The Bronco is back.
Well, here it is. The biggest, most anticipated new product of 2020 has finally arrived as one of the few good moments in a veritable ocean of bad. The 2021 Ford Bronco is the first vehicle to try and beat the Jeep Wrangler at its own game, offering extreme off-road capability in a heritage-inspired wrapper that will tug at the heartstrings of older customers and stoke the desires of younger drivers without breaking the banks of either.
We have a tremendous amount to tell you about the new two- and four-door Bronco, as well as the new four-door Bronco Sport (you can read all about the baby Bronco here). Tuck in, there’s a lot coming your way and it all looks very good.
The All-New Ford Bronco
The 2020 Bronco marks the return of a nameplate that exited the market in 1996 after a 31-year run. But where the old Bronco left as a hulking full-size, two-door SUV, the new version returns as something that's much closer in spirit to the legendary 1966 truck – Ford went as far as scanning a a classic example, after all – and we're not just talking about how it looks.
In announcing the Bronco's return as a family of products in early July, Ford described a vehicle that needed the “toughness of an F-Series and the spirit of a Mustang.” Dismissing that as little more than marketing speak thought up by some 21st-century Don Draper type is easy, but it's a pretty clear description of where the new Bronco exists in Ford's lineup. This is first and foremost an enthusiast vehicle, but it slots in well below the Raptor in much the same way as the Mustang EcoBoost and Mustang GT exist independent of the Shelby models.
Ford describes the Bronco as a vehicle with the “toughness of an F-Series and the spirit of a Mustang.”
The Mustang is an apt comparison, too, as the Bronco takes a similar approach to life with two available powertrains, an available manual gearbox, and an enthusiast bent for each of its trims, thanks in part to the Sasquatch package. Aside from being probably the best name for a group of equipment in the whole of automotive history, the Sasquatch pack is available on every Bronco trim and adds a host of off-road features from 35-inch tires on 17-inch beadlock wheels to an upgraded off-road suspension and front and rear locking differentials.
The Bronco isn't merely some brute instrument, though. It's available with a 12.0-inch touchscreen running Ford's latest infotainment system, Sync 4, complete with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also a host of apps that will help Bronco owners get outdoors. That includes over 1,000 pre-loaded trail maps and a trail tracking system, so drivers can monitor and share their progress. It's almost like off-road social media.
The Bronco isn't merely some brute instrument.
And once on the trail, an advanced suite of driver assistance systems will keep Bronco owners moving. In addition to the actual hardware – the wheels/tires (special, Goodyear rubber), lockers, low-range gear, disconnecting sway bars – the Bronco is available with a Trail Toolbox.
You'll get Ford's innovative Trail Control, which is basically cruise control for off-road, and Trail One-Pedal Drive, to make rock-crawling easier. Finally, Trail Turn Assist uses torque vectoring to help decrease turning radiuses, making switchback corners easier to manage. There's even an advanced 360-degree camera system, too, which can take the place of a human spotter for really difficult bits of trail. Adding a winch could complicate that piece of tech, though.
The Bronco has the capability, but what it's truly built for is customization. When the two- and four-door models launch in summer 2021 (not spring), they'll do so alongside over 200 factory-backed accessories, all of which customers can roll into the purchase price. Beyond that, Ford designed the interior and exterior for customers to strip or add whatever they could possibly need on the trail.
Click here to rewatch the Bronco's reveal, or scroll down for more on the 2021 Bronco's cabin, exterior, powertrains, and other details.
Ford Bronco Interior
The Bronco’s cabin, like the rest of the vehicle, takes a modular approach. There are the basic fixed items – the seats, steering wheel, a knob for the off-road driving modes (called GOAT modes, for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain), and a touchscreen that spans up to a foot from corner to corner – but beyond those, Ford lets owners have their way.
