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Petrol V6, aluminium panels mooted for Ford Bronco

Brazil hint: The Brazilian Ford Troller is the inspiration for the sixth-generation Ford Bronco, although early Bronco designs have reportedly been knocked on the head for looking too much like Jeep’s Wrangler.

Twin-turbo V6 expected to be at the heart of Ford’s Ranger-based Bronco


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20 Jul 2017

FORD’S born-again Bronco SUV is set to get “something similar” to a twin-turbo 2.7-litre EcoBoost petrol V6 and an aluminium-intensive body sitting on the Australian-engineered Ranger steel ladder chassis, according to a United States report quoting a Ford engineering source.

A modular removable roof that comes away in three sections is also on the cards for the sixth-generation Bronco that Ford has confirmed is due to be launched in North America in 2020.

As well, Ford is “talking about even a hybrid version”, the source reportedly told Gear Patrol.

However, the article also suggests that Ford is having trouble arriving at the final exterior design for the chunky off-roader because initial concepts looked too much like Jeep’s Wrangler.

Ford designers are said to be on their third attempt at the design in a project that apparently has been beset by “paralysis by analysis” and “too many cooks”, according to the report.

GoAuto has been told that the design for Bronco is being masterminded by a Detroit design team with the usual input from design studios around the world, while the engineering – including chassis development – is being done at Ford Asia Pacific Product Development Centre in Australia, in parallel with the next-generation Ranger and Everest that share the Bronco’s platform.

While the Bronco design might have hit hurdles, the engineering development is steaming ahead, particularly development of the V6 powertrain that might be shared with Ranger, at least in North America and the Middle East where the one-tonne pick-up needs a petrol halo engine for the off-road-centric Raptor version.

Ford North America is adamant it does not want the Bronco design to be a mere spin-off of the Australian designed Everest family wagon, rather a more rugged, masculine look, likened to the Brazilian-developed Ford Troller released in South America in 2014.

The Troller is a three-door layout, like a Jeep-ish version of the now-defunct fifth-generation Bronco. Some reports from North America suggest the next Bronco is set to have a five-door body, like the stretched Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that is said to be the benchmark for the new Bronco.

A five-door could sit on the same platform as the Everest, cutting costs.

However, it has been suggested to GoAuto that a short-wheelbase three-door version would have plenty of fans in North America where Ford tradition demands such a design.

The Gear Patrol report appears to confirm that the Bronco will get Ford’s bi-turbo 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 that already does duty in models such as the Ford Fusion (Mondeo), F-150 and Chinese-market Taurus.

This engine currently pumps out a handy 242kW of power and 474Nm of torque, although there’s every chance that these levels might be lifted by 2020 when the Bronco – and Everest – are due to hit the showrooms, about one year after the global arrival of the new Ranger ute.

So far, diesel has not been mentioned in Bronco dispatches, although Ford has such powertrains under development for Ranger and Everest at its You Yangs proving ground southwest of Melbourne.

It would be a relatively simple task to marry one or even two of these new diesels into Bronco, should the business case stand up. The larger F-150 already offers a 3.0-litre V6 diesel – a unit developed in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

The removable roof proposed for Bronco appears to be different to the Jeep Wrangler set-up. While the whole back end of the Jeep’s roof can be taken off and stored in the garage, the Bronco design is apparently more like a huge sunroof, divided into three panels that can be removed.

If this is the case, the sides and rear hatch framework will likely remain permanently fixed, giving the Bronco greater rigidity in the body.

Major exterior panels such as the bonnet, door skins, rear hatch and perhaps the aforementioned roof panels are all expected to be pressed from aluminium for reduced weight to aid fuel consumption and off-road ability.

Ford now has considerable experience with lightweight alloy panels, having introduced this form of body construction on the current F-Series pick-up.

The Gear Patrol report suggests the Bronco “will meet the water-wading depth of 500mm”, which would not be hard, considering the current Ranger is already capable of more than that.

The Ford engineer reportedly said a hardcore Raptor off-road version of the Bronco was “not even in the works yet”.

As GoAuto has reported, a Raptor version of the Ranger is already under test by Ford engineers in Australia, with the vehicle snapped on public roads near Ford’s proving ground.

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