I fondly remember my Ford Bronco. It was white, tall and had flame decals on a bonnet as flat as Bonneville. With “Built Ford Tough” plastered on the sides, it towered over my garage, of Matchbox cars. Americans would have missed the butch 4×4 even more, I can imagine. Not only is the Bronco a well-loved old name, with low oil prices and appetite for SUVs high and still climbing, this is as right a season as any for a revival.
Which is what Ford will be doing. At its press event at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Blue Oval has announced that it will be reviving the Bronco – a new one is set to surface in 2020. It will be built on the same platform as the next-generation Ranger midsize truck, which will be returning to North America in 2019. Of course, both will be Made in USA, an important point in the current context.
“There is so much love out there for the Bronco. If you look at that rugged SUV segment, over the last five years it’s like the second-fastest-growing segment within SUVs,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told USA Today.
The Bronco has always been a small, three-door 4×4, and it’s unlikely that Ford will change the format for the reborn icon – there are other SUVs in its range for more conventional needs. Being based on a pick-up truck and described as a “no compromise midsize 4×4” would mean that the modern Bronco will have decent off-road capabilities. Ford says that it will be a “global model”, which means that there’s a chance for us to get our hands on a (real) Bronco.
“This is a no-compromise, midsize, 4×4 utility for the thrill-seekers who want freedom and off-road functionality with the space and versatility of an SUV. The Bronco is capable of conquering everything from your daily commute to gravel roads and boulders,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford’s Americas division.
After five generations and three decades in American showrooms, the Bronco was retired in 1996. In 2004, Ford wheeled out a Bronco concept, but little came out of that.
GALLERY: 2004 Ford Bronco Concept