There’s a built-in device rack, so owners can easily attach a phone, camera, or GPS unit without suction-cupping it to the windshield. There’s also a 12-volt power source up there, for cable management purposes. Big grab handles on the center consoles and the ends of the dash give both passenger and driver something to hang onto, but if you’d rather not have these, it’s easy to swap them out with a different item. Throughout this car, there are silver bolts with “BRONCO” stamped on their head, signifying that the item they secure is replaceable with a Ford-sourced accessory. A quick look at the cabin reveals a smattering of them.
Beyond the modularity, there are functional pieces, too. Ford is offering a marine-grade vinyl upholstery and both active and passive drain plugs in the rubberized floor, so owners don’t need to worry about getting wet on the trails or caught out by a passing shower when driving with the roof and doors off. And if the cabin gets muddy, it’s easy to hose out.
You can read more about the 2021 Ford Bronco’s interior, including an in-depth look at the design, here.
Ford Bronco Exterior
The exterior of the two- and four-door Bronco adheres very closely to the design introduced way back in 1966. This is not a bad thing. After years of the only capable, boxy SUVs being the familiar Jeep Wrangler and the rare Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, the Bronco’s clean design is a breath of fresh air. But it's also brutal, full of hard edges, severe angles, and free of unnecessary flourishes.
“There’s no decorative chrome or extraneous styling,” Bronco design boss Paul Wraith told us during a media backgrounder.
And it’s true, but Wraith’s work goes beyond stripping away the unnecessary – it actively hides the necessary. For example, the doors are frameless, so the lines are cleaner when the roof is off and you get a more open-air feel. It also means if you want to yank the doors, there’s much less to handle. Wraith’s team also hid the door hinges to score that smooth, unfettered profile view.
“There’s no decorative chrome or extraneous styling,” Bronco design boss Paul Wraith says.
Then there are the functional details. The 1966 Bronco’s flared hood inspired the design of those little bits at the corners of the 2020 Bronco’s hood. Called Trail Sights, they double as indicators for where the vehicle’s front corners are at while driving and as tie-down straps for roof-mounted gear. Ford even solved the mirror problem, which FCA seemed content to leave to the aftermarket, mounting them to the body instead. So when you want to yank the doors off, you aren’t giving up access to your side-view mirrors in the process.
Speaking of pulling the doors, that goes hand in hand with removing the roof. Ford will offer the two-door Bronco with hard tops as standard – the base models will feature a three-piece design with two removable front panels and a single rear section, like you currently get on a Jeep Wrangler. Optionally, a modular roof will add removable panels over the rear seats and cargo area – and yes, the panels store neatly onboard. As for the four-door Bronco, it’s the only way to get a softtop, which comes standard. The optional hardtop has four removable panels. Ford considered a fold-flat windshield, but opted against it.
Ford is expanding its color lineup for Bronco, mixing classic shades like Oxford White and Race Red – both Mustang shades – with new additions like the Antimatter Blue, Area 51, Lucid Red, and (your author’s personal favorite) the Mustang Mach-E’s Cyber Orange. The roofs come standard in black, although body color and white hardtops are available depending on the trim.
In March 2021, Ford announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delaying the modular hardtop and dual-top options until the 2022 model year. Customers can either convert their orders to MY2022, option down to a soft-top, or stick with the standard un-painted hardtop.
Here’s the full list of colors, and you can can see what they look like in the sun and shade thanks to these handy jerrycans.
New Bronco Colors
- Antimatter Blue
- Area 51
- Cactus Gray
- Carbonized Gray
- Cyber Orange
- Iconic Silver
- Oxford White
- Race Red
- Rapid Red
- Shadow Black
- Velocity Blue
2021 Ford Bronco Prices & Release Date
Ford will release the two- and four-door Bronco in the spring of 2021 (but only in North America, so far), although orders are open now. Like, at this very moment. All it takes is a refundable $100 deposit to reserve your place in line. You can change your pre-order configuration through January. On October 23, Ford released the Bronco build-and-price website, giving owners a chance to kit out their ideal off-roader.
