Sixth-generation Ford Bronco debuts – two EcoBoost petrols, removable panels and washable interior –

Here it is, after much teasing, the all-new, sixth-generation 2021 Ford Bronco has arrived. Traditionally a two-door ladder-frame off off-roader, the latest-generation Bronco is also available as a four-door version, and both are based on the T6 platform that also underpins the current Ford Ranger.

At launch, the 2021 Bronco comes with a choice of two petrol engines; an inline-four and a V6. The first is a 2.3 liter EcoBoost turbocharged unit that produces 270 hp and 420 Nm of torque, while the other is a 2.7 litre EcoBoost turbo producing 310 hp and 542 Nm of torque. A Getrag seven-speed manual gearbox is available for the 2.3 litre version only, while a 10-speed automatic transmission is available for both engine variants.

Both two- and four-door Bronco models are offered in seven trim levels – the base variant, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, Badlands and the limited-run First Edition, which will be capped at a total of 3,500 units. The base variant two-door Bronco starts from US$29,995 (RM128,093), while the base four-door starts from US$34,695 (RM148,165).

All Bronco variants get a Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. (Go Over Any type of Terrain) modes, starting with five modes in the base variant, six in the Big Bend and Outer Banks variants, seven in the Black Diamond, Badlands and First Edition variants; these include a Baja mode for the Wildtrak, and Rock Crawl and Baja for the Badlands and First Edition variants.

The seven-speed manual is described as a six-plus-one transmission, essentially a six-speeder with the addition of a low-range crawler gear. The ratio for first is 4.283:1, while the crawler gear gives a 6.588:1 ratio. For reference, reverse gear is 5.625:1.

Two choices of transfer case are offered. The standard unit is a 4X4 with part-time selectable engagement, offering two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly with a 2.72:1 low ratio, while the option is 4X4 automatic on-demand 4H engagement and a two-speed electromechanical transfer case with a 3.06:1 low ratio. When the manual is paired with the electromechanical transfer case, this gives a crawl ratio of 94:1, says Ford.

Available segment-exclusive semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar disconnect provides maximum articulation and increased ramp angle index for off-camber terrain. This innovative system bests competitors by disconnecting during articulation. Closeup of the 2021 Bronco independent front suspension featuring two forged aluminum alloy A-arms and available Bilstein long-travel position-sensitive dampers with end-stop control valves. 2021 Bronco chassis and powertrain with 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission and Sasquatch Package suspension and tires. 2021 Bronco rear chassis with five-link solid axle, available Bilstein coil-over shock absorbers and M220 Dana 44 differential with electronic locking.

A Dana 44 solid rear axle with a five-link coil spring setup is paired with the front independent suspension with alloy A-arms, while Bilstein position-sensitive dampers feature front and rear, and selected models get the stabiliser bar disconnect function. Both ends can be optionally specified with Spicer Performa-Tek electronically locking differentials.

In terms of rolling stock, the base variant starts with 255/70 tyres on 16-inch silver painted steel wheels, while the Big Bend steps up to 255/75 tyres on 17-inch aluminium wheels in Carbonized Gray. Two choices are available for the Black Diamond; a 17-inch gloss black painted steel wheel or a high-gloss black painted aluminium wheel, and both are shod in 265/70 tyres.

The Outer Banks variant gets 255/70 tyres on 18-inch machined and black high-gloss painted aluminium wheels, while the Badlands variant gets 17-inch machined and Carbonized Gray finish aluminium wheels. Rounding up the wheelset choices are the beadlock-capable, 17-inch black high-gloss painted forged aluminium wheels, which are optional on the Badlands and standard on the Wildtrak and First Edition.

As part of the Sasquatch Package, the beadlock-capable forged aluminium wheels are mounted with 315/70 mud terrain tyres, and this package also includes the electronic locking differentials, 4.70:1 final drive ratio, high-clearance suspension, the position-sensitive Bilstein dampers and high-clearance fender flares. This package can be specified on all variants, and is standard on the Wildtrak, Badlands and First Edition.

In terms of bodywork, the two-door model comes with a removable three-section roof, left and right front sections and a rear section, or a premium painted modular four-section top that adds a removable panel over the rear seats and cargo area. Meanwhile, the four-door model has four removable roof sections, comprised of left and right front panels, a full-width centre panel and a rear section panel.

All Bronco variants come with removable doors, and the cowl-mounted mirrors ensure rearward visibility is retained when the doors are removed. For the four-door models, all four doors can be stowed away in the Bronco in protective door bags. Trail sights on the front fenders also double as tie-down points, and can take loads of up to 150 pounds (68 kg).

Inside, grab handles are integrated into the modular instrument panel and centre console, while Molle hooks can be specified into the seat backs. Attachment points built into the instrument panel lets users mount their on mobile device rack, and 12-volt outlets throughout the vehicle help power cameras, phones, navigation devices or others, says Ford.

The Bronco also gets the 12-inch Sync 4 infotainment system that supports over-the-air updates and integration with the FordPass Performance app with off-road navigation, and the Sync system also displays the 360-degree camera feed with ‘off-road spotter’ views to help in more technical terrain, such as during rock crawls.

Features on the top Lux package include a 10-speaker B&O sound system, a heated steering wheel, two additional USB smart charging ports, voice activated touchscreen navigation and a wireless charging pad.

Selected Bronco variants get washable rubberised floors with integrated drainage to allow hosing down a soiled interior, along with marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces to resist mildew. The dashboard-mounted hero switches fature seamless silicone rubber, while the overhead-mounted upfitter switches are also silicone sealed to protect against the elements and enable customisation with pre-wired leads to key accessory points, says Ford.

Safety kit on the six-generation Bronco includes front airbags, integrated side curtain airbags within the upper structure, roll stability control and trailer sway control. The Mid pack adds Co-Pilot360 with pre-collision assist and AEB, BLIS with cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, auto high-beam headlamps and rear view camera with assistant gridlines. The High pack adds a 360-degree camera system, Forward Sensing System and side mirror LEDS, while the Lux pack adds Evasive Steering Assist.

Available in 11 exterior colours, the 2021 Bronco can be fitted with more than 200 dealer-installable accessories, along with the Mid, High and Lux packages depending on variant. The sixth-generation Ford Bronco follows it predecessors in being built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, and Ford has started taking reservations online for both two- and four-door models for a fee of US$100 (RM427).

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