Ford builds new Bronco into lean, mean Overland mini-camper concept
This time of year usually gets all the jacked-up, fully kitted 4x4s and pickups crawling out of the woodwork in the run-up to SEMA. With this year's show going virtual, automakers are finding new excuses to go all-out with accessorized off-road builds. Ford, of course, has the shiniest new toy to play with in the Bronco. With the new Overland concept, Ford shows the Bronco's biggest fans how the new-generation 4x4 can transform into an all-terrain camper built for boundless exploration.
During its big, Bronco launch, Ford showed the Bronco Sport upgraded with a roof-top tent (RTT), but not the Bronco two- or four-door. It struck us as odd because hardcore overlanders were no doubt looking hard at the true-to-badge, body-on-frame Bronco much more so than the Sport. Why not throw an RTT up on one of the prototypes and give them some nice computer wallpaper to ogle while they wait for their reservation numbers to be called?
Five Bronco accessory-draped Bronco concepts later ... still no camping Bronco.
Well, it's finally time. The occasion came this week in the form of the Bronco Super Celebration East in Tennessee. Ford unveiled the Overland concept to get the most dedicated Bronco fans dreaming about all the ways they'll be able to customize the perfect 4x4 when the new Bronco and its hundreds of accessories arrive. The concept is based on the Bronco four-door in rugged Badlands guise.
Most onlookers will be drawn in by the Bronco Overland's roof-top tent, or maybe its powerful, winch-wielding chin. More interesting to us is the tailgate, where a drop-down food prep worktop invites chefs to chop onions and work the portable stove. This solution is more compact and easier to deal with than a full slide-out kitchen, something that could be of particular value when you just want somewhere to rest your Jetboil French press on a frosty-breathed morning. It's a solution that only a handful of other vehicles, like the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes Sprinter, can accommodate since most cars, SUVs and trucks don't have a swing-out tailgate.
Inside the tailgate, Ford mounts an ARB fridge to a slide for easy access. Phoning it in on the other side, Ford just drops down a cooler next to the fridge. We like a full dedicated beer cooler as much as anyone, but that's just inefficient use of space inside a 4x4 mini-camper with no roof or hitch storage attached. MOLLE carriers hung over the inner rear quarter windows keep smaller items organized.
For shelter, the Bronco Overland relies on a simple soft-sided Yakima two-person RTT mounted to a factory rack. Joining it up high are a front Rigid light bar and six Rigid pod lights for lighting the path forward and 360-degree perimeter.
Up front, a Ford Performance modular steel bumper surrounds a Warn winch. At the corners, Ford adds available 35-in BFGoodrich KM3 Mud Terrain tires on 17-in black alloys. Presumably those come with the rest of the Sasquatch package upgrades, which means front and rear diff locks.
Ford doesn't mention any unique tuning of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine or other mechanical upgrades, but with the Badland's advanced 4x4 system, seven-mode G.O.A.T system with rock crawl, and added High-Performance Off-road Stability Suspension (H.O.S.S.) with Bilstein position-sensitive dampers, the Overland concept won't have much trouble finding the quietest, remotest camp spots on and off the map.