By on July 13, 2020

Eventually, the absence of a body-on-frame, go-anywhere, dedicated off-road SUV was too great for the Ford lineup to bear — which is why, after a quarter-century absence, the Bronco triumphantly returns to do battle with its Mopar foe, the Jeep Wrangler.

Talked about endlessly since Ford announced the storied model’s return and leaked as often as celebrity medical records to the National Enquirer, the Bronco makes its debut with the goodies fans want and certain things all SUVs need in the futuristic year of 2021. Namely, a four-door model.

Yet it’s the two-door model many might want, given its closer physical resemblance to those rugged Broncos of yore. With removable roof and doors, a standard seven-speed manual transmission with crawler gear, standard four-wheel drive, and available V6 power, the reborn Bronco offers customers no shortage of ways to customize their ride.

Happily, it seems the Blue Oval wasn’t looking to field an also-ran. Built atop a fully boxed frame composed of high-strength steel, the Bronco line offers up a number of specs that top its Wrangler rival — depending on trim, of course.

Without getting bogged down in the weeds, here’s the basics: Your entry-level Bronco, regardless of door count, arrives with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making a preliminary 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, mated to the aforementioned seven-speed stick and a two-speed shift-on-the-fly 4WD system. Beneath this SUV lies a Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle (five-link with coil-over springs) and a Dana AdvanTek independent front (coil-over springs with upper and lower A-arms) with electronic locking differentials available front and rear.

Optional is Ford’s well-regarded 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, rated at a presumed 310 hp and 400 lb-ft — an engine only available with a 10-speed automatic. Sorry, no manual with the six-cylinder. Available with both engines, as well as both transmissions, is a two-speed electromechanical transfer case with automatic 4H engagement if things suddenly get slick. You’ll want this latter case if serious rock-crawling is on your to-do list.

When paired with the stick shift and its ultra-low crawler gear, the electromechanical unit gives the Bronco a boastworthy crawl ratio of 94.75:1, topping what’s available in the Jeep stable. Crawl ratio for the seven-speed/entry 4WD system is 79.92:1. Opt for the autobox, and the ratio for the two 4WD units is 57.19:1 and 67.8:1, respectively.

Max towing capacity for either engine or body style is 3,500 pounds.

Approach, departure, and breakover angles will depend on what wheels and rubber set up shop at each corner. Entry-level Broncos come with 16-inch wheels shod in 30-inch rubber, but, depending on trim and package, three 32-inchers and two 33-inchers can be had, as well as a range-topping 35-inch set of hoops that gives the Bronco a 29-degree breakover angle and 37.2-degree departure angle. The absence of an approach angle mention confirms that, yes, the Wrangler’s front end is more suited to tackling obstacles (though not by much, in 35-inch-tire guise). Maximum water fording in this spec is 33.5 inches, topping the top-flight Wrangler’s 30 inches.

Maximum ground clearance for the Bronco is 11.6 inches, topping the Wrangler’s 10.8 inches. That’s top-end stuff, though. In base form, the Bronco’s 8.3-inch or 8.4-inch ground clearance (four door; two-door) doesn’t measure up to that of a Wrangler Sport.

Offered in Sport, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, Badlands, and limited-edition First Edition, the Bronco can be had with a variety of packages, the most gnarly one being the appropriately named Sasquatch. Optional on all trims but Wildtrak and First Edition (where it’s standard kit, much like the V6), the Sasquatch package adds 17-inch beadlock wheels with 35-inch mud-and-snow rubber, front and rear locking differentials, a 4.7:1 final drive ratio, high-clearance fender flares, and long-track suspension with Bilstein dampers for maximum ground clearance.

And yes, there’s an available sway bar disconnect if you so desire; one that can disconnect or reengage during feats of articulation. A terrain management system offers drivers a slew of “G.O.A.T.” modes (harkening back to the original Bronco’s nickname), with up to seven settings labelled Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl. Lower-end Broncos see five or six modes.

Pricing starts at $29,995 after destination for the base two-door and $34,695 for the four-door.

(Update: Per Ford’s consumer site, Big Bend pricing starts at $34,880 after destination, with Black Diamond starting at $37,545, Outer Banks at $40,450, Badlands at $43,590, Wildtrak at $50,370, and First Edition at $60,800.) 