As for what you can get and how much you'll have to spend, here's what we know. Ford will offer both two- and four-door models in six trims, not counting the limited First Edition (which is already sold out). Each trim will be available with the Sasquatch package (allegedly a $5,000 extra, at most) which adds 35-inch tires and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, an upgraded four-wheel-drive system, front and rear locking differentials, and the High-Performance Off-Road Stability System (or HOSS, for short) suspension with Bilstein dampers at all four corners.
While Ford wasn't initially planning to offer the manual transmission with Sasquatch-equipped vehicles, in mid-September, the company bowed to fan protests and announced that the two desirable options were not mutually exclusive. That said, the COVID-19 pandemic is delaying the manual Sasquatch until 2022.
Beyond that, a number of option packages called Mid, High, or Lux will be available. You can get the full breakdown for each of those packages in the images above. In other words, while Ford has taken great strides to limit possible configurations for its other vehicles to save on costs, the Bronco is taking the F-150 approach and offering many thousands of different configurations. Speaking of costs, though, we still don't know how much any of those option groups, or the Sasquatch package, will cost yet (although there are definitely some rumors).
The Bronco Base starts at $28,500 and $33,200 for the four-door. It's “For customers who know they're building to their own specs. A blank slate or for purists,” Bronco Marketing Manager Esteban Plaza-Jennings told us. We know the Sasquatch pack will be available, while LED headlights and an 8.0-inch touchscreen running Sync 4 are also standard. The four-door comes standard with a fabric top.
The Bronco Big Bend increases the price comes to $33,385 for the two-door, but only by about $2,500 for the four, all while adding more off-road and comfort equipment. 32-inch tires are standard on 17-inch wheels and Ford's Co-Pilot 360 technology is available. The Big Bend gets a Carbonized Gray grille and tinted rear windows, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.
The flagship Bronco trim, and the closest analogue to the Wrangler Rubicon, is the Badlands.
Bronco Black Diamond, starting at $36,050 or $38,545, is where the real off-road gear starts arriving, including steel bumpers and skid plates, a standard rear locker, and the marine-grade vinyl with rubberized flooring. There are accessory switches in an overhead console, too. If you're talking about a hardcore off-road bruiser, this trim seems like it will be a good mix of capability, durability, and affordability. Along with the Sasquatch pack, owners can snag the Mid pack for additional goodies.
The $38,955/$41,450 Bronco Outer Banks builds on the Big Bend with additional luxury equipment, including high-gloss wheels, LED headlights, and the larger 12.0-inch display as standard. This is also where you'll start to see leather upholstery. Ford also paints the exterior door handles, mirror caps, and fender flares to match the body. Heated seats also come standard, while owners can access the High and Lux packages at this point.
Ford describes the Bronco Wildtrak, starting at $48,875 and $51,370, as “a desert runner,” and to support that mission it comes standard with the larger engine option, a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6. That also means you likely won't find a Wildtrak with a manual gearbox. This is also the first trim where 35-inch rubber and beadlock-capable wheels come standard. The Mid pack comes standard, although you'll stick with cloth seats. Both the High and Lux pack are available, as is leather upholstery.
While the Wildtrak is all about bounding over open terrain, the Bronco Badlands is for low-speed off-roading and is therefore the closest analogue to the Wrangler Rubicon. Prices start at $42,095 or $44,590. It essentially marries a number of lesser trims with a host of off-road equipment. The Sasquatch pack adds the few bits of off-road kit that are missing (35-inch rubber and the locking diffs) while leather seats, and all three option packs (Mid, High, and Lux) are also available.
Finally, Ford describes the limited First Edition Bronco ($59,305/$63,500) as carrying the Badlands mechanicals with the best bits of the Outer Banks cabin and Wildtrak exterior. You'll also score the Lux package, Sasquatch package, unique graphics, a Shadow Black hardtop, and unique interior touches. Heated leather seats are also standard. While the First Edition sold out quickly the night of the Bronco's debut, on June 21, 2020, it was confirmed that Ford was expanding availability from 3,500 to 7,000 units. In January 2021, Ford showed the first images of a black leather interior for the First Edition.
