Buff Horses: Ford Mustang, Bronco experience

We got to drive the next-gen Mustang on the track track and the Bronco on an off-road course.

Buff Horses: Ford Mustang, Bronco experience

When Ford Philippines announced that it was bringing not just the next-gen Mustang but also the all-new Bronco, it was a pleasant surprise. The local market is getting a better pony car, as well as a new tough-as-nails off-roader. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What is the price of the Ford Mustang in the Philippines?

    The Ford Mustang has a price ranging from P3.499 million to P3.999 million in the Philippines.
  • What is the price of the Ford Bronco in the Philippines?

    The Philippine-spec Ford Bronco is priced at P4.998 million.
  • What does the Sasquatch Package provide for the Ford Bronco?

    What Sasquatch Package for the Bronco provides 35-inch mud-terrain tires, 17-inch beadlock wheels, larger fender flares, and a carbonized hardtop.
  • Fast-forward to a few days ago, Ford Philippines invited Zigwheels Philippines to drive the two awesome beasts. The author — along with several members of the local motoring beat — was allowed to use the Mustang to challenge the famed Clark International Speedway (CIS). For the Bronco, meanwhile, I had to opportunity to pilot it through a curated but exciting off-road course along the shores of the Sacobia River. 

    Ford Mustang group shot CIS

    Prior to the heart-pounding Mustang and Bronco drives, the group of media practitioners and influencers participating in the event gathered at Ford Manila. There, they were privileged to receive a briefing from event organizers Ramirez & Cutter Incorporated, a family team led by professional racers and instructors Louis Ramirez and Georges Ramirez. 

    After a stay at Widus Hotel, Jackie Ramirez gave us an additional safety orientation, particularly for the Mustang and Bronco drives. These briefings instilled in us a sense of confidence and readiness for the adventure that awaits. 

    Ford Bronco: Solid off-road cred

    First, the participants were divided into two groups to take turns driving the Bronco and Mustang and vice versa. I got to experience the brawn of the off-roader first. 

    After a short journey from CIS to the Sacobia River, we made our way to a tented area overlooking the prepared off-road course. It consisted of several river crossings, a section where we had to drive along the length of a shallow part of a river, an acceleration test, several steep descents, and the Trail Turn Assist demonstration.

    Ford Bronco river approach

    At a glance, the Ford off-road platform is a feast for the eyes. It came off as an assertive-looking retro-inspired ride that’s macho in any color. Plus, the Sasquatch package, which comes with the model’s locally available Outer Banks trim, further upped the ante by making the ride ready for the boonies. 

    Upon getting behind the wheel of the sports utility vehicle at the course, I immediately noticed that it demonstrated stability thanks to its Bilstein shock absorbers. The grip from its 35-inch mud-terrain tires was also palpable when we drove it through the sandy, rocky, and muddy riverbank. 

    Ford Bronco river

    Notably, the Bronco Outer Banks comes with the “Goes Over Any Type of Terrain” (GOAT) modes. The latter includes normal, sport, slippery, eco, and sand. A convenient dial also allows one to easily choose between 4x4 low, 4x4 high, two-wheel drive mode, and 4x4 automatic. In all 4x4 modes, power is sent to all four wheels via an automatic mechanically locked (50/50 split) transfer case. 

    We mostly used 4x4 high, as the Ford model’s 2.7-liter V8 EcoBoost mill had more than enough grunt to deal with what the course handed to us. 

    At the most, the aforementioned engine can produce up to 330 horsepower and 555 Newton-meters of torque. Gearshifts, meanwhile, are done via a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

    Ford Bronco river

    During the off-road acceleration test, I heard and saw the engine work its magic. It also showed how its turbo winds up effortlessly to provide more go juice during the course’s river wading sections. 

    The most surprising aspect of the Bronco, though, is its Trail Turn Assist feature. This feature is a game changer when it comes to navigating very tight turns, as it can greatly reduce the SUV’s turning radius by up to 25 percent, according to the American car brand. 

    For those curious, the Trail Turn Assist works by automatically applying the brakes of the inner rear wheel during a turn. It made some noises when we used it, but that was normal since we soaked the disc brakes in the river crossings. 

    Ford Bronco hill climb

    In addition, the model easily handled large obstacles like rocks thanks to its abundant 292 millimeters of ground clearance. If that isn’t enough, the off-roader features a 360-degree view function, which one can use to monitor the exterior of the car. 

    We also got turns to ride the Bronco as passengers during the off-road track. Suffice it to say, I found its cabin straightforward but appealing. Most participants didn’t get to use its 12-inch infotainment display all that much, but the eight-inch instrument cluster was clear and concise even as we cajoled the vehicle through rough terrain. Thanks to their chunkiness, its array of toggles and buttons is also easily manipulated. 

