The wait is over: say hello to the new 2021 Ford Bronco, the long-anticipated reboot of the automaker’s iconic truck. Digging liberally into the back-catalog to pick out the best of what made the Bronco a best-seller, Ford’s 21st century resurrection adds a four-door version to sit alongside the two-door, along with a thoughtful injection of style, technology, and customization potential.
Bronco is a brand now, not just a truck
First thing’s first: don’t think of Bronco as being a single truck. Instead, Ford is positioning the classic nameplate as a whole new brand, one in which the Bronco 2-door, 4-door, and Bronco Sport are just three models. The overarching theme will be outdoor toughness and what Ford is referring to as “G.O.A.T.” or “go over any terrain.”
As well as the off-road capabilities of the three launch trucks, there’ll also be four new Bronco Off-Roadeos – off-road and outdoor adventure playgrounds intended to teach new drivers as well as give those more experienced at the wheel a place to play – around the US. Bronco Nation will be a new online community for owners, and there’ll be the inevitable Bronco merchandise too.
The new Bronco sure looks the part
If the Bronco Sport offers a taste of the Bronco lifestyle, it’s the 2021 Bronco 2-door and 4-door that really deliver on what Ford is talking about. Whether it’s the classic 2-door design, or a more family-friendly 4-door, both promise a combination of style and off-roading ability.
They certainly look the part. Think squared-off edges, shot overhangs, and a chunky wide stance. The two-door comes with a three-section roof – separate left and right front panels, and a third rear section – as standard, while a four-section version – two front panels, a rear section, and a panel over the rear seats and cargo area is optional. The four-door has four sections as standard: two front panels, a full-width center panel, and a rear section. The first row panels stow away onboard on the two-door Bronco, and Ford says one person will be able to remove all of the panels on their own.
Rear quarter windows can be removed, without needing to take the roof panels off, while the four-door comes standard with a cloth top. Frameless doors are standard on both body styles, while cowl-mounted mirrors mean you still get rear visibility even with the doors detached. Trail sights on the front fenders can be used for tie-down points, and have a 150-pound capacity.
Inside, the original Bronco inspires the clean dashboard. There’s a multifunction color LCD instrument panel, and SYNC 4, with an optional 12-inch touchscreen. That can show the feed from the optional 360-degree camera, too, which is upgraded with off-road spotter views. Grab handles are available, as are MOLLE hooks in the setbacks. A bring-your-own-device rack can be fitted to the instrument panel, with 12-volt power connectors for cameras, navigation units, phones, or other gadgets.
Navigation is optional, with topographical trail maps that work offline or online on the 8- and 12-inch SYNC systems. Other options include rubberized floors with ingrates drains and marine-grade vinyl seating trim, which can b washed down and will resist mildew. Wipeable controls with silicone rubber seals, and a matching six-switch upfitter panel overhead can be added. Ford Co-Pilot360 is optional, while AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control are standard.
Underneath there’s a fully boxed, high-strength steel chassis – with plenty of suspension travel – paired with independent front suspension and a rear solid axle with coil springs using five locating links. Each wheel gets long-travel position-sensitive Bilstein dampers with end-stop control valves.
Optional is a semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar disconnect, which can help with articulation in off-camber terrain. All trims can be had with 35-inch off-road tires, and deadlock-capable wheels.
For engines, the entry drivetrain is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, expected to pack 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It’ll have a 7-speed manual transmission, consisting of six regular gears and a crawler gear; the latter has a 94.75:1 ratio.
A 10-speed automatic with up to 67.8:1 crawl ratio is available with the 2.3-liter, and comes standard with the optional 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. That should have 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, Ford suggests.
As for towing, figure on up to 3,500 pounds. The two-door can handle up to 1,170 pounds of payload; the four-door nudges that up to 1,370 pounds. There’s up to 110 pounds of dynamic roof load, or 450 pounds of static roof load.
Off-roading talent to live up to the looks
4×4 is, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, standard across all eight trims. Depending on model, there are up to seven Terrain Management System G.O.A.T. modes – Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl – while Trail Control, effectively low-speed cruise control for off-roading, is optional. Ford will also offer two different 4×4 systems.
The base gets a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case. Optional is an advanced 4×4 system with a two-speed electromechanical transfer case that adds an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H. There’s also a Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle and Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit; each can be had withSpicer Performa-TraK electronic locking differentials.
Trail Turn Assist uses torque vectoring for tighter off-road turns, and Trail One-Pedal Drive combines acceleration and braking control into a single pedal. The Bronco offers up to an 11.6-inch ground clearance, 20-degree braver angle, and 37.2-degree departure angle. There’s up to 33.5-inches of water fording.
