You may be familiar with the name of the Ford Bronco, but not so familiar with the actual vehicle line itself.
The original Bronco was introduced in 1965 and ran for just over 30 years, before being replaced with the Ford Expedition. Though this spring, Ford has revived the model and given us the 6th Generation model, or 2021MY.
These days, the Bronco is a mid-sized off-roader based on a fully boxed strong steel ladder chassis. The Ford Bronco is designed for off-road use, but in keeping with the 4×4 utility vehicle trend, the slightly retro looking exterior hides some modern technology to keep us pampered humans satisfied for 2021. In the UK, the Bronco might be gunning for the crown of the Land Rover Defender, but in the USA it will be giving its perennial rival Jeep some headaches as it takes on the Wrangler.
While the original Bronco was a 2-door model, the 2021 version is equipped with a choice of 2 doors, or 4 doors if you select the larger model. Ground clearance is a Defender-beating 11.6 inches. Water fording depth is a maximum of 33.5 inches, with a departure angle of 37.2 degrees. The optional 35-inch tyres get suspension and stability aid from Bilstein long-travel shock absorbers, which are position sensitive, plus semi-active anti-roll bars.
It’s not all for show either; the new Ford Bronco is built to deliver under extreme conditions. Guards constructed of steel to protect the transmission, fuel tank and engine are available, as are heavy-duty bumpers designed to accommodate a winch system.
The tech is designed to help make the off-road driving experience easier, according to Ford, and includes the new Terrain Management System. The TMS comes with 7 driver modes: the more straightforward Normal, Eco and Sport, plus Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. It’s pretty clear what the last 4 are intended for. These settings will each have their own take on managing the Bronco’s traction control and diff-lock settings to provide a stress-free journey.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, then the new Bronco also comes with Trail Control – cruise control setting that will manage the powertrain technology at lower speeds. Add to this Trail Turn Assist, which is designed to tighten up the turning ability of the Bronco with the use of torque vectoring, and you either have the off-roader that you have been dreaming of, or a vehicle that you will be thinking might take the fun out of off-road driving. I suspect that as this is designed to be a working vehicle – an off-road daily driver if you will – the hi-tech assistance will prove to be a godsend for most.
Ok, so what engines will these new Broncos be sporting then? You get a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines. Either a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder, or a 2.7-litre V6 engine. The former gives 266bhp with 310lb ft torque, and the letter provides 306bhp and 400lb ft torque. Each has 10-speed auto transmissions with the V6 getting the option of a 7-speed manual with a low range crawler gear ratio of 94:75:1 which is class leading. The automatic transmission has a low range of 67:8:1.
As for the retro looking design, well there’s a good reason for that – Ford 3D scanned the original Bronco as a starting point to the new Bronco design, scaling up where needed to meet up-to-date performance/safety requirements.
The inside is pure modern design though, including Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, a screen up to a foot wide. Outside, day running LED lights distinguish this from anything other than a modern 4×4.
As you might imagine from Ford, you get a big choice of option packs to choose from (the Sasquatch pack gives you the 35-inch tyres). Ford say the Base model gives you the base to customise and build up your own personalised Bronco. While the Big Bend gives you a leather steering wheel and heated seats among other things. Black Diamond offers a standard rear-locking differential, and Outer Banks provides you will shiny alloys and optional touchscreen. And so it goes on with Badlands, Wildtrak and First Edition making up the remainder of Bronco options. First Edition possibly stands out as having the best of all worlds, with the choice parts of all the other versions included. Indeed, the Ford website shows that reservations for this model are now full.
So is there any bad news? Yes. There are currently no plans for Ford to introduce the Bronco SUV to the UK market. So that’s no right-hand drive off-the-shelf Broncos for UK roads then. The good news is that the 2-door Base model comes in at a competitive $29,995 – that would be just under £24,000 if it were to be available in the UK.
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