The fantastical imaginary “new Bronco” render everybody is optimistically excited about. (Image via Bronco6g.com)

Lots of enthusiasts are worried that the newly announced 2020 Ford Bronco, will be a soft crossover with a Bronco badge and no real off-roading abilities, not a legit Jeep Wrangler competitor. But Ford just confirmed that this thing will have a good old fashioned ladder frame just like the off-road gods intended. Here’s why that matters.

After the reveal today, I ran down to the mob of journalist pestering Bill Ford about the company’s future plans, and heard executive chairman say this thing is going to be a tough truck with a true body-on-frame layout.

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This is a big deal for off-road enthusiasts. In extreme rock-crawling situations, unibody vehicles tend to crack over time, since the stresses are distributed throughout a very stiff body. With a dedicated frame to comply with the terrain and take up the stresses, the Bronco might just be able to hold its own against the king of off-road, the Wrangler.

Not to mention, the frame also allows for easier modifications like body lifts and long-arm suspension setups— this is important, because aftermarket support and mod-ability will play a huge part if Ford wants to really compete with the big guns at Jeep.

Of course, where the Ford might fall short of the Jeep in off-road capability and aftermarket support will be in the front suspension. Will Ford have the balls to throw the more rugged, better-articulating solid axle up front, or will they go with the more comfortable independent front suspension setup found in pretty much every non-heavy duty truck (including the Ford Everest, on which many think the new Bronco will be based)?

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I’d venture to guess they’ll throw an independent front suspension up there. But I kind of hope they surprise me.