New Ford Bronco: revived Jeep Wrangler rival revealed
15. July 2020 - autocar
Long-running nameplate is brought back for new family of rugged off-roaders, including two-door, four-door and road-biased Bronco Sport models
Ford has revived the long-running Bronco nameplate after a 24-year absence for a new family of rugged SUVs. The line-up will include two-door and four-door versions of the four-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler rival, along with a more road-focused Bronco Sport.
The Bronco was launched by Ford as a two-door Jeep rival in 1965 but has been out of production since 1996. The long-awaited revived versions are part of Ford's strengthened commitment to the lucrative SUV segment and are designed for the hugely popular off-road market in America. There are no plans to offer either version in the UK.
Both the Bronco and Bronco Sport - shown in the below video - are now available to order in the US, with deliveries due to start later this year.
Bronco two-door and four-door
Ford boss Jim Farley claims the new, sixth-generation Bronco is "built with the toughness of an F-Series truck and performance spirit of a Mustang". It is based on the same platform as the Ford Ranger pick-up, and the classic two-door model will be joined by a four-door version for the first time.
The model features 'heritage-inspired' styling designed to evoke the Bronco's history, with the firm saying initial design work was developed from a full-size digital scan of a first-generation model.
It features short overhangs, square bodywork and a wide stance for off-road use, and it's built on a steel chassis that Ford claims offers 17% more suspension travel than rivals. The machine sits on tyres of up to 35 inches in diameter.
The Bronco will feature a ground clearance of 11.6 inches, a maximum 29deg breakover angle and a 37.2deg departure angle, along with the ability to ford water up to 33.5 inches deep.
The Bronco will be offered with a 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder engine producing 266bhp and 310lb ft, and a 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 offering 306bhp and 400lb ft. It will be offered with a seven-speed manual gearbox that features a crawl gear as standard, with a 10-speed automatic also available.
Independent front suspension will be standard, with a solid axle at the rear that features coil springs and five locating links. Long-travel Bilstein dampers will be available as options. There will also be an optional semi-active hydraulic stabiliser bar, which Ford says offers extra articulation and increased ramp angle.
The Bronco will feature a new Terrain Management System that features what Ford terms GOAT – Go Over All Terrain – drive modes. The system will offer seven settings: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Baja, Mid/Ruts and Rock Crawl.
Two 4x4 systems will be offered. The base setup will use a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the optional advanced system is built around a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that can automatically switch between 2H and 4H.
A range of driver assistance systems named Trail Toolbox will also be offered, featuring the likes of low-speed off-road cruise control and an off-road turn assist function.
Two-door models will feature a three-section removable roof system as standard, while four-door models will have four removable sections. Frameless doors, designed to be easy to remove, are also standard.
The interior of the Bronco features an instrument panel inspired by the first-generation model, with Ford putting a focus on "tough and rugged" materials to ensure durability and ease of use when off-roading. The 8.0 or 12.0in touchscreen features the latest version of Ford's Sync 4 infotainment system and has access to more than 1000 curated trail maps.
The Bronco will be offered in six trim levels, with the base version joined by Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak and Badlands specs. There will also be more than 200 accessories.
The starting price for the base two-door model in the US will be $29,995 (£23,700).
Launched alongside the new off-roader, the Bronco Sport is described by Ford as "the Bronco of small SUVs" and expands the nameplate to a more road-focused vehicle for the first time. As with the standard Bronco, there are no plans to launch it in the UK.