A minor detail in an official Ford product video suggested the Bronco 4×4 could be offered as a dual-cab ute – so our designers set about making it an imagined reality
Ford released a video in November that detailed the design process for the Bronco and within it were multiple sketches showing a dual-cab style ute roughing it outdoors.
The sketches appear multiple times during the promotional video which shows a roofless bronco ute with a surfboard loaded in the tray.
While a single drafted drawing could be seen as an experimental idea, the repeated nature of the sketched-out utes being used in a variety of situations suggests Ford designers have given serious consideration to this body style.
The idea of a Bronco ute is so well suited to Australian motoring tastes that our designers set about mocking up what a 2022 Ford Bronco pick-up would look like.
A Bronco-based ute would make perfect sense given the Bronco sits upon the same platform as the current Ford Ranger, which has proven itself to be a capable off-road vehicle in Australia and more recently in the United States.
Ford Australia has flatly denied the possibility of the Bronco coming to Downunder and told Chasing Cars that it is a car designed for the North American market with no consideration for Australia – despite the dedicated 4×4 being built on the same T6 chassis as the Ford Ranger ute available here.
But when Ford Authority spoke to the chief designer of the Bronco, Paul Wraith, he made it clear that building a right-hand drive version would not be difficult.
“We’ve optimised for left-hand-drive, but we did look at right-hand-drive,” he said
“(The) Bronco is intensely famous here in the U.S. but it’s pretty famous, or at least it was famous, elsewhere in the world. We’re always open to do all sorts of things in the future, but right now, we’re left-hand-drive focused.”
Ford chose the T6 chassis as it was similar in dimension and capability to the Bronco’s key rival in the Jeep Wrangler and even imitated some largely Jeep exclusive features such as removable doors that some argued made it unrivalled in the off road segment.
A ute body style then, could be seen as a direct rival to the Jeep Gladiator ute by offering a ladder-frame chassis ute with a proven ability to haul loads and tear through the rough stuff.
Although platforms can often be stretched, the Bronco’s smaller footprint would be noticeably smaller than the Gladiator, with the Ranger ute on which it is based measuring around 200mm shorter than the full-sized Jeep.
When comparing the Bronco and most hardcore variant of the Ford Ranger in the Raptor, it’s clear to see that the American SUV would be the most capable off road.
While the pair naturally share some parts the rear suspension on the Bronco is completely different, forgoing the Raptor’s leaf spring setup for a more capable coil spring and shock absorber setup.
However, the Bronco is notably down on towing capacity with a 1587 kg tow rating only slightly better than most hatchbacks, compared to 2,500 kg in the Ranger Raptor – which is capable of a full 3,500 kg in its regular variants.
But for those who spend more time in the dirt than towing a trailer those numbers are not the ones that matter.
The Bronco is shorter at 4.84 metres and slimmer at 1.94 metres in four-door top-spec Badlands trim compared to the Ranger at 5.4 and two metres respectively, giving it increased maneuverability without providing the interior space of a Suzuki Jimny.
When fitted with the optional 35-inch tyres the Bronco also sits higher than the Raptor, at 292mm vs 283mm, allowing for improved approach (43.2), break-over (26.6) and departure angles (37) than the Ranger Raptor at 32.5, 24 and 24 respectively.
If a Bronco ute does come to fruition we likely will not hear anything about it for some time, with Ford yet to even start manufacturing the two and four-door SUV versions of the off-roader which both have a huge backlog of orders.
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