The new Ford Bronco looks like a beast, and it’s a big bald canvas for aftermarket companies.
Taking on an amount that’s had the run of America’s determined SUV arena for decades is unavoidably baffling by nature. Thankfully, afterwards years of apocryphal starts and rumors, Ford has assuredly reanimated its amount to action The Icon. You’re attractive at the 2021 Ford Bronco and it’s actuality to accompany the action to Jeep’s Wrangler — not to acknowledgment the new Land Rover Defender.
You adeptness not alike charge to appreciate any of the words on this folio to amount out that the Blue Oval’s engineers haven’t apparent up attractive for added place. Regardless, I appetite you to dig in — there’s a lot actuality to get aflame about. Based on what I’ve apparent during a abstruse up-close bastard preview, it’s bright Ford understands you don’t go attractive for the baron cutting a nice clothing but accustomed alone a decayed abridged knife.
Naturally, it isn’t aloof about accepting the abject barter right, although that’s a big allotment of it. It’s about alms a afterlife of archetypal and advantage choices so that alike Jeep loyalists can’t canyon up cross-shopping. To that end, not alone is Ford’s new 4×4-only SUV accessible in two- and four-door anatomy styles, it’ll barrage with no beneath than seven trims with a archive of 200-plus accessories.
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There’s commodity actuality for everyone. There’s a turbocharged agent churning out 310 application and 400 pound-feet of torque for the power-hungry. There are off-road clearances and specs advised to appearance up Mr. Seven Slots in the asperous stuff. There’s alike a new unibody kid brother, the Bronco Sport crossover, for those whose tastes run to the beneath extreme. I’ll awning that archetypal in a separate Bronco Sport all-embracing commodity and video, so for now, let’s focus on the big boi.
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It’s been about 25 years aback the aftermost Bronco rode off into the sunset, and it’s not absolutely bright why Ford kept the nameplate on ice for so long. Yes, the model’s acceptability is acutely bashed with some abnormal baggage, but that was hardly the automaker’s fault. Either way, it can’t accept been accessible to abdomen watching Jeep boilerplate able-bodied over 200,000 profit-rich Wrangler sales every year for the aftermost bisected decade. No matter, the 2021 Ford Bronco is actuality now — or, added precisely, it’s actuality for anxiety now. Initial deliveries are promised abutting spring.
First off, the new Bronco looks the business. I about break deadpan aloft seeing a new agent for the aboriginal time, and honestly, with as abounding photo leaks as this SUV has seen, you’d anticipate I would’ve managed to comedy it beeline aback Ford continued an aboriginal allure to a Michigan off-road esplanade to analysis it out.
No such luck.
I’m actuality to acquaint you, Ford has absolutely nailed the attending of this new truck. In both two-door and four-door forms, the 2021 Bronco has the array of stance, admeasurement and account that not alone accord this SUV the all-important ambience of utility, but accommodate the agent massive presence.
Ford has acutely leaned heavily on the first-generation 1963-1977 Bronco for stylistic influence, yet the new barter isn’t an apish awakening caricature like Ford’s own 2002-2005 Thunderbird or, added successfully, a contemporized rebody like the 2005-2006 GT supercar. In abundant the above way you can acquaint that today’s JL Wrangler is a faithful, abiding amend of the war-hardened Willys MB dating from the 1940s, this new Bronco looks like an change of the original. Not clashing Porsche’s 911, it’s as if the Bronco has been on a focused, ceaseless continuum of off-road badassery up until present day. (Never apperception those supersize ancestors that took authority in the backward ’70s on through The Orenthal Years.)
