[UPDATE: Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has confirmed to CARmag.co.za there are no plans to build the Bronco in right-hand-drive form, effectively ruling out a local introduction.]
Ford has finally whipped the covers off its reborn Bronco, offering the Jeep Wrangler rival in both two- and four-door guise (there's also a fresh-faced unibody Bronco Sport, which we've covered in a separate story).
The Blue Oval brand says production is scheduled to kick off in “early 2021” in Michigan, with buyers in North America having access to a range “more than 200” factory-backed accessories. From what we understand, the new Bronco rides on a modified version of the T6 (Ranger) platform.
Ford says the new Bronco’s “mission” is to deliver “maximum 4x4 go-anywhere, anytime capability and confidence”. All models feature an independent front suspension and a solid axle design featuring coil springs with five locating links at the rear. Two types of 4x4 system are offered, featuring up to seven driver-selectable modes (including the obligatory Baja setting).
The base system makes use of a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the optional advanced arrangement employs a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H. Power is distributed to a Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle and Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit, both with optional Spicer Performa-TraK electronic locking differentials.
Ford says the Bronco can be specified with “best-in-class” 295 mm ground clearance, 29-degree breakover angle and 37,2-degree departure angle, plus a wading depth of 851 mm.
So, what’s happening under that bonnet? Well, power comes from the Dearborn-based firm’s turbocharged 2,7-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine, which is “projected to produce” 231 kW and 542 N.m in Bronco form. There’s also a version of Ford’s turbocharged 2,3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol engine, which is excepted to generate 201 kW and 420 N.m. Interestingly, Ford will offer the choice of a seven-speed manual gearbox and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Two-door models ship standard with a three-section roof system, while four-door variants have four removable roof sections. Every Bronco comes with frameless doors (on four-door models, all four doors can be removed and stored onboard in protective door bags).
Inside, you’ll find an instrument panel “inspired by the first-generation model”, along with a 12-inch (or eight-inch on lower-spec models) infotainment system running Sync4. Certain models come with hose-down rubberised floors with integrated drains and “marine-grade” vinyl seating surfaces.
“We created the Bronco family to elevate every aspect of off-road adventure and equipped them with class-leading chassis hardware and exclusive technologies to raise the bar in the rugged 4x4 segment and take people further into the wild,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer.
“They’re built with the toughness of an F-Series truck and performance spirit of Mustang – and come wrapped in one of the most stunning and functional off-road designs that’s true to the original Bronco design DNA."
So, will the new Bronco be offered in South Africa? Well, any chance of an introduction would depend on whether the newcomer is also built in right-hand drive ... and that’s unfortunately not yet clear. For the record, pricing in the United States is expected to start at $29 995 (for the base two-door variant), which translates to a little over R500 000 at the prevailing exchange rate.