Ford previews its triple-model "Built Wild" Bronco lineup
The all-new Ford Bronco debut got pushed back, first by COVID-19, and then by unfortunate rescheduling on O.J. Simpson's birthday. But we're now down to one week until the highly anticipated new Bronco finally arrives. Today, Ford revealed the shape of things to come. Make that "shapes," as Ford teases a three-model family to include a playful two-door with removable top, a long, sturdy four-door and something of a Bronco crossover.
Much like the Jeep Wrangler with which it will go head-to-head, the Ford Bronco has its roots in the military vehicles of World War II. Ford built its first off-road utility vehicles for a US Army contract, supplying some 270,000 small, rugged General Purpose (GP) vehicles. After the war, returning GIs looking for a rugged little vehicle of their own began purchasing surplus GPs.
Ford research revealed that buyers found the military vehicles too small and uncomfortable for everyday driving, so it developed a more comfortable consumer-grade 4x4 and introduced the 1966 Bronco as a "completely new line of sports-utility vehicles" in 1965. Just four years later, the Bronco propelled Rod Hall and Larry Minor to an overall victory at the Baja 1000. Ford has already returned to its off-road racing roots with the new Bronco.
The Bronco evolved across five generations before Ford discontinued it in `1996. Though the 4x4 lost its small, GP-inspired roots when it became a full-size SUV at the outset of its second generation in 1977, it never abandoned its two-door body-on-frame configuration.
Ford is holding the juicy details for the official Bronco debut event next week, but today it revealed the shape and configuration of Broncos to come. The silhouettes in the shadows of fading sunlight start at left with an all-out two-door Wrangler competitor with squared-off dimensions, short overhangs, an airy design with removable top and doors, and a spare tire on back. Ford's first-ever Bronco four-door is equally rugged, but with a longer, larger build.
The Bronco Sport at the right features a more rounded, modern small SUV appearance and looks like it will be the choice for drivers and families looking for something with more road-friendly looks and manners. It'll still feature the same tough, G.O.A.T. (go over any type of terrain) "Built Wild" off-road engineering as the other Broncos, though.
The new Bronco will be built on a version of Ford's global T6 body-on-frame truck architecture that also underpins the Ranger. Four-wheel drive will be standard across the line, and an exclusive terrain management system will further enhance capabilities.
"Rugged vehicles are in our heritage and we see strong growth opportunities with this ever-more popular segment," said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, Americas and International Markets Group. "We’ve leveraged extensive off-road experience from vehicles like our F-150 Raptor to ensure that every Bronco delivers the ‘Built Wild’ toughness and durability our customers expect."
The vehicle lineup ends there, but the extended Bronco family will keep growing. Ford is making Bronco a complete outdoor lifestyle brand to include various licensed hard and soft goods available at amazon.com/fordbronco. It'll also slap the brand on a series of four "Bronco Off-Roadeos," 4x4ing and adventure centers where Bronco owners and enthusiasts will be able to put the utility vehicle through its paces. And there's also the Bronco Nation online enthusiast community.
Interested buyers will be able to reserve the first Broncos with a US$100 refundable deposit when the new truck goes live on Monday, July 13 at 8 p.m. EDT. Instead of the online premiere that's become the standard for automakers during COVID-19 times, Ford will reveal the Bronco through three short films airing on respective Disney networks: ABC, ESPN and National Geographic. The three-minute films will run during the first commercial break of the 8 p.m. time slot and will be available for on-demand viewing through Hulu starting July 14.