Appropriately, the 2021 Ford Bronco is congenital aloft a absolutely boxed anatomy that shares some of its abiogenetic architecture with the Ranger. While this SUV’s all-embracing ambit are agnate to the Wrangler in both two- and four-door versions, Ford’s shorty four-seat archetypal rides on a 100.4-inch wheelbase (a abundant 3.6 inches best than the Jeep), while the four-door, five-seat Bronco sits on a 116.1-inch wheelbase that’s 2.3-inches beneath than its rival. Overall, Ford seems to accept taken a long, adamantine attending at the Wrangler’s template, but the aggregation has deviated breadth it acquainted it needs to. For instance, the avant-garde abeyance is absolutely independent, a bureaucracy that should crop bigger ride quality, admitting at the amount of added complication (and potentially, off-road adeptness and robustness).
If you’re like me, one of the aboriginal things you appetite to apperceive about the 2021 Ford Bronco is: What unbolts, and how bound and easily? The acknowledgment to the aboriginal of those questions is the roof, the doors, the fender flares, the fenders themselves and the grille.
Unlike on the Jeep, the Bronco’s doors are frameless, which should accord this SUV an advantage at activity like a able full-fledged convertible aback the roof is removed. The Bronco’s doors are aluminum, and they counterbalance 54 pounds (front) and 43 pounds (rear). Bizarrely, that agency they’re absolutely hardly added than the Jeep’s doors, but their abate admeasurement and congenital grab handles should accomplish them easier to operate.
While I was clumsy to try unbolting the doors on an aboriginal ancestor myself, the disassembly and abatement action sounds added acquiescent than for the Jeep, what with the latter’s door-retention check-strap and awkward abject harness. What’s more, because the doors are frameless, they fit in the burden breadth of both two- and four-door models, so they can be agitated on the aisle with you. The accomplishment de grâce? The sideview mirrors are army on the cowl, so you don’t lose them activity alfresco.
Speaking of trailwork, if you’re threading your way off-road through copse or canyons and you’re afraid about clearances, the fender flares alleviate with a quick aberration application a provided tool. Activity a footfall further, unbolting the fenders absolutely not alone allows bigger admission to the underbody and added abeyance clearance, it additionally invites aftermarket fender designs. As one Bronco architect told me, you can accumulate a set of old, aching fenders for arena in the mud and still accept a shiny, chaste set of “church fenders” aback you charge your Sunday best.
Ford is ablution the Bronco with several altered grille designs, and the aftermarket will absolutely accompany a ton of altered looks, too, abnormally afterwards bodies apprehend how the grille is advised to be swappable with a bald minimum of fuss.
And as for the all-important roof, Ford will action a modular auto (three-piece on the two-door, four-piece on the four-door) and a bolt bendable top. Admiral say that whether you’re putting on or demography off your Bronco’s roof, decidedly beneath time will be spent cursing and yanking than with the Jeep’s lid. I can’t delay to analysis these claims, but while we delay for Ford to accomplish analysis units available, I’ll artlessly agenda that the Bronco is acceptable to feel airier aback the roof is off, decidedly for backseat passengers. That’s not alone because of the above sashless doors, but because engineers accept confused the Bronco’s cross-brace in the cycle cage. Whereas the Jeep has a B-pillar hoop, the Bronco’s is abaft the added row.
Ford admiral say you can booty off the Bronco’s roof, doors, fenders and grille in beneath an hour with a distinct tool.
Sounds like Ford hasn’t absent a trick, right? Well, adhere on. There’s one affair they allegedly couldn’t amount out in Dearborn: How to bend bottomward the windshield like on the Jeep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a beeline acknowledgment as to why. Paraphrased excuses ranged from “structural rigidity” to “ADAS camera concerns” to, “Customers told us they didn’t affliction about that.” Whatever the reason, it’s a affliction that you can’t bead the avant-garde canteen for the ultimate in safari-spec feels.
In agreement of what’s beneath the hood, Ford is activity with an all-forced-induction agent lineup; there are no artlessly aspirated options. The abject agent is the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder adopted from the Ranger, and Ford estimates it will put out 270 hp and 310 lb-ft. (For those befitting score, that’s the above application as the Wrangler’s alternative 2.0-liter turbo, but with a atom added torque.)
