After months of spy shots and speculation surrounding one of the company’s biggest reveals in years, the 2021 Ford Bronco has finally debuted. It’s been more than two decades since we’ve last seen the SUV on dealer lots, and the Blue Oval unleashed a media blitz to mark the occasion. The new “Bronco” isn’t just a single, two-door SUV either, like the old one was. This time around, we’re getting an entire family of models, aimed squarely at Jeep’s modern off-road SUV and crossover lineup. In addition to the new full-fat Bronco, the smaller Bronco Sport debuted right alongside its sibling Monday.
While many will undoubtedly buy the smaller variant, we’re focusing on the flagship Bronco here. In its official statement, the company says the revived nameplate will actually go into production in early 2021. From there, the 2021 Ford Bronco will make its way to customers in the spring (likely April, according to earlier reports).
2021 Ford Bronco highlights
The brand new Ford Bronco brings powertrains familiar to those who know the brand’s trucks, as well as a host of new features to make it stand out against its chief rival, the Jeep Wrangler. Ford’s launching the new model with two engines: either a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, or a larger 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6. Unique in the segment is its seven-speed manual transmission with a crawler gear, as we suspected, as well as the now-typical 10-speed automatic transmission.
In competing against the Wrangler, the 2021 Ford Bronco also has removable roof panels in both two- and four-door configurations. Four-door models come standard with a soft top as standard equipment. Like the Wrangler, you can purchase the Bronco with both soft and hard top options. Ford also built the new model with frameless doors, which owners can remove and store onboard in protective bags. Unlike the Wrangler, though, the Bronco will not have a fold-down windshield. To make the doors easier to remove, Ford mounted the mirrors on the cowl.
Apart from the Bronco’s mechanical capability, the new model also brings technology into the equation, with the latest SYNC 4 infotainment system, Trail Management system and a “Trail Toolbox” with even more electronically-controlled off-road settings.
2021 Ford Bronco trims and pricing
No matter which 2021 Ford Bronco you choose, you’ll naturally get the retro styling cues and rugged off-road attitude. However, how much capability you want out of your Bronco comes down to which trim you choose. Ultimately, you’ll have seven options for the 2021, which includes 3,500 “First Edition” models. Pricing starts from $29,995 for the two-door base Bronco, and $34,695 for four-door versions, including Ford’s $1,495 destination fee.
Trim levels include:
- Base (no frills)
- Big Bend
- Black Diamond
- Outer Banks
- First Edition (limited to 3,500)
Even the base model is available with the 10-speed automatic and larger engine. Stepping up through the trim levels adds more off-road hardware to the car, as well as more luxurious features. The graphics below show the trims in greater detail.
Not only is Ford splitting the Bronco range into trims, but they’re also changing how they market their packages. For the 2021 Ford Bronco, you’ll have different package options including “Mid”, “High” and “Lux” which can be added to the base trim. That way you can get a fully-loaded Badlands with all the luxury equipment, or just a standard Wildtrak without any of the extra luxury frills like a 360-degree camera.
One outlier from the tiered system Ford set up is the “Sasquatch” package. That package adds 17-inch beadlock wheels wrapped in 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory mud-terrain tires. You also get electronic front and rear locking differentials, a 4.7:1 rear axle ratio (up from the standard 3.73), upgraded suspension and high-clearance fender flares. The Sasquatch package is available across the entire Bronco lineup (even the base model), while it’s standard on Wildtrak and First Edition models.
Under the hood, the 2021 Ford Bronco has two available powerplants. The standard 2.3-liter engine, shared with the Ford Ranger, puts out 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A larger 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 is available, that Ford estimates will develop around 310 horsepower and up to 400 lb-ft of torque. That puts Ford’s new SUV ahead of the Wrangler on power, while the larger displacement gas engine offers an alternative to the EcoDiesel Jeep offers its customers.
Power from either engine exclusively routes its way to all four wheels, with no two-wheel drive variant in sight. Instead, you’ll have the option of either a seven-speed manual transmission or a more familiar 10-speed automatic. The former transmission is especially interesting, as it incorporates a low-speed crawler gear to achieve a class-leading crawl ratio. Ford refers to it as a “6+1” gearbox, wherein the Bronco has six forward speeds for regular driving. The crawler gear offers up an extremely steep 6.588:1 gear ratio, resulting in a crawl ratio of up to 94.75:1 with the optional two-speed electromechanical transfer case, which is well ahead of the manual Wrangler Rubicon’s 82:1. Sadly for some, the manual transmission is only available with the smaller engine.
Opt for the 2.7-liter instead, and you’ll have to get the 10-speed automatic. That offers a bit more flexibility and ease-of-use for highway driving. On the other hand, the larger displacement Bronco’s crawl ratio then drops to 67.8:1, which is still a respectable figure. Every 2021 Ford Bronco comes with independent front suspension and a solid, coil spring Dana 44 solid rear axle. Ford also fit a “semi-active” sway bar disconnect to unlink the wheels for better articulation, and all Bronco trims are available with 35-inch tires from the factory.
What is a “G.O.A.T.” Mode?
Step into the 2021 Ford Bronco, and you’ll be treated to the same range of technology that you’d expect in any of its siblings. A 12-inch infotainment screen with SYNC 4 onboard is available on the “High” package, while an 8-inch unit comes standard. A color LCD instrument panel is also part of the new Bronco, as is its drive mode selector. The rotary knob refers to “G.O.A.T.” modes, in addition to the standard four-wheel drive settings.
It doesn’t have to do with livestock, but instead it’s meant as shorthand for “Go Over Any Terrain”. To that end, the Terrain Management system includes seven modes. Those include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. A base setup on the 2021 Ford Bronco offers a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case. As an option, though, owners can spec a more advanced system with an electromechanical transfer case and a 4×4 auto mode.
Depending on which model you buy (with Badlands and Wildtrak being the most off-road capable trims), the 2021 Ford Bronco has up to 11.6 inches of ground clearance. With 35-inch tires, the two-door Bronco has a 43.2 degree approach angle, as well as a 29.0 degree breakover and 37.2 degree departure angle. Ford even published projected RTI (Ramp Travel Index) scores for the new model, ranging from 560 on the two-door model with the sway bar connected to 700 with it disconnected.
More Bronco news
Beyond the first video shown above, we have much more coverage on the 2021 Ford Bronco and its baby brother across our channels. Check those out below, as well as a larger photo gallery: