First drive: 2021 Ford Bronco WildTrak in the UAE
Ford has brought the iconic Bronco name back from the dead. One of the most anticipated cars of the century after a concept was teased way back in 2004, we finally have a new one hit the streets, and got our grubby hands on one.
Rocking a bright yellow paintjob (Ford calls it Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat), our Bronco test car is a stunner. It is the WildTrak trim, so it got the massive 35-inch mud-terrain Goodyear tyres wrapped around 17-inch beadlock-ready wheels. Adding to the appeal is the black exterior graphics standard on the WildTrak trim, which contrasted well with the yellow paint. Camera phones were out while we were receiving delivery of the vehicle.
You can take off all the doors and the whole roof. Ford claims an hour is enough to strip the car fully by one person. We didn’t test that theory fully in our test drive, but the front three roof panels was an easy enough task. The 4-door Bronco has enough space to store the front 3 roof panels and doors in the rear cargo space. It comes with labelled covers as well, to avoid any damage while stored. In the 2-door Bronco, you can only store the 3 roof panels, but not the removable doors.
Inside the Bronco WildTrak, we’re greeted with a big 12-inch screen in the centre console. The dashboard is a simple utilitarian rectangular design, with knobs and buttons instead of annoying touchscreen controls. We are glad Ford installed a proper chunky gear lever instead of buttons or a rotary dial. The interior feels much more roomier than a Wrangler Unlimited, and also offers better visibility at the rear. Do not expect any soft touch materials though. It is pretty much hard plastic everywhere — the drawback of having removable doors and easy-to-wash interior.
Ford’s tech game is on point again, with the latest Sync 4 system which is easy enough to use. It has a wireless charger as well, which are big enough to fit Galaxy Note and IPhone Pro Max phones. There is also a gadget mounting bar available optionally to fit on top of the dashboard, where you can clamp your phone, GoPro or navigation devices.
Under the hood of the Bronco WildTrak, it has a 2.7-litre V6 turbocharged engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. One step above the base 2.3-litre turbo four, the turbo V6 produces 330 hp and 563 Nm of torque. Like the F-150 Raptor fans a few years ago, a few will lament the lack of a V8 option, but this engine packs enough punch for the road and off it. Doing overtaking manoeuvres on the highway never felt like a task. What we always love in Ford products is the instant accelerator pedal response.
In the desert, we took it through its paces on fairly intermediate dunes and power was never an issue.
Our Bronco WildTrak comes equipped with the High Speed Off-Road Suspension System (H.O.S.S.) with Bilstein position-sensitive dampers and stabiliser disconnect system. It also gets electronic front and rear locking differentials, fender flares and lifted suspension. This is basically the “Sasquatch Package” which is offered as standard in this region on the Bronco WildTrak and Bronco Badlands 4-door models.
It comes with a Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T modes. The GOAT stands for “Get Over Any Type of Terrain” and the modes consist of Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, Normal, Mud/Rut, Rock Crawl and Baja. Another good off-road feature is the Trail Turn Assist. The system will reduce your turning radius by applying brakes to the inside rear wheel, provided you are engaging in low-speed high-steering-angle manoeuvres. Our Bronco WildTrak tester had the upgraded optional bash plates as well.
The lack of a solid front axle and an electric assisted rack-and-pinion steering definitely makes the Bronco more livable onroad. Steering inputs are accurate, and doesn’t go overly light and vague like on the Wrangler. We are pleasantly surprised by the level of comfort, even with those fat offroad tyres.
Wind-noise becomes obvious at speeds above 80 kph thanks to the boxy design and door/roof panel-opening features. Tyre noise isn’t as bad as we expected from those mud-terrain tyres, although it’s still very noticeable. The hard top sound-deadening headliner — standard on the WildTrak — surely helps. Engine noise levels were pretty low, with the turbo V6 only letting out a grunt only when the throttle is hammered.
The Ford Bronco WildTrak gets a lot of safety tech as standard. This includes the pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping systems and blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert.
The new Ford Bronco definitely delivers on the hype, and even exceeded on some elements. While the pricing crosses into premium territory (falling in between the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Defender), you also get a whole lot more for that extra money.
Check out the latest prices and updates in the Ford Bronco buyer guide.
Images by Marouf Hussain and Ford.