Ford Bronco off-road in a test: Not just for car lovers

Ford Bronco off-road in a test: Not just for car lovers

There are basically two main camps of street car buyers. The first camp buys the machines for large private farms, for agriculture, forestry or animal husbandry. It’s a hard life where cars have nothing to smile about and look their part. The second major camp buys off-road vehicles because they like off-road vehicles, but they don’t necessarily drive off-road, at least not with their favorite vehicle. I already know several Ford Ranger friends who I could tell: If you take care of rust protection, it’s a good car. They bought one. At one point I asked: “So, how do you eat?” No one even drove it on a dirt road. Good color should not beat.


Now Ford is bringing the Bronco to Europe and I’m sure fans will keep it in their hearts. Yes: there is plastic in the interior. This can be easily deleted. But the Bronco has a very good V6, and it comes with a design that closely follows the Bronco’s origins without being boringly retro. On private property you can remove the roof and doors, meaning you can drive with no top at all. However, the main area of ​​​​use of the edge car, which costs around 80,000 flakes, is likely to be cities and frequent, gentle exercises in road parks.

The first thing I did was drive a trip – to measure fuel consumption, but also because road trippers are often used to travel, since the beautiful desert is usually some distance away. Although the hinges are inside the rear panel, the doors on the Bronco can be removed quite easily. Ford places the rearview mirrors in front of the front doors, so they can still be used. The roof can also be removed in several places. Then you would be ready for a photo trip. I don’t want to judge how important this feature is in Germany, because “I want it” is not so much about a benefit, but more often about having it. Everything can be removed to complete the off-road features. However, the roof lock and seal have a disadvantage when it comes to noise, because the wind whistles from about 90 km / h so that it sounds like the door is not closed properly. This means that the Ranger, with its closed car cabin, drives more car-like and quieter on the highway than the Bronco.

The old design is effectively mentioned and still looks modern.
(Photo: Clemens Gleich)

Ford only offers a V6 petrol engine as an engine. It roars well and, with 246 kW (335 hp) and a maximum torque of 563 Nm, it also has enough pressure for the curb weight of 2418 kg EU that Ford specifies for the Badlands variant. Although the ten-speed gearbox usually ensures low speed, when driving well with a Vmax of 130 km / h, the consumption is 12.6 l per 100 km. The cockpit display shows only a little, so it is quite accurate. When the car arrived, the estimate from the transmission was less than 15 liters per 100 km, which may be a more realistic value for the majority of drivers. Less than 12 liters is possible only at low speeds, for example if you drive 100 instead of 130 on the road.

Ford combines the engine with a 79 liter tank and a realistic range estimate. With a good foot on the accelerator as described, there is a good 600 km of freedom. Traveling in the Bronco is a little rocky, but comfortable. However, I’d recommend the current Defender over the diesel for those who eat up the kilometres, as it’s much better in the cruising segment and still offers good rough-road suitability at the destination – although it can’t handle tough off-road routes. the same level as the Bronco.

Like the Ranger, the Bronco has two wishbones in the front and a solid axle in the rear. Unlike the Ranger, however, the solid axle in the Bronco has coil springs instead of leaf springs and is guided by control arms (and Panhard rods). The combination of independent suspension at the front and rigid axle at the rear has proven itself well in pictures and ATVs. If you still want a solid front axle in the Bronco’s weight class, you have to use the American competitor Jeep Wrangler.

The variant of the tested, more expensive equipment “Badlands” brings a better chassis and more off-road tricks: differential locks front and rear and a servo separates the transverse stabilizer for maximum expression (only in the slow speed range up to 32). km/h). To ensure that the resulting interfaces remain easy to use, Ford places many of the key settings on the mode selection dial in the middle. This worked well for me and usually just one button press is enough to fully adjust the system to the current state.

The details from the angular car are good, the areas that have to be hidden show the camera, as is common today. In general, the Bronco can do more off-road work than the Ranger, because of the equipment, but above all because of the banal: It has only a short overhang at the back, while the platform of the Ranger at the back (especially with the towing bar) sits very far so that he likes to fear through the mud.

The cabin is dominated by rubber, plastic and leather on the seats. Until now, so the United States. After using them for a while, I found the rubber fasteners to be very useful because dirt cannot collect in the cracks. The steering wheel buttons in particular are completely protected and printed in such a way that you can operate them blindly even with dirty gloves and then clean them with a wipe (disclaimer: it does not apply to all steering wheels). Handles in front of the console and behind the B-pillar help when entering and when rocking rocks. The rubber cover has a good grip. There is a drain opening under the car felt floor to match the removable roof.

Handles solid, with rubber in the middle and outside


Ford’s “Sync” infotainment system works on the center console, which I generally like a lot, even if I know there are other opinions in the editorial team. The biggest weakness is the useless voice control, which can be compensated for by Alexa integration or by using Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. In my opinion, the power of Sync is a well-thought-out touch operation and a clear display without any frills. Traffic guidance based on real-time traffic data on my test routes was similar to Google navigation (which the Ford Group plans for the future, see Lincoln Nautilus).

Parking in the city. People love him, secretly, but deeply. There were two Defenders on the same street.

(Photo: Clemens Gleich)

For fans of American roadsters, Ford has done a lot of things right. The Bronco is easy to like and offers so much off-road capability that the Ranger utility vehicle is worth recommending at half the price. After all, in practice, low price is the most important feature of the road. There is a bit of tragedy in this: Why do road cruisers cost more than 70,000 euros today? At these rates it is clear that no one wants to destroy their painting on the rocks. The big street vendors have become children of the city, their pants are always clean, their knees are always unbeaten. In the big city, the Bronco attracted more interesting looks, and at urban distances the fuel consumption is not very noticeable. In this regard, Ford, Jeep and Mercedes did everything right.

Ford Bronco Badlands costs from 78,500 euros.

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