PHOTOS BY TIM PLOUFF

On the Road Review: Ford Bronco Sasquatch



The Alexander family has a strong connection to Ford Broncos. Which isn’t unusual all by itself, as many American families are anxiously anticipating their new Bronco, Ford’s latest activity SUV that is a spot-on designer’s imitation of the original. It’s just that the three generations of Alexander Bronco enthusiasts are pretty much a group of die-hard GM consumers, with multiple GM Big-dually pickup trucks, collector C-10s, a Camaro SS, plus other assorted GM products, as well as a race shop full of small-block Chevy-powered stock cars.

Brett Alexander is the driving force behind all things Bronco, acquiring his first ’66 in 1993 — a California model off-roader that was his daily driver for 10 years. Now dad Bob’s current project truck, and hunting buddy, its original blue paint has been replaced by a certain faded patina of orange. Brett’s third Bronco, another ’66 after a lengthy stint with a full-size ’83 Bronco, is now an impressively restored/resto-mod and son Wyatt’s prized possession. This silver beauty is a drop-dead template for the current Bronco Sasquatch model that we sampled; the proportions, the stance, the same beadlock rims, the upright glass and removable doors, right down to mimicking the front grille. No wonder Bronco fans are so excited to embrace the new Ford.

So, while our two-door Bronco Advanced, with the base 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder and optional Sasquatch off-road package (beadlock rims, 35-inch tires, Bilstein shocks, front- and rear-locking diffs, sway-bar disconnect) appeared Downeast, so did the Alexanders’ fourth Bronco — a brand new four-door Badlands Sasquatch with the optional 330-hp twin-turbo V-6. Broncos for all!

Ford has taken great pains to reach into the deep well of appeal that Jeep has plumbed for several decades, creating a competitor that will expand the segment. The Bronco is slightly larger dimensionally but feels much roomier inside. The wider stance, with an independent front suspension, translates into smoother and more controlled driving dynamics over the Wrangler, while the Ford also affords better visibility. Rear seat space is more than adequate for adults — in two-door or four-door models, while the latter offers 50 percent more cargo room.

Interior accommodations are often personal choice matters, with the Ford giving consumers an alternative design that embraces the off-road lifestyle with materials, controls and features that will be appreciated by true mudders as well as families with kids. The doors are removable, our sectional hard-top too, while both rivals utilize the same split window/rear-swinging gate design.

Power is very lineal, with the 10-speed automatic capably handling any acceleration requests. A seven-speed manual is available for this engine, while the automatic is standard on the V-6. Every Bronco features a new AWD setup in the 4WD control, which will improve stormy driving traction as well as foul weather fuel economy. Two winter events let the Bronco demonstrate the viability of having four-wheel traction ready to work, before you need to lock the control into 4WD. Kudos to Ford for making this relevant addition.

PHOTO BY TIM PLOUFF

Sync 4, with over-the-air updates, FordPass Connect with Wi-Fi, plus two different sized IP screens can cover the info/entertainment needs of buyers at each end of the price spectrum. Standard push-button start, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, pre-collision braking assist, rear camera and terrain management G.O.A.T. mode dial all reflect big technology gains over the original Bronco. The automatic stop-start function could disappear, however, but at least you can turn it off.

Early Broncos have been affected by some teething issues with the roof vendor, for both soft-top and hard-top models. Our early production tester reflected the problem, which is steady state road noise leaking past the frameless doors. Ford promises a fix has been executed for later production vehicles.

Bronco pricing starts at $30,795 for a two-door. Big Bend model models begin at $35,280 while top WildTrak editions start at $49,275. Four-door models add between $2,500 and $4,700 depending upon model selected. EPA mileage estimates are roughly 16/22 mpg (variations with the large tires, transmissions, etc.) while we witnessed 15-18 mpg under cold, white weather.

There is an unmistakable aura surrounding the new Bronco. Consumers have been couped up for over two years. They are yearning to get back to living, to be free, and the outdoors promises both. Ford’s new Bronco is well-suited to making great adventure memories while creating more enthusiastic families like the Alexanders.

Next week: Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff

Columnist at The Ellsworth American
Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles in the pages of The Ellsworth American weekly for nearly two decades.

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