2021 Ford Bronco came close to co-opting Jeep Wrangler’s folding windshield


You’re not missing out just because the windshield won’t fold down. Promise.


Ford

Between the time the news broke of a new Ford Bronco and the time it actually showed up as a production model, many folks were quick to compare the Bronco’s potential to its closest rival, the Jeep Wrangler. The two do carry similarities, but according to a new interview, they might have been even closer than they currently are.

The 2021 Ford Bronco was originally rumored to carry a foldable windshield, just like the Wrangler, but the production version showed off front glass that was clearly permanently fixed. In an interview with Ford Authority, Bronco chief designer Paul Wraith told the outlet that, despite the original Bronco’s use of one, it wasn’t in the cards for the latest version.

“[A folding windshield] brings with it some problems,” Wraith told Ford Authority. “It does provide the user with a fairly rare event, since you start getting into things like flat windshields, which is a compromised construction around pillars.”

Instead of allowing yet another path for clean air to swoosh through the cabin, the Bronco team instead focused on making other parts of the body feel as open as possible. “So what we actually really wanted to do is to provide a very open-air feel, thin out the pillars as much as we could,” Wraith said. “So when you look at tradeoffs, we think we made the right one.”

While the Bronco’s windshield may not be folded down, the body provides for quite the open experience. Not only are the doors removable — another Wrangler staple — most of the top half of the Bronco can be taken off and stored for later reattachment. The vehicle’s airbags are located within the tubular structure that remains, so safety was clearly a high priority for this high-riding SUV. The four-door Bronco has enough cargo space to bring its doors along for the ride, thanks to their pillarless nature, which allows the windows to be rolled into the doors themselves for compact storage.

Having been a passenger in the Bronco rather recently, I can assure you that the lack of a folding windshield is hardly a problem. Go stand in front of a fan if you want wind to whip you in the face; by any appreciable standard, the Bronco’s open-air experience is plenty, um, airy. You won’t feel like you’re missing out when mud hits the windshield instead of your open mouth.



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