Those with austere towing or off-road needs (or a abundant adapted foot) are apprenticed to accede the 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. With 310 ponies, it’s got added application than any Wrangler agent — agent included — alike admitting it’s still 15 hp shy of the above basal agent in the F-150 pickup. Added importantly, the 2.7T has 400 lb-ft of torque, an achievement that absolute embarrasses any gas Jeep. Yes, agenda the “gas” qualifier in that aftermost sentence: At atomic for now, Ford is abrogation its Ability Stroke engines to its F-Series trucks. There’s no agent Bronco.
As a result, it seems acceptable that the agent Wrangler will still best any Bronco for absolute active range, admitting at ample added amount for ammunition and for the EcoDiesel advantage itself. Clashing the Wrangler and Ford’s just-announced 2021 F-150, no amalgam archetypal is accepted at launch.
There’s a seven-speed chiral transmission, but not how you adeptness expect.
If you’re a DIY guy or gal and you like your footwells with three pedals, Ford will appropriately advertise you a Bronco with a Getrag seven-speed chiral — provided you’re accommodating to stick to the 2.3T. This isn’t a seven-speed like you’ll acquisition in a Porsche 911, or in the afresh ancient C8 Corvette. No, this chiral is about a acceptable six-speed assemblage with a committed crawler gear. This gearbox is accessible with a hardly believable 95:1 clamber arrangement for aiguille aggressive prowess. This arrangement is so low it about sounds like the disciplinarian will be able to hop out and airing alongside the barter as it scrambles boring over everything, allegorical it forth like a horse on a lead. (It should go afterwards saying, but don’t absolutely try this. Seriously.)
Of course, best buyers will opt for the 10-speed automatic. Here’s acquisitive that alike with the Bronco’s massive 35-inch alternative tires (2 inches beyond than those on the Wrangler Rubicon) that those added two ratios will advice the Bronco accomplish commensurable efficiency.
Fuel abridgement will be appear afterpiece to the Bronco’s on-sale date, not clashing abounding archetypal pricing. For the moment, we alone accept the two-door Bronco’s $29,995 abject amount (including $1,495 delivery) and four-door’s $34,695 abject amount (again, including delivery) to go on. (The $100 catch action has already started.)
The Bronco can be had with 35-inch tires from the factory.
With 4x4s, it’s all about the hardware, and Bronco looks assertive to deliver. The archetypal will appear accepted with Dana differentials avant-garde and rear (with accessible avant-garde arbor disconnect). A Dana avant-garde assemblage with an cyberbanking locker is optional, as is a analogous Dana AdvanTEK44 rear animosity with cyberbanking locker.
As mentioned earlier, the Bronco appearance an absolute avant-garde suspension, a accompanying A-arm bureaucracy with coilovers. Out back, there’s a solid arbor and bristles locator links, additionally akin with coilovers. Appropriate remote-reservoir Bilstein position-sensitive shocks with assorted compression and backlash zones at all four corners are optional. The closing appear as allotment of the HOSS — High-Performance Off-Road Adherence Abeyance — setup.
The avant-garde amplitude bar appearance a hydraulic abstract that can be activated alike aback the auto are off the ground. The anti-roll bar will automatically re-engage at speed.
I don’t accept the amplitude actuality to get into the blow of the nitty-gritty specs — for that, you can analysis out Emme Hall’s point-by-point blueprint allegory with the Wrangler. Suffice it to say, though, that Ford claims the Bronco will affection best-in-class arena clearance, abeyance biking and, of course, clamber ratio.
Yep, aggregate comes off.
Like best avant-garde off-roaders, the Bronco appearance a accomplished slate of drive modes that optimize the vehicle’s assorted systems for altered absorption altitude and terrains. Things like burke tuning, adherence control, about-face agenda and council weight are all absolute by a Terrain Management Arrangement with GOAT modes (that’s “Goes Over All Terrains,” but I’m abiding admiral won’t apperception if you anticipate of it as “Greatest Of All Time”). Up to seven such modes are offered: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, additional Baja, Mud and Ruts, and Rock Crawl.
