Bronco is Back! Introducing the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport

Three years is a long time to wait, but in this case, we think it was worth it. Feast your eyes on the brand-new 2021 Ford Bronco. After a 24-year hiatus, the Bronco has returned with a vengeance, and we are beyond excited to show it off and explain its awesome technological features with you. The all-new 4×4 Bronco is available in two-door, four-door, and Sport configurations, and you can officially reserve one for just $100 starting now. Pricing starts at just $29,995.

“We created the Bronco family to elevate every aspect of off-road adventure and equipped them with class-leading chassis hardware and exclusive technologies to raise the bar in the rugged 4×4 segment and take people further into the wild,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer. “They’re built with the toughness of an F-Series truck and performance spirit of Mustang – and come wrapped in one of the most stunning and functional off-road designs that’s true to the original Bronco design DNA.”

We broke down Ford’s “Built Wild” brand positioning last week, and you can read all about it here. Basically, Ford used concepts of Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing, Capability, and Innovative Design as a foundation on which it designed and built the newest Broncos.

Two-Door & Four-Door

 While the two-door Bronco is not a new configuration, this will be the first time at Ford has offered a four-door version of the iconic vehicle. Production will begin in early 2021, and you can expect to see the vehicles arriving at your local Ford dealership next spring. In addition to the already-exciting return of the beloved Bronco, Ford has also announced the launch of more than 200 factory-backed aftermarket accessories, allowing new owners to customize and personalize their Broncos for greater capability and style to fit individual needs.

Let’s jump right into the good stuff. Both two-door and four-door Broncos will be powered by 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engines projected to produce 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Each engine will be backed by a segment-first 7-speed manual transmission or an available 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The manual transmission is a segment-first 6+1 configuration, which, when paired with the available advanced 4×4 system generates an available crawler-gear ratio of 94.75:1. When the automatic transmission is paired with the same advanced 4×4 system, crawl ratio is a maximum of 67.8:1.

Speaking of that advanced 4×4 system, two distinct 4×4 systems are available: base or the aforementioned advanced 4×4. A two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case is utilized by the base system, while those who opt for the advanced 4×4 will enjoy a two-speed electromechanical transfer case with an added auto mode for on-demand 2H and 4H engagement. A Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle with coil springs and five locating links is paired with a Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit, and both have available Spicer Performa-TraK electronic locking differentials for those seeking extra traction over rough terrain. Bilstein long-travel and position-sensitive dampers are located in all four corners, and feature end-stop control valves for added off-road durability and less harshness.

For those seeking even more off-road prowess, Ford is offering an available segment-exclusive semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar with disconnect design, allowing for maximum articulation and an increase in ramp angle index for off-camber terrain. It disconnects during articulation and can reconnect under all conditions for improved steering and stability at higher speeds. Off-road 35-inch tires are available on every trim level, and beadlock-capable wheels are available to heighten off-road capability as well.

Drivers can choose from up to eight modes including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand, as well as off-road modes including Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl, thanks to Ford’s Terrain Management System and “G.O.A.T” Modes.

Bronco is available in seven configurations, from a base, no-frills version, to Wildtrak and Badlands versions for the most extreme off-roader. Somewhere in the middle are Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Outer Banks configurations, as well as a limited-production First Edition which will be offered at launch.

Body & Interior

Given that the new Bronco, like those of the past, is built to “deliver maximum 4×4 go-anywhere, anytime capability and confidence,” the evolution of the new Bronco’s body and interior should come of no surprise. Bronco’s Baja racing DNA was a driving force in the creation of the 2021 version.

“Similar to the first-generation model, Bronco’s square proportions, short overhangs and wide stance are optimized for off-road adventure,” said Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer. “The side profile features a flat, no-nonsense surface with clear-cut edges and robustly flared fenders. Large, open wheel wells are a modular design with a quick-release attachment for simple customization.”

The vehicles feature an available best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches and a maximum 29-degree breakover angle and 37.2-degree departure angle. Its water fording capability is up to 33.5 inches, and exposed tow hooks in the front and the rear with available heavy-duty modular steel bumpers with integrated Ford Performance accessory winch mount would give any off-roader peace of mind. Steel shields protect the Bronco’s most critical onboard hardware, with higher-capability models equipped with available front bash plate, and shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case, and fuel tank. Side rock rails are also available, and are able to support the weight of each side of the Bronco.

This prototype two-door Bronco features modular doors, which are among the Ford accessories available for Bronco two- and four-door models.

“Bronco two- and four-door models leverage the company’s Built Ford Tough durability and performance testing and take it even further off-road with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing in the harshest possible environments, including the brutal trails of the King of the Hammers off-road competition,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford enterprise product line management, Icons.

The foundation of these Broncos is a fully boxed and high-strength steel chassis with a best-in-class suspension travel offering of 17 percent more in the front and rear than the closest competitor. A high-strength steel roll cage is included, with integrated side curtain airbags in the upper structure and seats to protect against side impacts.

