After nearly 25 years of the Ford Bronco being silenced, the new sixth-generation model has been revealed for 2021. The Bronco stands out as a 4×4 off-road capable, lifestyle guru that appeals to customers with a favour for boxy shaped vehicles appealing to the eye just like the Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco is well known as the 3-door SUV that captivated the market in bringing upon what a “Sport Utility Vehicle” may be in the future but unfortunately, it was discontinued for the fact of it being in that configuration and seeing a decline in its sales. The new Bronco comes in two-door or four-door configuration plus a proper SUV called the Ford Bronco Sport that is more sided to just being a modern-day SUV.
The first-generation Ford Bronco was introduced in 1966 as a 3-door compact SUV and a 2-door pickup. It was derived from being a utilitarian vehicle in the military, kind of like most boxed SUVs such as the Jeep and Mercedes Benz G-Wagon. It was made purely for off-roading meaning it didn’t serve well as an on-road comfortable cruiser and that made customers approach the competition instead. Then came the second-generation Bronco in 1978 and it introduced a chassis based on the F-series pickup but it was sold for two years only.
The third-generation was well off redesigned with a more aggressive look and carried on with the 3-door body style. The fourth and fifth-generation did the same but were equipped with rear-wheel anti-lock brakes as standard for the first time. In popular culture, the Bronco has been used in movies before like when Keanu Reeves was chasing a bus on the highway in a Ford Bronco in the movie Speed. But what made so famous was when O.J. Simpsons was fleeing a scene and being chased by cops in real life whilst driving a Ford Bronco in 1994 and most people think the Bronco was discontinued because that incident but that is not the case, it was due to a decrease in sales.
Design and Equipment
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the design of the Bronco and this is an honest good-looking SUV. Ford has done an amazing job by following the retro styling cues and adding a rugged touch on most of the parts on the car plus enabling the doors and roof panels to be removable. The squared front panel housing the circular LED lights, which are standard, has the Bronco emblem in large font with rectangular holes and a lower bumper with two towing hooks. Moving to the side, the boxy shape has some curvature lines but not that much, the flared wheel arches house the rugged tires. At the back, you get squared taillights plus a spare tire placed on the back.
The Bronco Sport doesn’t have the flared wheel arches, rugged tires nor a spare tire place on the back but has been made to look like your typical SUV. The wheels on the Bronco range are sized from 16-inch to 18-inch and are determined by the equipment level you choose. And whilst there are 7 different unique equipment levels, there are also 200 factory accessories to choose from. There’s a Base Bronco, First Edition, Badlands, Wildtrak, Outer Banks, Black Diamond and Big Bend, and they offer a variety of standard and optional features.
Ford has made only 2 petrol engines available for the Ford Bronco which should be good for providing enough power for off-roading and being smooth on daily drives. The standard 2.3-litre turbocharged direct-injection DOHC Ecoboost 4-cylinder produces a nifty 270 hp (201 kW) and 420 Nm of torque. The optional 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged direct-injection DOHC Ecoboost V6 engine is more powerful at 310 hp (231 kW) and 542 Nm of torque.
There are two transmissions and the 7-speed Getrag manual transmission has the 7th gear as a crawler gear and this gearbox is only available with the 2.3 litre engine. An optional 10-speed automatic transmission is available on both engines.
Chassis and Suspension
Ford has gone out of its way to provide a chassis that will be suitable for all driving conditions. The suspension works in hand with the chassis to offer seven driver-selectable modes. The front suspension has been set up with a H.O.S.S. System with twin alloy A-arms with coil-over springs and Blisten Position sensitive dampers, same as the rear set up but with a solid five-link suspension.
The transfer case has a 4×4 two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly system which is manually selectable whilst the advanced optional is a 4×4 two-speed electromechanical transfer case which adds an automatic on-demand 4H engagement.
When you enter the Bronco, it’s either through the doors or over the roof being silly as you can be, you first notice how well thought out the interior is. The controls and materials used are rubberized, robust and chunky to showcase the toughness of the Bronco. The instrument panel mimics the one found on the first-gen Bronco but on the centre is an 8-inch touchscreen as standard with Fords Sync4 system but a 12-inch touchscreen is available on higher-spec models. The floors are made with rubber, air condition controls are physical and there is the Bronco name on the dash part of the passenger side.
The interior is easily customizable according to the buyer’s taste and it being a lifestyle car, there are tons of colour scheme features to choose from. The buyer will be happy to note that Ford is offering four packages to choose from or rather they come with the different equipment levels. The first one is the “Standard” which comes with LED headlights, manual air condition, and push-button start. Next is the “Mid” which adds Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety features like lane departure warning, cross-traffic alert, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking. The “High” package comes with navigation, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera. Finally, it’s the “Sasquatch” which focuses on the exterior and internals by including 17-inch black-painted aluminium wheels with Mud Terrain tires, electronic locking front and rear axles, and some Blistein shock absorbers.
Before you get any excited, Ford stated that they are not planning on building the new Bronco with right-hand drive meaning it won’t be coming to South Africa. Orders have begun for customers where the Bronco will be sold and it’s starting price for the two-door is $29 995 (R498 559) and for the four-door is $34 695 (R576 726). I know I haven’t talked much about the Bronco Sport but it deserves its own article which I might publish anytime soon.
Source: 2021 Ford Bronco Press Release