FORD is missing a trick this week – in fact, I think it’s missing two.
Yesterday – in a build-up that was leaked all over the internet to excitable motoring types! – it unveiled a new off-roader directly inspired by one of its big hits of the Sixties. Yes, I know that’s exactly what the Mustang Mach-E purports to do, but the new Bronco is a very different beast.
It’s a big, knobbly off-roader that’s unashamedly retro – yet the chaps in Detroit have no plans to ship it over here.
Which, I reckon, is a mistake – sorry, chaps and chap-ettes, you can have the new Kuga instead. What are you missing?
Well, it’s going to be available in two-door form, including as a convertible, or you can spend it a bit more and get it as a fully-fledged, five-door mudplugger that sort of looks like the new Land Rover Defender described to an American over the phone.
It also closely resembles the first-generation Bronco (again, not sold here) of more than 50 years ago, but the tech’s rather more up to date. Inside there’s an 8-inch or 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system rigged up to Ford’s latest tech, and under the skin most of the oily bits are shared with the Ranger pick-up truck. There’s also a toned-down smaller model, the Bronco Sport, going on sale early next year too. The worst bit? In the States, the base model costs $29,995. I know that US cars always cost more when they cross the Atlantic, but if you convert that price into Her Majesty’s English that’s about the same as a mid-range Skoda Karoq.
The only thing likely to get any of our American friends fired up is the conspicuous absence of a V8 under the hood – sorry, bonnet – but it does have the option of either a 266bhp, 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine closely related to the one you used to get in the Focus RS, or a 2.7-litre V6 sending 306bhp to all four wheels. Ford has also said that some point it’ll get around to offering it in hybrid form too, but I reckon it’d stand a much better chance here if they’d just gone all-electric from the off and offered a Bronco-E too. Or at the very least, gone back to the aforementioned Ranger and robbed its excellent Duratorq turbodiesel lump. If we’re allowed the Land Rover Defender and the Ineos Grenadier, why aren’t we allowed this as well?
The Bronco, once its steering wheel’s on the correct side and it’s fitted with some Boris-friendly engines, deserves to do well here. It looks great and it has character – something you can’t say about many new motors in 2020.
Surely if Ford can bring the Mustang over here, and in right-hand drive, it can do the same with this, especially as Britain is now a country obsessed with cars that look like off-roaders.
No doubt it’ll be a hit in a Southport, Connecticut, and Crosby, Alabama, but what about Southport and Crosby right here?
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly