Because no death wobble.
The solid front axle is one of the most important selling points of the Jeep Wrangler and it was even highlighted for the automaker’s salespeople in a document that recently leaked to the web. There’s no denying that this suspension is good for off-road use but Ford’s engineers decided against it and went with an independent front axle for the new Bronco instead. Here’s why.
In a recent interview with MuscleCarsAndTrucks, engineers from the Bronco R&D team gave more details about the independent front suspension of the revived Bronco. If we have to summarize their words, the decision for an IFS layout is mainly linked with the vehicle’s behavior on paved roads. But we’ll let them explain it in their own words.
“For IFS we make [the Bronco’s] manners much better on-road,” Bronco Chief Engineer Eric Loeffler told the online publication. “Therefore we get the best of both worlds… in Bronco we’ve been able to balance the performance, especially at higher speeds where our competitors don’t. And yet on-road the vehicle is just so much more enjoyable to drive.”
Off-road fans out there are probably going to disagree - isn’t the new Bronco designed to go in the mud most of the time, after all? The solid axle versus independent suspension debate won’t settle down anytime soon but Ford might have an answer to its critics for choosing an IFS setup for the Bronco.
Gallery: Ford Bronco Caught Climbing Rubicon Trail
“If you want to be a high-speed off-road desert runner, you definitely want an IFS… there is an element to the suspension technology that we selected is the right one for what we’re targeting,” Ford’s Global Program Manager Jeff Seaman added.
What’s “a high-speed off-road desert runner” you might ask? Well, we don’t know exactly but it sounds like the engineers wanted to make sure the new Bronco is immuned to the so-called death wobble phenomenon which causes the steering wheel to violently shake after hitting a road bump at higher speeds.