The idea of a seven-speed manual transmission might have been odd a decade ago, but it’s been subsequently normalized through its installation in big-name vehicles like the Porsche 911, the Chevrolet Corvette and… OK, maybe just those two. You may have heard a rumor that a seven-speed will turn up in the new Ford Bronco, too, but if a new report is true, it won’t be anything like the 7MTs in those other cars.
According to a report from TFLCar, the forthcoming Ford Bronco will contain a seven-speed manual transmission with a “crawler” gear. Without diving into too much detail about angular velocity ratios, let’s just define a crawler gear as a first gear designed foremost with low-speed, high-torque applications in mind — slowly traversing rocky areas being a solid example. It allows a vehicle to move very slowly while producing loads of torque, above and beyond the first gear that you’d find in your average passenger car. That’s the long and short of it.
That would give the Bronco some serious off-road capability without demanding a two-speed transfer case or other hard-core hardware designed without a beaten path in mind. Of course, Ford could further bolster its rock-crawling cred by also adding the two-speed ‘box, and considering all we have to go on at this time are reports and speculation, the possibility exists that Ford could do both.
While TFLCar’s report is the first time we’ve heard a source mention a crawler gear, it’s not the first time it’s been mentioned at all. While the 7MT rumors started all the way back in 2018, Hagerty wrote a post in March that dove deep into the available figures for Getrag’s new seven-speed manual, and as a result, the outlet posited that the Bronco’s potential first gear could potentially have a crawl ratio somewhere between the current and previous generations of Wrangler Rubicon, which would make it plenty potent off-road.
Possible leaks like this can only be truly confirmed by the automaker itself, but I wouldn’t count on that happening, at least not today. OEMs, including Ford, routinely decline to discuss future products until the unveiling has taken place, and Ford didn’t immediately return a request for comment. For now, all we have is yet another cool little tidbit that could get people even more excited for the Bronco’s eventual unveiling — whenever that happens; it was originally believed to be happening this spring, but now that summer’s here, who knows.