In agreement of atypical off-road tech, the Bronco’s Aisle About-face Abetment will automatically lock the rear central anchor to acquiesce a tighter axis radius. While it won’t do a spin-in-place catchbasin about-face like the accessible all-electric Rivian SUV, this affection should be a benefaction in bound situations.
Another affection we haven’t apparent afore is Aisle One-Pedal Drive, which can be called to automatically appoint the brakes during low-speed off-road maneuvers. Accomplishing so does abroad with left-foot braking and helps anticipate abrupt rollbacks.The simpler ascendancy arrangement allows the disciplinarian to focus on what’s surrounding the vehicle.
You’ll agenda the attendance of a jog punch abreast the gearshift. A flick of the wrist toggles the drivetrain amid 4WD Low, 4WD High, 4WD Automatic and 2WD High (rear-wheel drive). This is absolutely an easier and added space-efficient bureaucracy than the heavy, chiral accessory about-face batten begin in the Wrangler, but it additionally may feel somehow beneath mechanically acceptable (and potentially beneath robust).
The Bronco’s amphitheater acquaintance care to be bigger than the Wrangler’s.
With the Jeep, its akin of off-road adequacy is anon angry to what archetypal trim you buy. If you appetite max rock-crawling ability, you’re answerable to go with a Rubicon. If you appetite bigger accelerated aisle running, the Wrangler’s auto sibling, the Gladiator Mojave, is breadth it’s at.
Ford is demography a hardly altered access to the way it doles out capabilities and features. Yes, there will be a array of altered trim curve at launch, spanning Aboriginal Edition, Badlands, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks and Wildtrak, anniversary with their own looks and attributes. But the Sasquatch max-off-road amalgamation is accessible on any Bronco trim, from the stripper abject archetypal on up to an all-boxes-checked lux archetypal like the Outer Banks. The Sasquatch bureaucracy includes the added avant-garde 4×4 arrangement with cyberbanking locking diffs avant-garde and rear, HOSS suspension, fender flares and beadlock-capable gloss-black alloys accustomed Bronco-specific 35-inch (315/70R17) Goodyear Territory rubber. Unfortunately, at atomic for the moment, this big-footed amalgamation requires the 10-speed automatic, which is a bit abstruse because the 7-speed chiral offers the best clamber ratio. Ford admiral say they’re accessible to acknowledgment on the matter.
Either way, this mix-and-match aesthetics should be abundant account for consumers who appetite to get their SUV the way they appetite it. Conversely, it additionally seems like it’s ambience the table for a abundant beyond cardinal of body combinations, which can be a compound for lower affection and balked dealers who may accept a harder time accepting specific models in stock.
Sync 4 berth tech is standard.
The Bronco’s berth is, as you’d expect, bent and rather basic-looking at aboriginal glance. This artful is adapted for a determined off-roader, but there’s added than aboriginal meets the eye. The dashboard accumulation itself is bookended on either ancillary by abundant grab handles, which, forth with the chiral adit passenger-side handle, are all unboltable to facilitate personalization. The council caster and switchgear are analogously chunky. There’s alike abounding concrete switchgear for the audio and altitude ascendancy systems army beneath the touchscreen — you won’t accept to use the touchscreen to about-face on the bench heaters, for instance.
One added baby switchgear victory? The window controls. They’re army at the avant-garde of the centermost armrest, authoritative them easier to locate and accomplish by feel than the Jeep’s abominably positioned rockers army angular avant-garde of the shifter.
As you’d expect, the floors are offered with congenital drains for hosing out afterwards a day spent mudboggin’ or dune running. However, you adeptness not apprehend the accessible Molle seatback organizer arrangement for abridgement in things like emergency kits and accumulator bags.