Exposed tow hooks are included at the front and rear; heavy-duty modular steel bumpers with a Ford Performance accessory winch mount are optional. A front bash plate plus steel shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case, and fuel tank are optional too, while the available side rock rails can each support the whole weight of the truck.
2021 Bronco pricing, trims and availability
If your heart is set on a 2-door or 4-door Bronco, you’ve got a wait ahead of you. Ford is taking reservations for the new trucks from today – at $100 apiece – but production doesn’t actually kick off until the start of 2021. The first examples won’t make it to dealerships until spring 2021.
Pricing for the 2021 Bronco 2-door starts at $29,995 (plus $1,495 destination), Ford has confirmed. The 4-door, meanwhile, starts at $34,695 (plus destination).
That gets you the Bronco Base. It has standard 4×4 and the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine with the 7-speed manual transmission with crawler gear. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost is optional, and requires the 10-speed automatic. Advanced 4×4 with automatic on-demand engagement is optional too. Base trim gets easily removed doors and roof, the five-mode Terrain Management System, and SYNC 4 with an 8-inch touchscreen. It also has carpets, cloth seats, and 16-inch silver-painted steel wheels with 30-inch P255/70R16 all-season tires.
Big Bend trim has the same engines, and six G.O.A.T. modes. It offers 17-inch Carbonized Gray-painted wheels with 32-inch P255/75R17 rubber, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, and privacy glass. It also has LED fog lamps. Heated front-seats and remote start – with the 10-speed auto – are available, as are the Sasquatch and Mid packages.
The former adds 17-inch black alloy wheels, electronic locking front and rear axles, high-clearance suspension, position sensitive Bilstein shock absorbers, and high-clearance fender flares. The latter gets intelligent access, a 110/150W AC power outlet, ambient footwell lighting, auto-dimming mirror, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, remote start with the auto transmission, navigation, voice recognition for SYNC 4, and Ford Co-Pilot360.
Black Diamond trim adds in a heavy-duty modular front bumper and powder-coated rear bumper, plus rock rails, heavy-duty bash plates, and 17-inch black-painted steel wheels. It has seven G.O.A.T. modes, 32-inch LT265/70R17 all-terrain tires, and marine-grade vinyl-trimmed seats and rubberized washout flooring. It also throws in auxiliary switches in the overhead console.
Outer Banks trim takes the Big Bend trim and adds 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels with 32-inch P255/70R18 all-terrain tires, signature LED headlamps and taillamps, body-color door handles, mirror caps, and fender flares, and powder-coated tube steps. It has cloth, heated front row bucket seats, and the Mid package as standard. Leather seats, the Sasquatch package, and the High and Lux packages are optional.
The High package gets a 12-inch center touchscreen, 360-degree camera, Forward Sensing System, sideview mirror LED approach lamps and spotlight, and additional sound deadening. The Lux package adds adaptive cruise control, a 10-speaker B&O sound system, evasive steering assistance, a heated steering wheel, and voice-activated navigation. It also gets a wireless phone charging pad, and two extra USB charging ports in the front.
Wildtrak trim has the Outer Banks features plus the Sasquatch package as standard, and the 2.7-liter EcoBoost with 10-speed automatic. Advanced 4×4 with automatic on-demand engagement is standard as well, plus seven G.O.A.T. modes including the Baja mode. A modular hard top, Wildtrack hood graphic, carpeted flooring, and cloth heated front row bucket seats are standard. Options include the High and Lux packages, plus leather trim.
Badlands puts off-roading to the fore. To the Big Bend trim, it adds seven G.O.A.T. modes – including Rock Crawl and Baja – plus 17-inch Carbonized Gray-painted alloy wheels with 33-inch LT285/70R17 all-terrain tires. It also has unique Badlands suspension, with front stabilizer bar disconnect, a heavy-duty modular front bumper, and powder-coated steel rear bumper. Inside, marine-grade vinyl is used on the seats and rubber on the flooring, and there are overhead auxiliary switches. Leather, along with the Sasquatch, Mid, High, and Lux packages are optional.
Finally, the 2021 Bronco First Edition will be the most exclusive: only 3,500 will be made. It combines Badlands mechanicals, Outer Banks cabin features, and Wildtrak exterior trim, plus the Lux and Sasquatch packages. First Edition hood and bodyside graphics are standard, plus a modular hard-top, Safari bar, carpets inside, and leather-trimmed seats with front-row heating and 10-way power driver’s adjustment.
Of course, these trims are really just the starting point. Ford is going to have a vast quantity of different customization options and accessories – including more than 200 dealer-installed add-ons – to go with the 11 color options, and it’s not hard to imagine third-party firms getting in on the action too. We’ll know more on that front when the new Bronco kicks off production at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.