COLUMN: After 25 years out to pasture, the Ford Bronco has returned to the rodeo!
After 25 years out to pasture, the Ford Bronco has returned to the rodeo!
And what a comeback! Ford engineers have brought tough competition to the game in response to its chief rival: the immensely successful and iconic Jeep Wrangler.
The Bronco Sport version (Badlands 4X4 trim) Ford gave us comes with rough-and-ready looks and off-road prowess.
Though offered with a base 1.5-liter 3-cylinder power train, our Bronco had plenty more muscle with its 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecoboost inline 4-cylinder engine. It pumps out 250 horsepower @ 5500 rpm and 277 pounds-feet of torque @ 3000 rpm.
EcoBoost is essentially twin turbochargers and a small-displacement engine working in tandem with gas-direct injection to produce a powerful but fuel-efficient engine.
It’s mated to the standard lively 8-speed auto gear box. An independent MacPherson strut front end with tuned struts and stabilizer bar, and rear double lateral link semi-trailing arms suspension, isolate occupants from road noise and imperfections to ensure a safe jaunt.
Providing superb on-center feel to the driver is an electric power system. G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) modes are normal, eco, sport, slippery, sand, mud/ruts and rock crawl.
Up front, rounded LED headlights flank the signature cartridge gray grille with BRONCO etched in white letters. Metal bash plates, front tow hooks, active grille shutters and mainly short front and rear overhangs convey off-road prowess of a vehicle that can wade through 23.6 inches of water.
The cabin, though comfy, offers features such as rubberized flooring (and cargo area too) and zipper pockets (with Molle straps) for extra gear that proves it’s safe to venture into nomad land.
Other goodies include:
• tilt/telescopic steering column;
• 60/40 split fold rear seat;
• power lift gate;
• paddle shifters;
• eight-way power and six-way manual front passenger heated seats;
• second-row under seat storage bin;
• eight cup holders;
• a 6.5-inch instrument panel, Sync3, which accesses audio, telephone, navigation controls via a voice command,
• and the 8-inch touchscreen tap or button click are simple to use.
The standard Ford CoPilot360 bundles together driver-assist safety features such as blind spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, pre-collision and lane-keep aid with auto emergency brake, auto high beams, and rearview camera. Also included are dual front and side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic stability and traction control, front 180-degree camera, trail control (essentially cruise control while off-roading), tire pressure monitor, and daytime running lights.
The Bronco’s gallop back into the wilderness, this time with the Sport 4X4, is a tremendous and much-needed addition to the already-impressive Ford lineup. If you like to go off the beaten path or customize your vehicle (as in Jeep), the exciting and cool Bronco offers endless choices.
Kudos, Ford engineers! It’s a job well done!
Nitish S. Rele operates motoringtampabay.com and Khaas Baat, and was an automotive editor/columnist for the Tampa Tribune. Email him at email@example.com.