One area without as much choice as some enthusiasts would like, however, is the powertrain. The Bronco comes with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine standard, or buyers can upgrade to a 2.7-liter V-6. A manual transmission is available only with the base engine. Some off-roading purists hoped Ford would have included a V-8.
"If you're looking at a potential Achilles' heel in the Bronco's launch plan, that's what it is," Brauer said.
Jeep appears more than happy to exploit that weakness.
Hours before the Bronco made its debut, Jeep revealed a Wrangler concept powered by a Hemi V-8. In a not-so-subtle ad accompanying the reveal, the 450-hp concept tears through the countryside, the growl of its engine scaring off a herd of wild broncos.
While it's unclear whether Jeep will build the vehicle, Brauer said it's likely the first of many counterpunches coming before the first Broncos reach dealership lots in the spring.
"Jeep still has about 12 months to respond," Brauer said. "I think they should be worried, but FCA isn't known for resting on its laurels when it's challenged. Whether it's Ram or muscle cars, when someone messes with them owning the specs in a given segment, they tend to react fairly quickly."