Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn launched an all-new Bronco SUV lineup Monday night across multiple cable channels as well as an outdoor brand called Built Wild, an adventure community for owner and enthusiast engagement and four off-road driving schools across the United States.
The vehicles include a Bronco two-door, first-ever Bronco four-door model, and an all-new rugged, small SUV, Bronco Sport – the only domestic brand of SUVs with standard 4×4. The automaker also opened its Bronco reservation system. The vehicles will arrive at dealerships later this year as 2021 models.
“Bronco gave rise to the fun and versatile off-road SUV in 1966, becoming the first enjoyable sport utility vehicle for those who wanted to live, work, and play outdoors,” says Jim Farley, Ford’s COO. “Like the original, the all-new Bronco family is engineered to take you to epic places, with capability to deliver confidence on any type of terrain.”
“Bronco’s advanced four-wheel-drive technology is at the core of its off-road capabilities, and at the heart of it all is Bronco’s exclusive Terrain Management System™ with G.O.A.T. Modes that is designed to help drivers better navigate any type of terrain,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco consumer marketing manager.
Up to seven driver-selectable modes are offered including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand, with Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl for off-road driving.
Two 4×4 systems are offered on all Bronco models, a base setup and advanced 4×4. The base system utilizes a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the optional advanced system features 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 available Spicer® Performa-TraK electronic locking differentials for improved traction over rough terrain.
Available segment-first Trail Toolbox gives Bronco owners a suite of exclusive technologies to elevate their off-road experience. This includes Trail Control – cruise control for low-speed trail driving, while Trail Turn Assist tightens off-road turning radiuses through torque vectoring, and the innovative Trail One-Pedal Drive acceleration/braking control makes for more precise and confident slow-mode rock crawling.
Inside, the instrument panel is inspired by the first-generation model, with gauges and controls clearly visible and intuitive. Colors and materials are inspired by natural palettes and outdoor gear.
A multifunction color LCD instrument panel is front and center with the transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes controller in the center console. Available grab handles are integrated into the modular instrument panel and center console, while available MOLLE hooks are mounted in the seatbacks.
Attachment points are built into the instrument panel to mount a bring-your-own-device rack, with 12-volt power connections to easily mount cameras, navigation units, phones or other devices.
Further setting Bronco ahead of the off-road competition is an available segment-exclusive 12-inch SYNC 4 system with over-the-air updates and seamless integration to the FordPass Performance app with off-road navigation – a Bronco class-exclusive feature that allows owners to easily plan, navigate and share their off-road adventures.
The SYNC system also displays the available 360-degree camera system with class-exclusive off-road spotter views to provide additional visibility in technical pursuits such as rock crawling.
Bronco’s advanced topographic trail maps and more than 1,000 curated trail maps are powered by class-exclusive trail content from NeoTreks’ AccuTerra Maps, Trails Offroad trail guides, and FunTreks trail guides.
“The trail mapping system available on Bronco is truly a game-changer in the off-road community,” says Grueber. “It works online or off on either of the navigation-capable 8- or 12-inch SYNC systems, allowing users to select one of hundreds of available curated trail maps to map out and then track, capture and share their adventures with others.”
To make post-adventure cleanups simple, fast and painless, select Bronco models come with washable rubberized floors with integrated drains and marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces that resist mildew. Instrument panel surfaces are wipeable, with seamless silicone rubber on the dash-mounted hero switches, while rubber touchpoints protect against dirt and water. Six available upfitter switches mounted overhead are silicone-sealed to protect against the elements and to make customization easy, with pre-wired leads to key accessory points.
A modern high-strength steel roll cage with integrated side curtain airbags in the upper structure and seats helps protect passengers from side impacts and complements driver and front passenger airbags. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies plus standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control help instill driver confidence.
Ford’s off-road SUV expertise traces back to World War II, when the automaker was part of a government competition to build rugged carry-all utilities for GIs in the battlefield. Ford’s entry was called the GP, with the company building more than 270,000 of these “general purpose” vehicles for Allied forces.
GIs returning home bought Army surplus GPs for work and play, but they were too small and uncomfortable for civilian life, according to Ford research from the early 1960s, so Ford developed a more refined, spacious, yet durable off-road vehicle to meet this need – Bronco.
The original Bronco was nicknamed G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) by Donald Frey, the Ford president who championed both Mustang and Bronco nameplates and challenged engineering teams to deliver “go anywhere roadability.” An agile, sports-oriented off-road 4×4, Ford dubbed the original 1966 Bronco “a completely new line of sports-utility vehicles” at its reveal Aug. 11, 1965 – the first reference to “SUVs” from an American manufacturer.
Early Broncos had a rugged body-on-frame design with short front and rear overhangs, high ground clearance and a short wheelbase for maximum off-road capability. Bronco’s toughness and agility at high speed enabled racers like Rod Hall and Larry Minor to capture an overall win at the grueling 1969 Baja 1000 – a victory no other production 4×4 has replicated in 50 years.
“Rugged vehicles are in our heritage and we see strong growth opportunities with this ever-more popular segment,” says Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, Americas and International Markets Group. “The Bronco brand meets that need by creating a family of truly capable off-roaders to take our customers further into the wild. We’ve leveraged our extensive off-road experience from vehicles like F-150 Raptor to ensure that every Bronco delivers the Built Wild toughness and durability our customers expect.”
Bronco holds a special place in popular culture and has been featured in more than 1,200 films and 200 songs. Since Ford ended production in 1996, Bronco SUVs have continued to grow in popularity with collectors and enthusiasts.
With the January 2017 announcement of the return of Ford Bronco, valuations have skyrocketed, according to Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, with the average first-generation Bronco sale price nearly doubling from $39,763 to $74,820 in just more than three years. Hagerty valuation guide ranks 1966-77 Broncos as among the highest vehicle price increases of all collectible SUVs over the past three years – a 75.8 percent gain.
Bronco Off-Roadeos are chief among such authentic experiences. These off-roading and outdoor adventure playgrounds – coming to four U.S. locations starting next year – are designed for all skill levels, with experiences that aim to build confidence and inspire Bronco owners to get out in the wild for years to come.
Bronco Nation (www.thebronconation.com) – an independent online community that elevates the excitement of owning an all-new Bronco or Bronco Sport – will connect current and future customers as well as off-road fans and outdoor enthusiasts. Bronco Nation enables owners and fans to be part of a passionate, knowledgeable adventure-driven community.
Ford is ramping up all-new Bronco merchandise, too. From Bronco gear to remote control cars, Ford-licensed Bronco merchandise is available at Amazon.com/fordbronco. Enthusiasts can shop for gifts, novelties, collectibles and apparel. A portion of Bronco merchandise proceeds will be donated to the Bronco brand’s outdoor stewardship efforts.
Beyond that, the Bronco brand continues building its off-road racing legacy as Official Vehicle of King of the Hammers, ULTRA4 Series. Bronco also is the official SUV of SCORE International – one of many events key to proving out the vehicle’s capability and connecting with Bronco brand influencers.
Reservations: Open now for $100 at ford.com