After a quarter-century hiatus, the the first new Ford Broncos are stampeding back into the automotive market with two- and four-door configurations, terrain-tackling capability and head-turning retro styling.
Ford presumably has been paying attention to the surging interest in '60s and '70s-era Bronco restomods, because the off-roaders appear to be a faithfully updated rendition of the original, with a boxy body, raised stance and the signature "Bronco" grille.
Power comes from either a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that's tuned to produce 310 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque of torque, or a turbo-charged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces 270 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque.
A 10-speed automatic will likely be the most popular transmission, but in keeping with an old-school feel, Ford is also offering a manual "6+1" gearbox, which is essentially a six-speed manual with a dedicated crawler gear for maximum low-speed maneuvering on the most treacherous trails.
A base system utilizes a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, but a more advanced two-speed electromechanical transfer case that allows drivers to select between two- and four-high is optional.
Two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system divided into left, right and rear panels. Four-door models have four removable roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section. A cloth soft top is standard on the four-door, but it can be ordered with both a soft- and hardtop.
Speaking to CNET's Road Show, a Ford rep said that the roof's take-down process takes less time than the Jeep Wrangler's. However, unlike the Chrysler-made competitor's, the front window can't be folded down.
Frameless doors can be stored onboard with protective door bags without losing visibility, thanks to cowl-mounted mirrors. And like the first-generation Bronco, trail sights on the front fenders also serve as tie-downs capable of supporting items weighing up to 150 pounds, like canoes or other outdoor equipment. .
The Bronco's cockpit features a multifunction color LCD instrument panel above the transmission shifter/selector and a modes controller in the center console. Available tactical MOLLE hooks are mounted in the seat backs with attachment points built into the instrument panel, along with 12-volt power connections to easily mount cameras, navigation units, phones or other devices.
Six different trims—Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, and Badlands—feature a number of upgrades like smart keyless access, carbon-gray accents, bigger tires, different terrain modes, heftier suspensions, and more.
More details will be available at launch, but Ford did reveal that the price for the most basic two-door Bronco is set at $29,995, while the range-topping Wildtrak four-door costs $50,370. Refundable reservations can now be made online for $100.