2021 Ford Bronco – 4×4 Capabilities to Challenge Jeep

Bronco’s design, technology and capabilities make it clear Ford is aiming to become America’s favorite off-road vehicle, dethroning Jeep Wrangler.

This article was written with Christopher Merlo.

Above is the full Bronco release on YouTube from Ford.

2021 Bronco Two-Door
2021 Bronco Two-Door

Ford is on the road again.

Make that off the road again.

The Blue Oval is bringing back the storied Bronco name for an all-new, all-4×4 family of off-road SUVs.

  • Bronco two-door
  • Bronco four-door
  • Bronco Sport, which is smaller than the other two and comes only as a four-door

Bronco’s design, technology and capabilities make it clear Ford is aiming to become America’s favorite off-road vehicle, dethroning Jeep Wrangler.

Bronco two-door and four-door

2021 Bronco Two-Door
2021 Bronco Two-Door

The two- and four-door Broncos are about the same size as Wrangler. Like Wrangler, they come with removable roofs and doors. Bronco two-door is slightly longer than the two-door Wrangler, and Bronco four-door slightly shorter than the four-door Wrangler.

Ford claims Bronco has higher ground clearance, longer suspension travel and a host of best-in-class features.

All engines are turbocharged.

2021 Bronco Two-Door and Four-Door models
2021 Bronco Two-Door and Four-Door models

The base Bronco engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four, which Ford expects to deliver 270 horsepower and best-in-class 310 pound-feet.

A larger, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is projected to kick 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet – best-in-class for a gasoline engine.

Both are available with a segment-first seven-speed manual transmission – actually a six-speed with a dedicated crawler gear offering an incredible 95:1 crawl ratio – or a 10-speed automatic.

2021 Bronco Four-Door
2021 Bronco Four-Door

Bronco can tackle the most-demanding terrain, with a maximum 29-degree breakover angle, 37.2-degree departure angle, and best-in-class water fording capability of up to 33.5 inches.

Strategically placed steel shields protect critical hardware. Higher-capability Bronco models get an available front bash plate, plus shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank.

2021 Bronco Four-Door
2021 Bronco Four-Door

And for the roughest rocky terrain, available side rock rails are strong enough to support the weight of each side of the vehicle.

Ford had fun naming the trim levels: Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrack and Badlands. There’s a Sasquatch Package with, of course, big feet: 35-inch Mud-Terrain tires.

Bronco Two-Door interior
Bronco Two-Door interior

Bronco’s doors are frameless, and the outside mirrors are mounted on the cowl at the base of the A-pillar, not the doors. This makes the doors easier to remove as well as store compared with Wrangler.

Two- and four-door models come with quick-release stowable roof panels that can be removed by one person.

  • The two-door has a three-section roof – left and right front sections plus a rear section.
  • The four-door has four removable roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section.
2021 Bronco Two-Door
2021 Bronco Two-Door

Riding through dirt and dust without doors or roof means the interior will get dirty. Maybe muddy. So select Bronco models come with washable rubberized floors with integrated drains.

Bronco is loaded with clever features and innovations. One of our favorites is attachment points built into the top of the instrument panel. This lets you mount devices such as a phone, GoPro or GPS and includes 12-volt power connections.

We wondered, why didn’t anyone come up with this earlier?

Bronco two-door and four-door are built on the architecture of the Ranger compact pickup, while Bronco Sport is based on the unibody Escape compact crossover.

Bronco Sport

2021 Bronco Sport
2021 Bronco Sport

Like its big brothers, Bronco Sport also boasts best-in-class ground clearance, made-for-trails approach and departure angles, water fording and obstacle protection.

The front seats offer class-leading headroom, which extends into the cargo area, giving enough height to hold two upright 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes fixed to an available Yakima dealer-installed bike rack.

2021 Bronco Sport interior
2021 Bronco Sport interior

Bronco Sport will launch with more than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories. Buyers also can opt for any of four lifestyle accessory bundles themed Bike, Snow, Water and Camping.

Bronco Sport is available as five models: Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands and First Edition.

Badlands and First Edition are powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost. Ford is targeting best-in-class 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet.

Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks feature Ford’s 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine and projects 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet.

2021 Bronco Sport
2021 Bronco Sport

Badlands and First Edition come with an advanced 4×4 system with a class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature, similar to a traditional mechanical locking differential. It can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel.

Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

All Bronco Sport models come with independent front and rear suspension.

Ford is serious about off-roading

Bronco’s ruggedness, innovative features and technology will cause Wrangler owners to look seriously at Ford’s new SUV family.

Ford is going all out to generate interest in off-roading and Bronco.

It’s launching a driving school called Bronco Off-Rodeo, where Bronco owners can learn or sharpen their off-road skills. There will be four locations in the U.S.

2021 Bronco Two-Door
2021 Bronco Two-Door

Ford is also engaging off-roader by partnering with Bronco Nation, an independent online community that enables owners and enthusiasts to share and discover off-roading adventures including trails and vintage Bronco vehicle information.

MSRP for the base two-door Bronco is $29,995, including $1,495 for destination and delivery.

Bronco Sport is scheduled to go on sale late this year, with Bronco two-door and four door following in the spring.

 

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