What is the Bronco? Well, in Ford’s own words it’s “the flagship of an all-new family of rugged off-road vehicles”, and as such it has four-wheel-drive, big chunky tyres and short overhangs, front and back. On first impressions it looks both remarkably modern and surprisingly like the original Bronco at the same time – in the same way the Suzuki Jimny is almost inexplicably cool, the new Bronco is a car we’re desperate to drive.
So, the details. Available as a two-door but also as a four-door for the very first time, the new uses a body-on-frame design, with a high-strength steel chassis.
There’s independent suspension at the front and a solid rear axle at the back with coil springs, with long-travel Bilstein dampers all the way round. There are also two four-wheel-drive systems, one the ‘base’ system (still said to be very, very capable) and one a more advanced system for those who really want to climb every mountain and ford every stream.
Speaking of fording streams, the new Bronco has a max wading depth of 85.09cm, 29.5cm of ground clearance, a max 29-degree breakover angle (meaning you can be cresting the brow of a hill and the body of the car would have to go past a 29-degrees incline or decline before the middle of the car would touch the hill’s crest) and a max 37.2-degree departure angle (the front or the rear bumpers won’t rub along the ground unless you the nose of the backside of the car into the sky or towards the ground at an angle of more than 37.2 degrees).
Is there more off-road tech? Absolutely. There are tow hooks, optional steel bumpers, steel shields that protect the engine, transmission ,transfer case and fuel tank, and you can buy optional steel rails that run along the edge of each side that can support the car’s entire weight. Basically, your new Bronco shouldn’t fold like an old aluminium take-out container if you get things slightly wrong out in the wilderness.
There’s a choice of transmissions, the first a six-speed manual and the second a ten-speed automatic. There’s a crawler gear on both, so you can plug through mud and sand and let the car do the work at its own pace, as well as ‘Trail Control’, essentially an off-road, low speed traction control, and ‘Trail Turn Assist’, which uses torque-vectoring by braking to slow the inside rear wheel down and tighten the angle of the turn. On top of all of that there are seven drive modes, including, Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl.
As for engines, there are two, a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6. The former Ford projects to have 274PS (270bhp) and 420Nm (310lb ft) of torque, the latter 314PS (310bhp) and 542Nm (400lb ft).
Just because this is an off-roader doesn’t mean its decked out like a cave. The interior is smart and a very, very different environment to the last Ford Bronco’s interior – more than two decades worth of technical progression and quality advances is immediately obvious. There’s an LCD instrument panel, mounting points for your own tech on the top of the dash, an 8- or 12-inch central screen (on which you can view more than 1,000 curated trail maps), a 360-degree camera, and, depending on the model, easy-to-hose rubber floor mats.
One of the best features, though? The doors, all of which, on both the two-door and four-door Broncos, can be removed quickly and easily and stored safely onboard in “protective door bags”. And because the mirrors aren’t attached to the doors, by removing them you don’t lose two thirds of your rear visibility. The windows and roof can be removed too.
Prices start at $29,995, including $1,495 destination and delivery, so $31,490, or around £25,000, with Ford taking reservations for $100. The sad news, however, is that his wonderful car is not coming to the UK. So, if you want the I’m-going-to-take-my-doors-off-and-drive-over-a-mountain experience you’ll either have to import one or buy a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.