Clearly, Ford aimed for a functional retro design when it set about to build a new Bronco. As seen in countless leaks and teasers, the slab-sided design mimics the original Bronco right down to the front fender tie-downs, each capable of handling 150 pounds. The side mirrors are cowl-mounted, as Ford assumes owners will want to remove the frameless doors for extra adventure. In four-door guise, the Bronco’s doors can be stowed in the cargo compartment, each wrapped in a protective bag.

Speaking of rear ends, while the rear cargo door is a side-hinged affair (saddled with a glorious full-size spare in a very accessible spot), tailgate parties and other fun activities requiring a flat surface can still take place on this nifty pull-out shelf. Sometimes it’s the little things…

Drivers can also choose just how much sun their passengers get, with the four-door offered with a standard soft top or optional segmented hardtop. Or, you an outfit the Bronco with both. In two-door guise, the roof comes off in three sections: two panels over the front seat (stowable on board), and a rear section. The four-door hardtop brings two front seat roof panels, a single rear-seat panel, and a rear quarter section that boasts removable windows. The two-door’s aft glass can also be jettisoned in the same easy manner.

Leaving the options and accessories lists aside (there’s everything from rock rails to see-through modular doors to light bars), the Bronco twins offer very necessary grab handles in the cabin, with an optional 12-inch SYNC 4 infotainment screen if the view out the windshield isn’t compelling enough (standard screen size is 8 inches). A 360-degree camera view with spotter feature makes the upgrade system invaluable if you’re off-roading solo. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assist features is an optional nice-to-have.

Fancy stuff, but if you expect to get dirty, Black Diamond and Badlands are your trims of choice, as both offer vinyl seats and a rubberized floor — an interior just begging for the garden hose after a long day of mudding.

With production delayed, much like this debut, by the coronavirus lockdown, Bronco deliveries aren’t expected until the new year. In the meantime, Ford’s accepting $100 reservations as of now. More details, including pricing and options, will be forthcoming closer to the on-sale date.

Join the Ford Bronco Forum here.

[Images: Ford]

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71 Comments on “2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door and Four-Door: Forward to the Past...”


  • avatar
    el scotto

    1. It will sell. 2. Expect Additional Dealer Markup” for at least the next six months. 1+2 = as many as they can get for as much as they can get.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Dont forget the $1500 “Chrome-like PVD wheels” and the $2000 “appearance package” that consists of chromed or blacked out trim bits worth maybe $100.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I already want one. Base 2-door with stick. Some color called “drab” or “sand”, something like that. No options. Options are for girls.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Customers win! We now have competition for the Wrangler. I really like the looks of both the two door and four door. Congratulations Ford!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Very cool and looks to be very capable. It looks rugged, but more refined then the Wrangler. There’s a lot of Land Rover Defender in that Bronco. Yeah, it will sell for a lot of money :(

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Imagine that – Ford giving the Jeep folks things that they have been asking for. 7 speed manual with a crawl gear? 360 degree camera with spotter mode? If the Bronco is more reliable than the Wrangler (which shouldnt be hard to do), Jeep will have a day of reckoning sooner rather than later.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      My 4WD phase ended long ago, so it has been some years since I was active on any Jeep forums, but I would imagine there is a lot of “But muh solid front axle” posts among the faithful right now. It does seem to pretty much check every other block I remember though.

    • 0 avatar

      Gladiator has the trail cam thing but they haven’t put it on the wrangler yet but I’m guessing it will be next year.
      Given Fords recent rep, I would expect reliability to be same or possibly worse then the wrangler.
      Overall I’m impressed, just waiting to see if the solid axle thing actually matters at all.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Wow. These look absolutely awful. Completely out of proportion and overall very gaudy. Add to that the terrible tag line “built wild” and the awful trim level names and it’s clear Ford was completely lost on this project. It’s like they let an entire group of high school interns have this project from start to finish

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t like Jeeps and didn’t expect to like this much but this surprised me. I really like it.

    1. Retro and cheerful instead of angry and compensating.

    2. IFS so it will be pleasant on road.

    3. Of course there isn’t a V8 but the 2.7 really is the next best thing. If the media site is to be believed the tallest axle is 3.73, which seems hard to believe when they could have put on 3.15s for an extra 0.1 mpg, but if true that’s even better.

