The upcoming release of the Ford Bronco has been announced, and is expected to reappear on the market in 2020. Because of this, some automakers might have let out a heavy sigh. Especially Chevrolet, since the Bronco was such a popular model back in the day, and really gave the Tahoe, Blazer, and Suburban a run for their money. But, this article is titled “Should Jeep Be Worried,” so what’s the Bronco have to do with Jeep if those other SUVs were its primary competitors back in the day? Well, now that the Bronco is coming back as a mid-size SUV, we know that it’s going to be right in line with the Cherokee and Wrangler. Now, if that’s the only thing the Bronco and legendary off-road Wrangler model will have in common, then there really isn’t an issue.
But, considering the fact that Dana is going to be the one who makes the Bronco’s axles (yes, as in the legendary Dana 44 axles you know and love on Jeeps) things might get a little spicy in the off-road segment between Ford and Jeep.
What Are Dana Axles?
Just in case you aren’t familiar with Dana axles, I’ll give you a brief rundown.
Dana axles have been used on Jeeps for a very long time now. They’ve been paired to the Wrangler (and some other models) and the connection has caused many people to simply associate Jeep with Dana, like peanut butter and jelly – a perfect match.
In particular, the Dana 44 and Dana 60 axles are two axles that are coveted by wheelers in their quest to build the ultimate off-roading rig. In the end, that typically meant throwing front and rear Dana axles on a Jeep Wrangler.
The stock axles that Jeep provides are still extremely durable, and trail capable. Heck, even some of the modern off-road Wranglers have Dana axles equipped as stock. But if someone gets a used Wrangler that doesn’t have Dana axles, the Dana 44 axle in particular is considered by many to be the cream of the crop. They are extremely durable, and are able to truly boost the performance of the vehicle.
Although the name Dana is associated heavily with Jeep Wrangler, because of their strength and durability, the company built a solid name for itself. This is why Ford decided to scoop them up for its new Bronco.
Axles Alone Don’t Make or Break a Vehicle
While these axles really do help with performance, they don’t make or break a vehicle. Yes, the point of the axle housing is to support the weight of the vehicle, gears, and maintain shape under stress, flex, and heavy loads. This is where the stronger, performance-oriented Dana 44 axles come in.
But, you still need a good engine and design to make it through the off-road trails. The fact that every new Jeep (even ones that aren’t equipped with Dana axles) are slathered with Trail Rated badging signifies the brand’s overall prowess when it comes to building off-roading rigs. That Trail Rated badging means the vehicle was able to successfully complete the Rubicon Trail, one of the most famous and difficult trails in the nation. Considering every Jeep can do that stock, imagine what it can do when modded specifically for off-roading?
In The End, Jeep Shouldn’t Be Worried
Jeep really shouldn’t be worried. Sure, the Bronco is going to share the same axles as the new Wrangler Rubicon. But, that doesn’t mean the new Bronco is going to have the same overall off-road capability.