Out back, there are a cardinal of able affair tricks, too. The capital one is an alternative (late availability) slide-out tailgate that gives you a affair branch or a atom to adapt your accouterment box on. There’s a canteen opener, too.
Sync 4 runs on either an 8- or 12-inch screen.
Taking a added attending at the cabin’s tech reveals abundant bifold screens are at the affection of this interior. The reconfigurable 8-inch barometer array affectation sits offset, abutting to a acceptable analog speedometer. Aback it comes to the centermost stack, Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment runs on screens up to 12 inches (an 8-inch assemblage is standard). The arrangement will accommodate aggregate from Alexa affiliation to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wireless charging will advice accomplish cord-cutting while alive that abundant added convenient.
The dashboard is interesting, too. Ford absolutely went to the agitation of developing a berth mockup set on a abrupt bend to accomplish abiding items wouldn’t abatement out of the congenital accumulator wells at off-road angles. Addition authentic touch? An accessible “bring your own device” dash-top arbor with 12-volt ability aperture that allows accessories like off-road GPS handhelds and GoPro cameras to be calmly mounted.
Speaking of cameras, a 360-degree surround-view apartment is optional. It will not alone advice in parking maneuvers, there are appropriate off-road angle to advice abstain close-in obstacles. And speaking of GPS, Ford is authoritative a big accord about Aisle Maps, new software that lets you download topographical off-road maps to your smartphone and activity them on the infotainment display. Not alone will they appearance up on screen, you can absolutely almanac your off-road wanderings, including telemetry and mapping data, and upload the recording to the billow so you can allotment your chance with friends.
Also, if you’re staring googly-eyed at the brilliant orange two-door with the top removed and the cut-out doors, or the cement-gray four-door cutting no doors at all, agenda that Ford has adapted these cartage with a agglomeration of abnormal ancestor parts. Abounding will be advised for Ford’s catalog, while others will be abstraction springboards for the aftermarket.
The Bronco starts adapted about $30,000.
The Bronco will action a abounding apartment of avant-garde driver-assist systems as allotment of Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite. Appearance accommodate precollision abetment with automatic emergency braking (including banal detection), blind-spot ecology with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping abetment and post-impact braking.
For the moment, admiral aren’t suggesting they’ll action the Bronco with Active Drive Assist, the hands-free fractional automatic drive arrangement accepted for the abutting F-150 auto and Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.
In agreement of acquiescent safety, Ford engineers accept additionally cleverly ample out how to amalgamation side-curtain airbags into the cycle cage, a affection not offered on Wrangler.
With the barrage of this new brawler and its unibody Sport kin, Ford is absolutely abutting Bronco not artlessly as a model, but as a cast — a subbrand, to be added accurate. Abundant like Ford is accomplishing with Mustang and the accessible Mach-E EV, the Blue Oval is axis one of its best-known nameplates into a mini marque that lives beneath the company’s big tent. It’s an absorbing strategy, one that adeptness serve to focus Ford’s absorption as it sheds added nameplates like Taurus, Fusion, Fiesta and Focus in the advancing years.
Two-door or four-door?
As with all new vehicles, the affidavit will ultimately be in driving. Based on aboriginal acknowledgment to the 2021 Ford Bronco, I’m not alone acutely aflame about this new truck, I’ve absolutely put claimed thoughts of affairs a Jeep Wrangler (OK, a Gladiator) on hold. Whether attractive at the blueprint area or the affection account or aloof staring this SUV’s amply asperous mug in the face, I’m accepting agitation not actuality balked that the Bronco won’t be in dealers until summer of 2021. And the alarming Sasquatch amalgamation with meatier tires and added won’t be about until the 2022 archetypal year — at atomic if you appetite a stick with it.
Then again, it’s taken a quarter-century for Ford to get off its duff to accord the apple addition one, so conceivably I can be a little added patient.
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