Ford won’t kick off customer deliveries of the new Bronco until next spring, so there’s still plenty of time to make final adjustments and optimizations. One of the best ways to test the capabilities of a hardcore off-roader is by traveling to the 22-mile-long Rubicon Trail to abuse pre-production prototypes. The Blue Oval did just that with a couple of test vehicles in the Badlands specification with two and four doors.
As you can clearly see from the adjacent footage provided by Bronco6G.com, these prototypes took a serious beating while rock climbing and have plenty of battle scars all over their bodies and skid plates. Aside from checking out the Bronco’s off-road chops in the real world, we also get to observe Ford at work as the video on top shows an engineer in the passenger seat working on a laptop.
The video above is interesting for a different reason – the manual transmission. It’s a seven-speed ‘box with crawler gear for which there’s an ongoing petition to make it available across the range, including in combination with the off-road Sasquatch package. It’s worth mentioning none of the prototypes had the optional Sasquatch package, meaning they all had 33-inch tires instead of the 35-inch set. The Bronco 2-Door sat on BFG AT rubber while its more practical sibling came equipped with Goodyear MT tires.
It’s unlikely many of the 150,000+ people who have so far lined up to buy a Bronco will head to the Rubicon Trail on day one to put its off-road credentials to the test. That being said, it’s comforting to know Ford’s Wrangler competitor has what it takes to tackle some of the most difficult terrains when push comes to shove.
The adjacent footage from Northern California shows that Bronco’s off-road prowess is unquestionable and serves as further proof Ford is finally ready to take on Jeep. Rumor has it the Bronco revival will also include going after the Wrangler-based Gladiator with a pickup truck expected as early as 2022.