It has been a long journey for the 2021 Ford Bronco, with the revived off-roader overcoming a number of hurdles. This include a relentless assault of digital leaks, as well as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But at long last, Ford has taken the wraps off of the 2021 Ford Bronco, and we are proud to say the wait was indeed worth it.
The exterior styling of the 2021 Ford Bronco oozes retro, and is a very stylish time warp to the 1960s, with many of its core styling elements. The squareish profile, short overhangs, and wide stance are classic nods to the original, but while the two door version is a nod to style. The four door version is a modern concession to the needs of family buyers. It still does a good job of looking the part though, with the classic profile remaining largely intact. That profile also benefits from modern technology, including round LED headlights which feature an accompanying LED strip that helps connect both ends. Squareish gunmetal hued trim further compliments the grille, and Ford is promising eight different color options for Bronco (including two different shades of red) so look for this particular styling touch to really pop with certain color combinations.
The rear fascia features LED taillights, and like the Jeep Wrangler, the Bronco puts function over form, with the elements back there working well with the function focused design. However, Ford did not forget the aftermarket customers that like customizing their rigs, and has added a number of features to help make the process easier for them. This includes a modular design for the large open wheel wells, which quickly detach from the Bronco via a quick release mechanism. This quick release capability was also fitted into the removable roof panels, with the two-door model featuring a standard three-piece arraignment (two front sections and a big rear piece.) The bigger four door model has four removable panels, with a big center piece joining the fore-mentioned panels. Ford claims that the roof panels can easily be removed by one person by unlocking the interior mounted latches, this is somewhat different than the Wrangler, which does use latches for the front panels, but forces owners to use tools to unscrew and formally remove the rear roof panel.
The 2021 Ford Bronco comes with either the modular hardtop, or a cloth soft top, but configuration will play a key role in what can be equipped to it, with the two door Bronco only offering the modular hardtop. Four door models in contrast, features a standard cloth top, but buyers that don’t want to choose, can equip their rig with both. The doors are also removable, with the four door Bronco having the ability to store the doors onboard with protective door bags. Segment exclusive cowl mounted mirrors help retain good amounts of visibility when the doors are removed versus the Wrangler, and they also help make the doors less awkward to store thanks to the absent mirror housing.
Just like the exterior, the interior is also purpose built, and ready for trail busting. The design is very simple and clean, with much of its inspiration coming from the first generation Bronco. The instrument panel is a very prominent example of this, with all controls and switches laid out in a way that not only makes them easily spotted at a glance by drivers, but also promotes intuitiveness as well. Ford claims that the interior colors were inspired both by natural elements, and rugged outdoor gear. With off-roading being the paramount objective for the Bronco, it should come as no surprise that the materials here are very strong, and are durable enough to endure a wide range of extremes.
A 12-inch infotainment screen is paired with Ford’s SYNC 4 system, and it comes equipped with over the air update capability, as well as easy access to Ford’s ForPass Performance App. This app comes bundled with off-road navigation (a Bronco exclusive feature) that allows owners to not only plan and navigate backroads, but also easily share their off-road adventures via social media. The Bronco also comes equipped with a 360 degree camera system that features an off-road spotter function to help provide an extra set of eyes for certain off-road activities including rock crawling.
But ultimately, performance will be the measuring stick for the Bronco, and Ford engineers were determined to make sure that the SUV could indeed live up to the “Built Wild moniker.” With the Bronco sharing its lineage with the Ford Ranger pickup, it’s pretty academic to see that the 2.3 liter EcoBoost four cylinder serves as the base engine. As is the case with Ranger, the engine makes 270 horsepower, and 310 lb-ft of torque, with that latter figure being the best in its segment. Buyers looking for more power can opt for the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6, with that engine producing 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7 has already proven to be a breakout star in the Ford F-150, and look for it to be just as potent of a sales force in the Bronco. Ford pairs these engines with either a segment exclusive 7-speed manual gearbox, or an optional 10-speed automatic. Both transmissions have been fortified for Bronco duty, and Ford claims that they will give the Bronco the optimal combination of power, torque, and gear ranges to perform in virtually any terrain.
Drivers can choose from up to seven different drive modes (G.O.A.T modes in Ford speak) with Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand. Further enhancing things are Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl sub modes for formal off-road driving. Two different 4×4 systems will be offered on the Bronco, with the base system featuring a two-speed shift on the fly electronic transfer case. However, buyers that opt for the more advanced 4×4 system will be rewarded with a two speed electro mechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H modes. Power is channeled to the wheels through a Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle, and a Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit. Both can be equipped with optional Spicer Performa-traK electronic locking differentials for improved traction over dicey portions of terrain.
Bronco owners can also take advantage of the optional Trail Toolbox system that allows owners to take full advantage of a suite of technologies that are aimed at enhancing the off-roading experience. This includes Trail Control which is essentially a form of cruise control for low speed trail driving, while Trail Turn Assist tightens the Bronco’s turning radius via careful inputs from the torque vectoring system. Lastly, the segment exclusive Trail Pedal One feature helps provide improved acceleration and braking control for slow speed rock crawling maneuvers. All of this is paired with the Bronco’s segment leading 11.6 inches of ground clearance, 29 degree breakover angle, and a potent 37.2 degree departure angle. The SUV can also ford up to 33.3 inches of water (take that Land Rover) and it even features heavy duty shielding that protects crucial areas like the engine, transmission, transfer case, and the fuel tank. As for the rock rails, Ford’s commitment to safety reigns supreme yet again, with Ford reps claiming that the rails are strong enough to take the full weight of the vehicle on each side.
While Ford chose to not reveal the full pricing ladder for the 2021 Ford Bronco, the company was quick to reveal that a base two-door model will wield a base price of $29,995 which includes the $1,495 destination fee. In addition to the no frills base Bronco, the model will also feature five other trim levels (Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, and Badlands.) Like the Mustang Mach-E EV crossover, a First Edition variant will be available at launch, with that particular Bronco boasting trim exclusive content (including a higher price tag.) Buyers interested in owning a two or four door Bronco can make their reservations now, with Ford only asking for a $100 deposit to formally begin the buying process.
With Jeep promising swift retaliation to the Bronco following the surprise announcement of the V8 powered Wrangler 392 concept, look for the battle between Ford and Jeep to rapidly gain intensity as the two fight for the attention of off-road enthusiasts. The real winners though are the enthusiasts, and it appears that now is indeed the time to enter the exciting and competitive world of off-roading.
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