They were built with the open-air concept in mind. The two-door Bronco features a standard three-section removable roof system (left and right front sections and a rear one), molded-in color, and an available premium painted modular top with four sections to add a removable panel over the rear seats and cargo area. Meanwhile, the four-door version has four removable roof sections, with left and right front panels, a full-width center panel, and a rear section. All of the panels are removable by a single person by unlocking the latches from the interior, and the first-row panels can be stowed away onboard two-door models.

Also removable on modular hardtop models are rear quarter windows, which are simply snapped, pushed, and lifted away in just a few seconds without having to remove the roof. A sport bar is located behind the second row, allowing for the largest overall open-top view in its class. Cloth soft tops are standard on four-door models for easy access to fresh air and a unique tilt-up function allowing for quick access to the rear cargo area. If you don’t want to pick, four-door models can be optioned with both a hard and soft top.

Frameless doors are included on every Bronco making removal a breeze. On four-door models, onboard storage for all four doors is possible, and protective door bags keep each door safe. The mirrors are mounted on the cowl of the Bronco for side view visibility even when doors are removed. The front fenders feature trail sights which also serve as tie-downs (remember the first-generation Bronco?) for securing up to 150 pounds of longer items, like canoes.

Inside, the capabilities continue. Ford took into account all kinds of adventures when designing the cockpit of the new Bronco. You’ll note touches of inspiration from the first Bronco in the instrument panel, with clearly visible and intuitive gauges and controls. Ford utilized natural palettes and outdoor experiences as a catalyst for the included colors and materials, while offering durability and rugged styling.

Front and center is a multifunction color LCD instrument panel with the transmission shifter or selector and G.O.A.T. Modes controller. Grab handles are available and are integrated into the modular instrument panel and center console. Available MOLLE hooks are seatback-mounted. The instrument panel features built-in attachment points for a bring-your-own-device-rack, complete with 12-volt power connections. This allows for easy mounting of cameras, phones, and more, that won’t shift during off-road expeditions.

The floors of select Bronco models are rubber for easy cleaning, so no need to worry when those off-road adventures get a little muddy. Ford has also included an integrated drain and plug, so you won’t have to drill into the floor of your new Bronco. Marine-grade vinyl seats are water and mold-resistant, and hero switches are made from seamless silicone rubber, so they can get wet and dirty worry-free.

The rear of the Bronco is what Ford refers to as a “social space” with a wide-swinging rear door, with a slide-out tailgate (plus a built-in bottle opener).

Bronco will be offered in 11 colors, including Race Red, Rapid Red Metallic, Velocity Blue, Antimatter Blue, Cyber Orange Metallic, Oxford White, Iconic Silver, Area 51, Cactus Gray, Carbonized Gray, and Shadow Black. When paired with one of four content packages, numerous available options, over 200 dealer-installable accessories and more, no two Broncos will be alike.

Technology

Ford knocked the ball out of the park when it comes to the Bronco’s technological side. Ford’s new “Trail Toolbox” is a suite of exclusive technology catering to the off-road experience, including Trail Control (cruise control for low-speed trail driving) and Trail Turn Assist (which tightens off-road turning radiuses through torque vectoring). Also included is Trail One-Pedal Drive allowing for more precise slow-mode rock crawling through acceleration and braking control.

Of course, it goes without saying that Bronco will include SYNC 4, and the Bronco will feature a 12-inch system with over-the-air updates working with the FordPass Performance application with off-road navigation. This system allows owners to easily plan, navigate, and share off-roading experiences. The Bronco’s advanced topographic trail maps and more than 1,000 curated trail maps come courtesy of trail content from NeoTreks’ AccuTerra Maps, Trails Offroad trail guides, and FunTreks trail guides.

“The trail mapping system available on Bronco is truly a game-changer in the off-road community,” said Grueber. “It works online or off on either of the navigation-capable 8- or 12-inch SYNC systems, allowing users to select one of hundreds of available curated trail maps to map out and then track, capture and share their adventures with others.”

The two-door Bronco is shown in open-air “mode” while the four-door models shows roof and doors attached.

The SYNC system also offers an available 360-degree camera system for off-road spotter views, while Ford’s available Co-Pilot360 driver-assist, standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, and Trailer Sway Control instill confidence behind the wheel.

You can reserve your two-door or four-door Bronco starting right now for only $100 at Ford.com. Base two-door Broncos start at $29,995 MSRP, including $1,495 destination and delivery, and all two-door and four-door Broncos will be built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, just like the five generations that came before it.

Bronco Sport

Also new to the Bronco lineup is the 2021 Bronco Sport. Ford refers to it as “the Bronco of small SUVs” and that might lead you to believe this Bronco doesn’t have the same DNA, but you’d be wrong. The Sport was built with the same goals in mind, and that means giving drivers off-road capability, durability, and technology. You’ll notice that Bronco Sport keeps with the general design of the two-door and four-door Broncos, and it also features 4×4 standard. Ford says that the Bronco Sport was tested and proven in extreme conditions in places like the Johnson Valley desert in California to ensure its Built Wild genes.

