...there is no doubt Toyota let the LC get fat over the years, but it is still available most places with locking diffs all around (front, rear, center). Nothing F makes matches that. I don’t doubt F’s engineering ability to make it happen, they just haven’t. But an Expi vs. LC off-road would end poorly for the Expi. The Explorer isn’t much better, just smaller.
Now, the Bronco will no doubt be bad-ass, and I can’t wait to see it. Hopefully it has all the goodies and just isn’t about removable bits.
As for the Ranger vs. Hilux, you’re in the same place. Ranger could offer great things, but doesn’t. Suggesting a stock Ranger would hang with a TRD Pro, though, is silly. It wouldn’t.
I look forward to Ranger Rev 2 when they hopefully bring more off-road tech to the table, including the Raptor.
Based on the spy photos, the real Bronco appears to have beefed up suspension and thicker more aggressive tires even though they are mounted on the XLT's 17-inch alloys (production Bronco will probably get its own wheel designs).
The Escape-based baby Bronco will obviously be less hardcore, my guess is it will be like a Cherokee Trailhawk or Compass Trailhawk.
Here in Asia/Asia-Pacific, it's the opposite, the Hilux has no TRD Pro version and Ford has the badass Ranger Raptor. I believe the Ranger Raptor mule with twin exhaust tips and what sounds like a V6 gas engine is the mule for the US Ranger Raptor.
in Australia, the Ranger is now the best selling 4x4.