While there has been a number of exciting enthusiast cars that have debuted recently, like the Toyota Supra and the C8 Corvette, we can’t help but notice that the manual transmission is continuing its disappearing act, even in sports cars. While it may not be entirely surprising to see this upsetting trend, there remains a safe harbor for the DIY gearbox. Sports cars buyers may not be able to row their own gears anymore, but off-roading enthusiasts might soon have another manual-equipped truck to choose from. According to a report by The Fast Lane Car, the upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco will be available with a manual transmission.
Ford has yet to confirm any of the information in the report, so keep that in mind. The information reportedly comes from a TFL viewer who reached out after having a conversation with a Ford dealer. The same conversation apparently hinted at the Bronco’s use of 17-inch wheels wrapped around chunky off-road tires measuring 33 inches in diameter. The sidewall measurements on various test mules spied in the wild have been wearing tires measuring 285/70/R17.
Both the reported choices in manual transmission and in tire size could really pit the Ford Bronco as an upcoming direct competitor to the Jeep Wrangler, which offers both pieces of equipment. Ford will also look to rival Jeep in the accessories front for the Bronco with a partnership with Yakima.
We also have reason to believe Ford is going after the Wrangler’s open air experience as well, thanks to numerous reports surrounding patent filings Ford has made for removable roof panels, and doors. This reintroduction of the Bronco could bring the first direct competition to the Wrangler since the Toyota FJ Cruiser left the market back in 2014. The rumored retro styling of the Bronco, along with what we can only assume will be solid off-road performance makes it a lot more like the FJ than one might think.
While Toyota still has a stable of off-road ready SUVs like the 4Runner, none of these models comes with a manual gearbox. Perhaps the Bronco will be able to capitalize on FJ owners who are looking for something to replace their aging off-road SUV, but are still looking for retro looks and body-on-frame design.