After 20 years, Ford is reviving the Bronco. Yes, you have read that right. Land Rover couldn’t have all the fun with the new Defender, the Bronco is returning as the flagship of a rugged 4×4 SUV family but remaining true to its original design. The designers went as far as having a life size digital scan of the original Bronco to influence the proportions and design of the new generation for maximum off-road capability.
Available in two-door and four-door guises – the latter a first for the Bronco, oh and a baby Bronco Sport. But we aren’t here for that. The proper off-roaders are fitted with either a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost with 270hp and 310 lb ft or a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 with 310hp and 400 lb ft mated to either a seven-speed (6+1) manual or a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The swish auto -box will make driving and off-roading a breeze but the manual with its crawler gear will be more engaging and fun to drive.
If there was any doubt that the Bronco was built to be off-road, the 35-inch tyres, the seven driver selectable modes (G.O.A.T. – Go over any type of Terrain modes) and the two 4×4 systems put it beyond doubt. Let’s talk about those two 4×4 systems for a second – the base system uses a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the optional advanced system features a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H.
The body is based on a fully boxed, high-strength steel chassis that delivers available best-in-class suspension travel. Each model comes with an independent front suspension for improved control, confidence and comfort. At the rear, a rugged solid axle design featuring coil springs with five locating links which can be upgraded to long travel position sensitive Bilstein dampers with end-stop control valves at every corner.
Inside, the Bronco is just as rugged. The instrument panel is inspired by the original and all the materials are tough and rugged with clear, visible gauges and a 12-inch Sync infotainment system that includes access to the FordPass performance app and OTA updates. This allows drivers to plan, navigate and share off-road adventures (it has over 1,000 maps with help from NeoTreks, Trails Offroad and FunTreks) as well as having a ‘spotter’ with the 360-degree camera.
The driver also has those G.O.A.T. modes – seven driver-selectable modes including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, with Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl for off-road driving. If you are a novice at off-roading, don’t worry Bronco has you covered with off-road mapping and technologies such as the Trail Toolbox that includes Trail Control (cruise control for low-speed trail driving), Trail Turn Assist (torque vectoring to tighten the off-road turning radius) and Trail One-Pedal Drive that helps drivers be more precise and feel confident whilst rock-crawling.
Ultimately off-roading is about being with nature, so the doors and the roof needs to come off. Bronco has got that sorted too; the doors are frameless making them easier to remove and two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system – left and right front sections and a rear section. Four- door models have four removable roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section. Roof panels on all models can be removed by one person by unlocking the latches from the interior. First-row panels stow away onboard on two-door models.
Unfortunately the UK will not be getting the Bronco, in the same way it missed out on the F-150 Raptor. In the US, the Bronco starts at $29,995, including $1,495 destination and delivery and you can reserve one now for $100 now.