An Overview Of The Upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco And All Of Its Options
After a 25-year hiatus, the Ford Bronco is back. Far from some sort of cynical ploy to entice nostalgic buyers by attaching a legendary nameplate to an otherwise nondescript crossover, Ford has truly put in the hours here, delivering a thoroughly reimagined and highly capable version of the iconic SUV that’s designed for the modern era.
Available in either two-door or four-door configuration and riding on a fully-boxed frame made from high-strength steel, the Bronco looks to include everything that off-road enthusiasts were hoping for: The doors and roof are removable. The interior can be hosed out. There’s an available manual transmission with a 94.75:1 ratio crawler gear, 35-inch mud terrain tires, a maximum fording depth of 33.5 inches, and an option package known as the Sasquach.
But that’s just the tip of the retro-futuristic iceberg here. Let’s take a closer look at what Ford’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler brings to the table.
Frame, Chassis, and Suspension
To help ensure that the Bronco is still manageable on the road and keep to unsprung weight down, Ford has opted for an independent suspension at the front end that utilizes coil springs and twin A arms, while the rear end gets a five-link Dana 44 with coil-overs. While some off-roaders might bemoan the absence of a solid axle at the nose of the truck, Ford says the Bronco can be configured to have 17% more suspension travel than “its closest competitor” right out of the box, and a hydraulically-controlled front sway bar is available in Badlands trim, which can disconnect at the push of a button for increased wheel articulation when rock crawling. Bilstein position-sensitive dampers are also available as part of the High Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) package, designed for Raptor-style high speed desert runs.
Whether configured in two-door or four-door layout, base model Broncos boast a 35.5-degree approach angle, while trucks optioned with the 35-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires (a segment exclusive) raise that figure to a lofty 43.2 inches. Breakover angles are 21.1 degrees and 20.0 degrees for the base two-door and four-door, respectively, while the big tire option raises those figures 29.1 and 26.3. Departure angles come in at 29.8 degrees (37.2 with the Goodyears) for the two-door model and 29.7 degrees (or 37.0 with those bigger tires) for the four-door machine.
Ground clearance starts at 8.3-inches for the base model four door Bronco (8.4 inches in two-door layout), while the meaty Goodyear rubber raises those numbers to Rubicon-besting figures of 11.5 and 11.6 inches.
Would-be Bronco owners have their choice of either the base engine – a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four cylinder, which delivers a respectable to 270 horsepower 310 pound-feet of torque – or a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6, which bumps those numbers up to 310hp and 400 lb-ft.
The standard transmission for the 2.3-liter is a seven-speed manual gearbox made by Getrag. It’s essentially a traditional six-speed unit with an extra crawler gear located below reverse in the shift pattern to keep it tucked away during every day driving. Three-pedal enthusiasts should take note that the manual gearbox is available exclusively with the 2.3-liter motor: A 10-speed automatic is standard with the V6 and optional for the four cylinder, which offers a 67.8:1 crawl ratio in its most potent form. And, like the Wrangler, the Bronco is capable of towing up to 3500 pounds.
Four wheel drive is standard on every Bronco, though there are choices available here as well. The standard system uses an electronic two-speed shift-on-the-fly transfer case with a 2.71:1 low ratio, while the optional system has adds the ability to automatically switch between 2H and 4H as needed and boasts a 3:06:1 low ratio.
Features and Tech
The two-door Bronco will be available exclusively with a removable hard top (divided into three or four segments, depending on options), while the four-door version of the sport-utility will come standard with a cloth soft top. A removable hard top available for the four-door as well, allowing those Bronco owners to swap between the two top styles whenever they please. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the Bronco’s roll bar bracing is behind the rear seats, rather than at the B-pillars as you’d find on vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, which means your skyward view is totally unobscured as a result.
As previously mentioned, the doors are also removable. To make things easier on owners who would opt to go doorless, the doors utilize a frameless window design to make them less bulky, and they can be stored in the four-door truck’s cargo area. Also of note is the fact that the side mirrors are mounted to the Bronco’s body rather than being affixed to the doors, as they are on the Wrangler, which means you don’t lose the usefulness of side mirrors by taking the Bronco’s doors off. Did we mention that the fender flares are removable, too? Well, they are.
There’s also a plethora of different interior materials to choose from, but the one that will be of particular interest to off-road enthusiasts is the marine-grade vinyl, which can be paired with rubberized flooring and removable drain plugs. The various switches and knobs in the Bronco’s interior are silicone sealed and rubberized as well, which means that this combination makes it possible to simply hose down the truck’s interior in order to clean it.
On the tech front, Sync 4 infotainment is on hand here and boasts an available 12.0-inch touchscreen display, while an 8-inch screen is standard. Both offer wireless CarPlay and Android Auto right out of the box, and either can be outfitted with more than a thousand topographical maps that will remain functional whether or not cell service is available. A 360-degree camera system with lenses mounted at each front wheel is also available to help you get a better sense of your surroundings, both off-road and on.