    Ford Bronco interior

    The rear seating arrangement, on the other hand, is reasonably comfortable due to its abundance of legroom and elbow room. The aforementioned could’ve used as much bolstering as the front seats, but nevertheless, the sturdy-feeling grab handles were sufficient to keep me planted while testing out the SUV’s hill-descent feature. 

    Overall, the short off-road course was more than enough to prove the Bronco’s off-road cred. It showed agility and stoutness throughout the drive without leaving its driver and occupants wanting more creature comforts. 

    Ford Mustang: Big V8, small roadster energy

    The next-gen Mustang S650 GT, like its predecessor, is a certified American performance car due to its big ol’ 5.0-liter V8. The engine is peppy, offering up to 486 hp and 567 Nm on tap. 

    Traditionally, big V8 cars can sometimes be hard for novices to handle, especially when pushed hard. The American car maker, however, clearly made strides in making the once burly muscle car into a certified track weapon. The latter comes in thanks to a limited-slip differential, a set of Brembo brakes, a new cross-car beam for the front end, and an upgraded version of the brand’s MagneRide Damping System. 

    Ford Mustang front

    As a full disclosure, I am not by any means a skilled racer, so I took on CIS at a steady but relatively slow pace. Regardless, I heard the pleasant pops, crackles, and gurgles coming out of the vehicle’s quad chrome tailpipes at the straight sections, particularly on the long one after the track’s final turn. 

    During the aforementioned part of the track, I also got to test out the car’s drag mode. The acceleration was crisp, and I was able to keep the car straight effortlessly. Likewise, I attempted to slink through the corners of the track at a brisk pace and managed to do so without losing its rear or making the tires squeal too much. The latter is mainly thanks to the Mustang’s very active traction control system. 

    Ford Mustang rear

    When I got some seat time together with Louis Ramirez behind the wheel, however, I got to experience the true face of the next-gen Mustang. And yes, it does appear that the pony car has become more of a threat on the track. 

    For starters, the V8-powered coupe showed great stability when entering specific CIS bends fast. The aforementioned was particularly noticeable when Louis smoothly carved his way through the fourth, sixth, and eleventh turns of CIS. Those are particularly sharp bends, but its MacPherson strut front and independent integral-link suspension managed to stave off most body rolls and the like. 

    Ford Mustang interior

    Mind you, the Mustang GT is a bit heavy for a two-door coupe. Specifically, it tips the scales at up to around 1,730 kilograms. This makes the pony car a fair bit heavier than the Toyota GR Supra and a whole lot more than the current version of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Nevertheless, with the Mustang’s showing at CIS, I can dare say now that might be reaching into roadster territory where dexterity is concerned. 

    Ford Mustang on the track

    After several exhilarating rounds on the race track, I had the chance to gander at the pony car a little bit more. At this point, I noticed the evolved styling of the Mustang, which favored angular edges instead of the bulgy ones of the previous generation model. 

    The interior was pleasant to drive and ride in as well. It has no shortage of tech due to its 12-inch digital instrument cluster and 13-inch central display, the latter of which gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

    Ford Mustang engine

    Finding one’s preferred driving position, however, can be tricky for larger individuals as it does not come with electronically adjustable seats. Nevertheless, the Recaros it comes with are supremely comfortable for any body type. 

    Mustang, Bronco: Variants, price

    Ford Mustang

    • Premium 2.3-liter EcoBoost AT Fastback - P3.499 million
    • GT Premium 5.0-liter AT Fastback - P3.999 million

    Ford Bronco

    • Outer Banks with Sasquatch Package 2.7-liter EcoBoost - P4.998 million

    Final Thoughts

    After driving the Mustang at CIS, it is safe to say that the pony car’s bright future in the Philippine market is looking good. With its tight handling, powerful V8, and sharp styling, it is safe to say that it fits the bill of a head-turning ride with the right stuff to form the basis of a potent track day car.

    The Bronco, meanwhile, offers Ford the opportunity to enter the extreme off-road niche. In other words, the brand may now have a better chance of reaching car buyers who regularly drive through places like General Nakar in Quezon or on the more extreme side of the Sacobia River in Pampanga. 

    Otherwise, the Bronco may likewise fit the bill as a “soft-roader” for the weekend warrior. It is perfect for glamping thanks to the sheer amount of real estate and tech features it provides its occupants. 

    Photos by Cesar Guiderone Miguel

    Also read: 

    Ford PH now carries Bronco badge

    Online reservations for PH-bound Ford Bronco, Mustang now open

     

    Cesar Miguel

    Cesar Miguel

    A car enthusiast who dreams to spread his love of automobiles through writing. If he isn’t penning stories about cars, he usually spends his time in the digital race tracks of Assetto Corsa.

    Read Full Bio

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