Welcome back Bronco, and look out Jeep Wrangler.
Ford’s legendary off-roader has been revealed in full, in two-door, four-door, and no-door guises.
This is the proper Bronco, the old-fashioned off-roader. If you want to know more about the softer Ford Escape-based Bronco Sport, check out our dedicated story here.
Externally, the Bronco has clearly been designed to walk a retro-futuristic tightrope. With short, boxy proportions and round headlights, the nose is an unashamed homage to the four-wheel drive OJ made famous.
The rear has been styled – well, as much as you can style a box – to keep the retro flame alive, albeit with modern LED detailing.
There are plenty of tidy touches for off-road trainspotters, like front quarter lights that double as tie-down points, and can be used to better place the car on tight trails.
You’ll notice there are no Ford badges on the car. That’s because, much like Mustang, Ford is trying to make Bronco a standalone sub-brand. It’s been launched with the tagline Built Wild, a play on the classic Built Ford Tough tag.
Under the skin, the Bronco has all the off-roading hardware to take on the Jeep Wrangler – at least, it will if Ford’s to be believed.
Like the legendary Wrangler, the Bronco is available as a two- and four-door, and like the Wrangler the doors and roof can be taken off for proper open-air thrills.
Two four-wheel drive systems will be offered across the range. The less advanced “base system” features a two-speed electronic transfer case, while the “advanced” setup gains an “automatic” mode capable of moving between modes depending on what’s required.
There’s a Dana 44 solid rear axle and an independent Dana front-differential unit, although Spicer Performa-TraK electronic differential locks are available.
Ford will offer what it’s calling a Trail Toolbox, with a suite of electronic off-road assists in a similar vein to Land Rover.
Trail Control is a low-speed cruise control system for trail crawling, and Trail Turn assist brakes individual wheels to help manoeuvre your boxy off-roader through tight spots. There’s also a one-pedal drive mode for smoother rock crawling.
Ground clearance is 295mm as standard, and the Bronco promises a 29-degree break over angle and 37.2-degree departure angle. Maximum wading depth is 850mm.
The underbody is protected by heavy-duty bash plates when the more capable off-roading hardware is specced, and proper rock rails are available for those about to… rock.
As is the case with the Raptor, Ford is leveraging its Baja background for the Bronco. It says there’s 17 per cent more suspension than its “nearest competitor” – ahem, Wrangler – and there’s an available sway bar disconnect function, as is the case with Jeep’s range-topping off-roader.
As exclusively reported by CarExpert, the Bronco will be offered with two EcoBoost engines: a 2.3-litre making 201kW and 420Nm, and a 2.7-litre EcoBoost Nano making 231kW and 540Nm.
Although a 10-speed automatic is available, purists will be heartened by the availability of a seven-speed manual transmission, complete with an ultra-low 94.75:1 crawler gear.
As for the roof? Both two- and four-door models feature removable roof panels for all passengers, along with removable quarter window panels while the hardtop is in place. With that said, a soft top is standard on the four-door model.
The removable doors are frameless, something Ford touts as a class-exclusive. Also exclusive? The sheer amount of sky on offer with the roof panels removed.
There’s more than a hint of F-150 about the Bronco cabin, with its Sync 4 infotainment system on a 12-inch touchscreen. But the touch points are all chunkier, the design more overtly off-road focused.
The transmission and G.O.A.T. (that’s Goes Over All Terrain, not Nathan Lyon/Michael Jordan GOAT) mode selector for off-road driving.
Ford says the cabin can be hosed out, despite its more modern design and high-tech trimmings. A full suite of driver assists will also be offered.