Depending on the trim level chosen, there can be up to seven different drive modes to choose from: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. These can be used in conjunction with off-road specific features like Trail Control, which is basically a low-speed off-road cruise control, and Trail Turn Assist, which uses torque vectoring to tighten the Bronco’s turning radius.
Trim Levels and Options
At launch there will be a total of seven different trims to choose from, each with a unique aesthetic and core purpose. Here’s how it all shakes out:
Base – as the name suggests, this is the most basic configuration for the Bronco, and also a great canvas for folks who fully intend to do a significant amount of modification on their own. 16-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, carpeted flooring, and the 8-inch touchscreen are equipped by default, but Ford will also let buyers pick and choose a number of options to add to a Base model, like the 2.7-liter V6 and the upgraded four-wheel drive system.
Even the Sasquach package can be had here. Similar to Jeep’s Rubicon package, it includes 35-inch mud terrain tires, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, a high-riding suspension with Bilsten shocks and bigger fender flares, locking front and rear differentials, and a 4.7:1 final drive ratio. Pricing for the Base two-door starts at $29,995, while the four-door brings the bar of entry up to $34,695.
Big Bend – Designed elevate things beyond the Base model in terms of both off-road capability and amenities, the Big Bend trim adds 17-inch aluminum wheels and 32-inch all-terrain tires to the mix, along with LED fog lamps (LED headlights are standard on all trims), a unique gray grille, leather interior accents, and a sixth terrain mode – up from five in the Base model.
Opting for the Big Bend trim also unlocks the ability to add certain options that are unavailable in the Base model. The Mid Package is one such option, which includes keyless entry with remote start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a 110-volt power outlet, and other goodies. Pricing for the Big Bend two-door starts at $34,880, while the four-door will set you back $37,375.
Black Diamond – Perhaps best described as a more off-road focused iteration of the Big Bend, this one brings bash plates, heavy duty steel bumpers, rock rails, and the vinyl interior with the rubberized floors and drain plugs into the fold, along with the seventh terrain mode. The optional equipment available here is identical to that of the Big Bend. Pricing for the two-door starts at $37,545, while the four-door gets underway at $40,040.
Outer Banks – If the Black Diamond is essentially the Big Bend trim with a greater emphasis on off-road capability, Outer Banks is the trim that leans in the other direction. The door handles, fender flares, mirrors are body colored, 18-inch wheels are paired with 32-inch all terrain tires, and the total number of terrain modes is pared back to six. The Mid Package comes standard, while a number of other options can be added on here that aren’t available in lower trims, like leather seats, the 12-inch touchscreen display, the 360-degree cameras, a 10-speaker B&O audio system, and other luxury goodies. Pricing for the Outer Banks trim starts at $40,450 for two-door models, while the four-door comes in at $42,945.
Badlands – Named after Badlands National Park, this trim level is designed to be the most off-road capable of the bunch. Unique heavy duty suspension is on hand here, along with the disconnecting from sway bar, the four cylinder engine, and the seven-speed manual gearbox with the crawler gear. 17-inch wheels are wrapped in 33-inch all-terrains, while the vinyl seats and rubberized flooring found in the Black Diamond trim are also part of the deal. A wide variety of both luxury and off-road oriented options are available here, too, but the V6 is not. The two-door Bronco Badlands comes in at $43,590, while the four-door iteration bumps the price to $46,085.
Wildtrak – Designed for desert runs, the Wildtrak comes with the 2.7-liter V6 and 10-speed automatic as standard, along with the upgraded four-wheel drive system and all the standard equipment from the Outer Banks trim. Both the Mid Package and Sasquatch package standard here as well, the latter adding to the Wildtrak’s noticeably beefed-up look, which is also aided in part by its black-painted roof and hood decal. As with the Outer Banks trim, luxury options like leather seats and upgraded audio can be tacked on here as well. The two-door starts at $50,370, the four-door at $52,865.
First Edition – A one-year-only model, Ford is limited this exclusive trim to just 3500 examples, and all have already been reserved. Taking what’s arguably the best parts of other trims, the First Edition is outfitted with Wildtrak’s exterior tweaks, the Outer Banks’ interior appointments, and the off-road hardware from the Badlands. There are no options available here because the First Edition comes full loaded with all the goodies from the Mid, High, and Lux packages as well as the Sasquach package. Unique touches include a First Edition hood, body graphics, a gloss black painted hardtop, and exclusive interior accents. The two-door comes in at $60,800 while the four-door is the priciest standard spec available at $64,995.
As with the five generations of Broncos before it, the all-new 2021 Bronco will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, and the first examples of the new truck should be in dealer showrooms by the middle of 2021.
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