This Bronco Sport Badlands series is shown in the color “Area 51.”

“Bronco Sport has the toughness and smarts to help turn off-road novices into 4×4 pros,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “Bronco Sport embraces the needs of outdoor enthusiasts – every inch of it was designed and engineered with weekend adventurers in mind.”

The cargo area easily holds and transports two 27.5-inch mountain bikes standing in its cargo area (with the Yakima dealer-installed interior bike rack accessory) and is available with four lifestyle accessory bundles (Bike, Snow, Water, or Camping) and more than 100 factory-backed standalone accessories. Trim levels include base model, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition. The Sport will be rolling into dealerships later this year, and as with the other Broncos, you can reserve one now for $100.

The Bronco Sport, which Ford refers to as Bronco’s “smaller sibling,” is powered by a 181-horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine in base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks configurations, and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque in Badlands and First Edition series. An 8-speed automatic is paired to both engines, but Badlands and First Edition Bronco Sports also have SelectShift with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, as well as the aforementioned advanced 4×4 system with twin-clutch rear drive unit and differential lock feature. This system can divert virtually all of the rear axle torque to either wheel. The 2.0-liter also includes a cooling system with additional transmission and rear-drive coolers. Independent front and rear suspension are standard on all Bronco Sports.

Badlands and First Edition series Bronco Sports also feature uniquely tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops for a quieter off-road experience, as well as 46mm-diameter monotube rear shocks, softer springs, and anti-roll bars.

As with two-door and four-door Bronco, Sport offers Terrain Management System with seven available G.O.A.T. Modes including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand, with Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes also available on Badlands and First Edition models. Rock Crawl mode offers an electronic power steering assist system to provide precise control and reduce steering wheel disturbance when maneuvering over rocky terrain at slow speeds.

Body & Interior

Four steel bash plates, frame-mounted front tow hooks (withstanding static loads of up to 100 percent of gross vehicle weight), and the signature round headlamps and short front and rear overhangs show that this little Bronco Sport means business. Badlands and First Edition series Sports can wade through nearly two feet of water (23.6 inches to be exact).

It shares quite a few styling cues with its big brothers, seen through its signature encapsulated cartridge grille and flat bodysides. Exterior contact points feature unpainted finishes making it ready for extreme adventures. While the Badlands series features standard 28.5-inch all-terrain tires, First Edition comes with 29-inch off-road all-terrain tires with deep, aggressive treats that stretch to the sidewalls offering improved traction on the trails.

The noticeable “safari-style” upright designed roof pays homage to the Bronco’s adventurous silhouette (and offers passengers plenty of headroom), and the Sport is also equipped with a long flat roof rail for maximum carrying length.

A flip-glass rear window was chosen to grace the Bronco Sport, with a low-load floor cargo area, and overlanding-ready roof rack which can make roof-top tent camping easy. Front fender peaks allow for easy visibility of the corners of the Sport.

The liftgate of the Sport features LED flood lamps lighting 129 square-feet of space for great visibility after sundown, and MOLLE straps carry extra gear, while zippered seatback pockets hide valuables safely and keep them out of sight. There is also a built-in bottle opener in the cargo area, as well as a 400-watt inverter. A slide-out working table is part of an available five-way configurable Cargo Management System.

Again drawing inspiration from Bronco, Badland and First Edition Sport models are equipped with washable rubber flooring in cabin and cargo areas, with easy-to-clean cloth seating surfaces, and silicone-sealed control switches. Wet, icy, and muddy gear can be stored under the second-row passenger side seat.

The Bronco Sport was built with departure, approach, and breakover angles in mind, and features a front off-road camera with lens washer to serve as a spotter offering trail visibility, with video showing on the center-stack mounted touch screen.

Technology

Trail Control technology is also available on the Bronco Sport, enabling a cruise control-like setting up to 20 mph forward and 6 mph in reverse for vehicle-controlled throttle and braking.

The Bronco Sport features SYNC 3 with an 8-inch touch screen and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable. Ford has also given Sport Ford+Alexa and SiriusXM capabilities.

The Bronco Sport is available in 10 exterior colors, including Area 51, Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat and Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.

Other technology (thanks to the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite) is standard, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking featuring Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Auto High Beam Headlamps, and a rearview camera. Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ is available for those who crave even more technology. It includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. And for the absolute techies, Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 adds Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Centering and Speed Sign Recognition.

Tell us, will you be ordering a new 2021 Bronco? If so, give us your dream Bronco specifications in the comments below. We can’t wait to see these iconic Fords back on (and off) the road!

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About the author

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff got her start in automotive media while attending Rutgers. She worked for Roush Performance for a while, before eventually landing here at Power Automedia. Her Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox-body drag car is her prized possession.
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