    4. The big tires package is the Sasquatch edition.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It would be difficult for the 2.3 to turn 32 inch tires, geared taller than 3.73s. The 4.70s sound extra low, except turning 35 inch tires, which I believe have never been seen on anything factory midsize.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        If one picks the right gear ratio especially with the low 1st gear any tire offered from Ford should be no problem even for the 2.3 litre. It is great that Ford is offering 35’s as an option. Jeeps won’t fit a 12.5/35 on stock wheels unless you get wheel spacers or aftermarket offset wheels. 35’s are the default size for most off-roaders. Anything bigger and drive-line durability plummets.
        I see that Ford is offering electronic sway-bar disconnect. If it is anything like the Jeep system it will be problematic in anything but dry off-road conditions. My buddy removed them from his Rubicon after multiple issues. He now has manual”quick disconnect” units.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Not a truck/suv guy.

    I am in love with this thing.

    Ford will sell a c**pload of these.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Wow….pleasantly surprised that there’s a 35” tire option straight from the factory….well done. If only you could get the 5.0 litre in the top trim, that may pull me out of my Raptor into one of these. As it is, I really like the gray four door more than I thought that I would!

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Where is the B.U.T.?
    Bronco Utility Truck to compete with Gladiator?

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Or the Dirt, Inclement-weather, Cargo, Kicka$$, or…D.I.C.K. for the discerning off road truck driver.

      That is actually such a good idea, it would sell like gangbusters. You know D.I.C.Ks everywhere would come out of the woodwork to snatch those up.

      Taking screenshot so ford can pay me royalties.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    It pains me to say, because all we need is more off road dedicated SUVs that will never see anything more challenging than a gravel driveway……but this is very cool. Love the powder blue color. I’m sure what we are seeing is the highly optioned trims, would love to see a dressed down base trim. Guessing not nearly as cool. This will definitely take a bite out of Jeep sales. Good work Ford, maybe you can actually launch this one without huge quality glitches.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      The cool yellow two door pictured above is no doubt loaded up with a lot of Ford sanctioned 200+ upgrades from their catalogue….those are Method Racing wheels on that rig so no doubt there’s a multitude of licensing deals with a lot of aftermarket manufacturers.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Good effort – I wish them well.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    And if the Bronco proves to be better as a daily driver (quieter, no dreaded “death wobble”) while just as capable off road – then Jeep will find Wrangler sales hurting.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Death Wobble” is a solid-axle exclusive. IFS clearly has the street/daily comfort advantage. Although you lose lots of “street cred” for the true off road.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Bronco will steal thunder from Wrangler for those people who NEVER go off road but want to look like they do.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          But I though the people who NEVER go off road watch the youtube adventure and expedition channels and try to emulate those that do.

          Does the Bronco have a provision for roof mounting a tent? That’s the real question. (the real one that is- obviously the small Bronco does, which is sort of funny that is the way they make it ‘legit’ in the marketing.)

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Funny too, because the baddest of the bad, the H1, is independent front AND rear, as are many purpose built off-road racers.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt51

      Current generation Wrangler is quiet.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve seen two starting prices for the 2-door, $28,995 and $29,995. Right inline with the Wrangler, no surprise

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      Ford is almost as bad as Porsche in making you take expensive options to get a few things you really want. You can bet that base models will be unobtainium and your dealer will be chock-a-block with ’em that have $50K stickers.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Early Gladiator production was heavy on the loaded models. It will all sort itself out.

        Ford Dealers will have to get used to custom orders because I suspect the true enthusiasts will want to order their vehicles “just so.”

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Apparently the “Sasquatch” package (i.e. lift, 35″ tires, skid plates, etc) can be had on any trim level.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Those front hood-mounted or fender edge-mounted tie-down hooks are quite creative. Good for tying your boat or canoe on the roof. It’s kind of a more practical and subtle version of the Hummer H3 hood tie down that’s incorporated into the center vent.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m guessing there will be an all hands meeting tomorrow for the people in charge of the Wrangler.

    First thing, how quick can we get 35’s on it.

    • 0 avatar

      The JL was designed to fit 35s with a 2-2.4″ lift that’s dealer installed (mopar part#) My guess is they would only have to certify it. The rumor was they don’t factory install per agreements with the aftermarket.

