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The Bronco is back with a vengeance and Ford is aiming for heavy-hitting off-road royalty the Jeep Wrangler and luxury Land Rover Defender
The exterior looks as rugged as we’d hoped.
Overall it’s a mass of boxy squareness that hints back to the Bronco’s heritage.
We absolutely love the headlights, the grille, the vintage badging. I love that the front end maintains the boxiness that the new Defender lost.
Like the Wrangler, Bronco gets hard or soft-top options, and drivers can remove door panels and the roof both of which are stowable onboard. I dig the proportions of the body with the greenhouse. It’s got side-hinged tailgate with good storage in the back. This thing looks great, full stop, and ready for whatever you throw at it.
Inside, Ford takes the less-is-more approach inspired by the first-generation Bronco. A touchscreen is implemented for infotainment purposes, but there are some knobs and buttons for climate and audio functions. A digital gauge screen comes as an option as well.
The auxiliary toggle switches on the roof might be my favorite feature. There’s even an optional GoPro mount on the dash for those interested in recording their adventures.
Speaking of, let’s get into those powertrain details. The base Bronco gets Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. (270 hp/310 lb-ft torque – projected numbers). There’s also the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 option (310 hp/400 lb-ft torque – projected numbers) if you’re looking for more buck.
A 7-speed manual is available on the 4-cylinder only. But that transmission is a special one. It gets six gears and a special crawler gear for some serious dirt chewing. The 4-banger and the V6 can also come with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.
Two transfer case options are available, one an electronic shift on the fly the other an electromechanical transfer case.
The crawl ratio on a Bronco equipped with that upgraded transfer case and the manual transmission with its special crawl gear is a brain exploding 94.75:1. As my good friend Emme said, that thing will basically drive itself.
Capability wise, the Bronco looks stellar. When properly spec’ed, approach, departure, and breakover angles best the Rubicon and keep in step with Land Rover’s new ultra-capable Defender.
Step up with your cash and front and rear lockers and a front disconnecting stabilization bar are available as well.
The new Bronco gets an independent front suspension with coil-overs. The rear set up is a solid five-link axle also with coils. Buyers can opt for heavy-duty long-travel Bilstein shocks if they want them.
There is off-road tech galore that we can’t wait to test, including up to seven drive modes, off-road mapping technology, an off-road cruise control called Trail Control, torque vectoring assist on tight off-road turns and one-pedal acceleration or braking for rock crawling precision.
Ford’s offering a bunch of different trim levels with various finish and wheel and tire packages. On the base model, expect a 30-inch all-season tire. The Sasquatch Package, yes, that’s correct, Sasquatch is as beefed up as you can get with 35-inch mud tires. That package is available on one of seven cool-sounding trims including Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Badlands.
So, not only is Ford busting out the Bronco, but the 2021 Bronco Sport’s exploding out of the corral at the same time. The Bronco Sport finally fills Ford’s slightly-larger-than-sub-compact crossover space with something that, at least at first blush, seems worthy of the badge.
Room for five, a base 1.5-liter turbo 3-cylinder engine (181 hp/190 lb-ft torque) or a bigger 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder (245 hp/275 lb-ft torque), independent front and rear suspension, and all-terrain 29-inch tires depending on which trim level you choose.
Higher trim levels will offer a twin-clutch rear-drive system with a mechanical locking rear diff and a terrain management system including a rock crawl mode. We’re looking forward to seeing how rugged this thing actually gets.
This little thing looks absolutely great, dare I say pretty similar to the Defender in the front end. As much as we’re excited for the Bronco, we’re very happy to see the Bronco Sport ready to light up this segment.
Deliveries start in the Spring of 2021, but you can reserve a Bronco now online for $100. The base price on the two-door Bronco starts at $29,995 including a $1495 destination fee. Gunning for the Wrangler for sure. The Bronco Sport will start at a lower asking price, $28,155, and arrives later this year.
You know there’s going to be a lot more to talk about, look at and driver over when it comes to both the Bronco and Bronco Sport, so stay tuned. I know we’re sure going to.