Ford Bronco Concept Unveiled at 2004 Naias
Incorporating key design features reminiscent of the original Ford Bronco, Ford re-explored the roots of the popular sport utility vehicle in a concept that made its debut at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. Some of the more obvious features included a boxy, upright roofline; a short wheelbase; round headlamps; and the Bronco nameplate milled into the modern three-bar grille. Other similarities to its predecessor include exposed door hinges, cowl vents, and flared wheelwells.
Although the Bronco Concept shares a few visual cues with the early Bronco, the likeness between the two wanes a bit once you examine the driveline. Ford borrowed from its European product range and produced a 2.0L common-rail Duratorq TDCi engine. The 16-valve turbodiesel mill is mated to a six-speed Power Shift transmission and a fully automatic Intelligent 4WD system. This new 4WD system, which will be seen in production on the '05 Ford Escape, uses a fully computer-controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels only as needed. Yes, that's right, the Bronco Concept is driven by its front wheels in normal conditions. Using sensors at each wheel and the accelerator pedal, the system's computer calculates exactly how much torque to send to the rear wheels to minimize slip.
Aside from looking pretty cool and probably being an on-road-worthy SUV, the Bronco Concept is a little far off from what most of us expected. Nonetheless, it is an effort to capture the past. Ford built the rig to showcase its advancing powertrain technology and not necessarily to appease all of us early Bronco junkies dying for something usable on the trail. You never know, though. We're pretty sure we could make it into something if given the chance.
'05 Grand Cherokee Spied
We've been hearing news of a new DaimlerChrysler launch for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. After changing the launch date a number of times, sources now tell us that the company will offer a new Grand Cherokee at North American dealerships as early as November. The '05 Grand Cherokee WK will feature a longer wheelbase, a new independent front suspension, and an optional 350hp 5.7L Hemi V-8. A longer seven-passenger version of the WK is likely to follow the launch as an '06 model and may be designated as the Grand Wagoneer.
Uroc Sanctions NEUROC in 2004
As the sport of rockcrawling continues to evolve, more and more organizations are adopting a standardized set of rules developed by one sanctioning body. The Northeast USA Rock Crawling and Off-road Championship (NEUROC) organization is the latest to announce such an affiliation with the United Rock Crawling and Off-road Challenge (UROC). The NEUROC series offers a total of five two-day events, in addition to one two-day women's event. All the competitions are scheduled to take place at Paragon Adventure Park in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, except for two, which will make stops at Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana, and in Jellico, Tennessee. Classes are available for stock, modified, and super-modified vehicles as both professional and sportsman entries. UROC's sanctioning of the 2004 NEUROC events allows winning competitors eligibility for other UROC championship events, including Super Crawl II, the Extreme Rock Crawling Nationals, and the UROC Pro Nationals. For more information, check out www.neuroc.com and www.uroc.com.
|NEUROC 2004 EVENTS|
|5/22-23||Paragon AP, Hazelton, PA|
|6/5-6|| Badlands Off Road Park, |
|7/10-11||Paragon AP, Hazelton, PA|
|8/28-29||Women’s event at Paragon |
AP, Hazelton, PA
|10/30-31||Finals at Paragon AP, |
The '04.5 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Based on the Wrangler Sport model, the new '04.5 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will sell for a base MSRP of $24,995. The selling price positions it between the Wrangler Sport and Sahara models, and expands the already formidable Wrangler lineup, which ranges from the base Wrangler SE model ($16,940) to the top-of-the-line Sahara ($25,580) and the rugged Rubicon ($25,755). Due to its longer 103-inch wheelbase, the Unlimited is said to provide more space for passengers, best-in-class towing capability, and more on-road ride comfort.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is built at the company's Toledo South Assembly plant in Ohio and will be offered in North American markets only. Standard equipment on the Unlimited reads like a wish list of parts for any Jeep buyer. In addition to the 4.0L Power Tech I-6 engine and 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission, the Unlimited uses a Dana 30 front axle and a heavy-duty Dana 44 rear axle with a 3.73 axle ratio, 30-inch Goodyear Wrangler GSA tires, 15-inch Ravine aluminum wheels, high-pressure gas-charged shocks, a Sunrider soft top, foglamps, full steel doors, easy-access tip-and-slide front seats, a fold-and-tumble rear seat, front and rear floor mats, next-generation airbags, power steering, and tow hooks.