far, Ford plans to compete for Jeep Wrangler buyers by outdoing the Wrangler at its own game. The latest seemingly Bronco-related Ford patent, uncovered by AllFordMustangs, is for a method to remove the a vehicle’s roll cage, which would seemingly offer an even more al fresco driving experience than the Wrangler.
The patent shows an off-road-ready SUV with B- and C-pillars that could be unbolted and removed with relative ease. Owners would then need to attach shorter replacement pillars to accommodate the three-point seatbelt.
It’s an intriguing idea, and would offer a much more traditional open-top driving experience than the Wrangler. The question is, will this patent make it to production?
For Ford to implement this feature, it would have to deliver a strategic advantage. Do customers want this? This seems like a fair amount of effort on the driver’s part to remove a small obstacle from their sightline. It’s not clear what the precise benefit is. Better aesthetics? The classic Bronco looks fine with a roll bar. If anything, the roll bar seems like something most Bronco owners would want to accessorize rather than remove.
Removing the roll bar could also be very expensive for Ford. Ignoring whether or not it’s street-legal (which it might potentially not be), ditching the roll bar would also make the Bronco more dangerous during a rollover while off-roading on private property. Sure, Ford may be be targeting the more casual portion of the Wrangler’s audience with the Bronco, so rollovers might be less likely — but being less safe is not a great look. Implementing that feature may require paying for an additional safety feature to counter it…but would that be worth even more engineering and cost?
Still, it’s all conjecture for now. We don’t yet know what features will appear on the production Bronco…though we bet easily-removable hardtops and doorless side airbags have a better shot of making it to production than detachable roll bars.
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