Ford is taking Jeep on directly with the reveal of its new Bronco. Like a Wrangler, it’s available in two- and four-door body shapes, and has bashing the bush front of mind.
All Broncos are 4WD, of course and, like Jeep’s Wrangler, there are two 4x4 systems. The base variant utilises a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly
transfer case, while the more advanced version has a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on-demand engagement.
Unlike a Jeep it has an independent front end for what Ford calls ‘improved control, confidence and comfort’. It has a solid rear axle though with coil springs and five locating links.
Optional are electronic locking differentials front and rear and a semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar. This is said to be able to disconnect during extreme articulation but then reconnects to improve steering and stability at higher speeds.
There are seven drive modes; Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, with Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl for off-road driving.
The Bronco features optional Trail Control, cruise control for low-speed trail driving, while a Trail Turn Assist function helps reduce the turning circle during slow speed manoeuvres by braking the rear wheels.
There’s 294mm of ground clearance, a maximum 29-degree breakover angle and 37.2-degree departure angle. It’s claimed to wade through 850mm of water.
The Bronco can be outfitted with all manner of bash plates underneath and rock rails along the sides.
It sits on a full steel chassis, loosely based on the T6 Ranger’s platform.
There are more than 200 factory accessories for extended personalisation, including 35-inch off-road tyres.
Power comes from either a 2.7-litre V6 turbopetrol (230kW/540Nm) or a 2.3-litre turbo four (200kW/420Nm). There’s a new seven-speed manual, described as a 6+1 gearbox, with first gear used only for extreme rock crawling. Combined with the advanced 4x4 system it allows Ford to brag about a segment leading crawler-gear ratio of 94.75:1. A 10-speed auto is also offered.
Just like a Wrangler, both two- and four-door models have removable hard tops with the option of a folding soft top as well. And the doors can be removed too.
Inside, the instrument panel is said to be inspired by the first-generation model while the materials used are ‘tough and rugged’.
Some models come with washable rubberised floors, and integrated drains while marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces resist mildew.
At this stage, the Bronco is for LHD consumption only.