  • avatar
    silverfin

    The Bronco looks great and practical. The Wrangler, like all Chrysler family products, is a smoking pile of junk mechanically with the fit and finish of a Lada. I expect that Ford will build this truck to a higher standard and maybe if we are lucky encourage Toyota and perhaps Suzuki to step up with an even better effort. The new Ford Ranger was a good start but the 10 speed auto has been shapnelling in the 4 wheels down tow mode behind RVs….so its a no go zone for towing which is too bad as there are less and less vehicles to put behind the Class A RV (the last good one was the 2014 Honda CR-V). Maybe a manual Bronco will be the one.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      What FCA product needed to be shipped to another factory for emergency repairs immediately after being built?

      Oh wait. Ford is the one that owns that trophy. This little crossover is a joke. Jeep has nothing to worry about.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “What FCA product needed to be shipped to another factory”

        Post-production rework happens all the time and probably all the manufacturers do it. Usually, it’s done at the production plant, but in Ford’s case they shipped it to another plant. Rework is a problem when a company decides not to do it and sends it to the dealer hoping no one notices. I’ve seen GM do that many years ago. Maybe Jeep should consider sending the Wranglers I keep seeing with orange peel paint on the doors to another factory for repainting?

  • avatar
    NoID

    Any details on the actual transmission ratios, including this “crawl” ratio? Is this a bespoke transmission made for Ford, with a true crawl ratio, or is it just a math game similar to how Jeep advertises a “crawl” ratio for the Renegade and Compass which is really just a somewhat short 1st gear ratio coupled with an similarly short final drive ratio?

    My engineering mind wants to know.

    • 0 avatar
      jebediahjones

      I haven’t seen anything on the transmission ratios. My napkin math on the crawler gear says it’s somewhere around 6.59:1. My assumptions are based on an 79.92:1 crawl ratio with 4.46 gears and a 2.72:1 transfer case. So to answer your question, it seems like it’s both.

      That ratio puts it around the old SM465 found in GM trucks, which was indeed a granny gear.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The only thing surprising is the towing capacity is only 3500#, the same as our minivan. I would have thought it would have been at least 5000#.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I think it looks great. Maybe they should have gone with a Bronco-E instead of the Mach, although there might have been an issue with aerodynamics. They have been seen testing a Mach-E with chopped front and rear with a wider track, so maybe they’re thinking about it? Seeing the Bronco, this prototype kind of looks like it in a way.

    youtu.be/RszqMl3D-NI

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I think that they did a very good job of staying as close as they could to the look, mission and feeling of the first gen Bronco while making it modern. Would I have loved a V8 of some sort in it?

    Absolutely! But I doubt that will ever happen even if they have a Raptorized version….they’ll probably drop in the TT3.5.

    On the plus side, the fact that this can be had lifted with 35s from the factory, with warranty….is pretty amazing.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    These look great, but WTF is going on with that cut-out on the door on the 2-door?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Those are the “see-through modular doors” mentioned in the article, available as an option. So you can leave the doors on, yet still see obstacles. How effective will they be? It’s anybody’s guess.

  • avatar

    Looks great, especially the two-door. Waiting to see the luxury/leather interior option. And I hope they make a fixed metal roof version.

    I’m really glad they didn’t half-ass it on this very important product.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Agreed…although I think it could have a touch more rear overhang….as it is the front looks a little too long in comparison to the rear proportions.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m still not sold on the grille with the lines running through the headlights (I’d prefer something closer to the original Bronco), but overall, I like it. I’d take one in a two-door, close to the base, with the 7-speed and base transfer case.

    Is Ford going to offer some of the same paint colors as on the original Bronco? They had a knockout red color you see in some old press photos, and a nice sky blue.

    I just hope they don’t blow the launch with stop-sale orders, or reworking of defects. Hackett and Farley should be on engineering and assembly management to make sure there’s a smooth launch. This is too important.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      With how poor the Ford Blazer was executed, I think we need to hope that those two buffoons stay far away from any of the launch. We have seen what a wonderful job they did with the Explorer and MKExplorer.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Solid front axle is a must. Solid axle allows much greater wheel travel than independent suspension. This vehicle is not intended for the true off roader. Most people don’t want a manual transmission, unfortunately. This Bronco looks good for the intended, driving on the road, market.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt51

      What the military buys, and what you get commercially, are two different things, regarding independent suspension. Wrangler will (most probably) beat the Bronco for off road durability. Most buyers are not going to be into rock crawling though.

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