Here's what all that pricing looks like in a handy table. None of these figures include destination charges, which we expect to be about $1,500. These prices also don't include markups from shady dealerships looking to capitalize on Bronco fever. For a list of dealers committed to selling Broncos at the suggested retail price, click here.
|Ford Bronco Base:||$28,500||$33,200|
|Ford Bronco Big Bend:||$33,385||$35,880|
|Ford Bronco Black Diamond:||$36,050||$38,545|
|Ford Bronco Outer Banks:||$38,955||$41,450|
|Ford Bronco Wildtrak:||$48,875||$51,370|
|Ford Bronco Badlands:||$42,095||$44,590|
|Ford Bronco First Edition (sold out):||$59,305||$63,500|
Again, each of these vehicles is available for pre-order now, with production starting in March. A $100 refundable deposit is required. Ford is still targeting delivery in spring of 2021. But you might want to wait – spy photos of an even hotter Bronco, perhaps wearing the Raptor badge or the rumored Warthog designation, are coming in regularly. If you want the most capable Bronco, the best is yet to come, it seems.
Ford Bronco Specs & Features
The Bronco’s standard engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that’s good for 270 horsepower (201 kilowatts) and 310 lb-ft (420 Newton-meters) of torque. It works alongside a Getrag-sourced seven-speed manual transmission, which includes a crawler gear. A 10-speed automatic is optional. If you need more oomph, a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost is also available with 310 hp (231 kW) and 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque, although it’s only available with the 10-speed auto – the manual could appear if enough customers ask for it. A hybrid powertrain, perhaps based on the 2021 F-150's setup, is allegedly on the way.
Ford will also offer two four-wheel-drive systems on the Bronco, although both feature a low-range transfer case with impressive gearing. The standard setup is your typical four-wheel drive, offering electronic shift-on-the-fly capability and 2H, 4H, and 4L modes. The low-range ratio is a healthy 2.72:1. An optional electromechanical transfer case provides “on-demand 4H” engagement with a 3.06:1 low-range gear.
One of the Bronco's more controversial elements is its independent front suspension. The Ford's chief rival, the Jeep Wrangler, features a solid front axle, which trades on-road comfort and stability for off-road capability. It's unclear what impact a more modern suspension design will have on the Bronco's off-road ability, but Ford is confident in its decision and, based on our first ride, we tend to agree. It looks pretty capable on video, too.
Ford is currently listing the Bronco’s tow rating at 3,500 pounds, although like the rest of these numbers, there’s a lot of time for them to change. The payload is 1,170 pounds for the two-door and 1,370 pounds in the four-door, while the roof can manage anywhere from 110 to 450 pounds, depending on setup. Cargo figures aren’t currently available.
When busting about off-road, drivers can take advantage of a maximum ground clearance of 11.6 inches with 35-inch tires and highly aggressive approach, departure, and breakover angles. Here's a breakdown of capabilities for base Broncos, those with the biggest tires, and for the different body styles.
|Bronco 2-Door||Bronco 4-Door|
|Ground Clearance (Base/35-Inch Tires):||8.4 Inches / 11.6 Inches||8.3 Inches / 11.5 Inches|
|Approach Angle (Base/35-Inch Tires):||35.5 Degrees / 43.2 Degrees||35.5 Degrees / 43.2 Degrees|
|Departure Angle (Base/35-Inch Tires):||29.8 Degrees / 37.2 Degrees||29.7 Degrees / 37.0 Degrees|
|Breakover Angle (Base/35-Inch Tires):||21.1 Degrees / 29.0 Degrees||20.0 Degrees / 26.3 Degrees|
|Base Suspension Travel (Front/Rear):||7.9 Inches / 8.5 Inches||7.9 Inches / 8.5 Inches|
|Badlands Suspension Travel (Front/Rear):||9.5 Inches / 10.3 Inches||9.5 Inches / 10.3 Inches|
|Water Fording:||33.5 Inches||33.5 Inches|
As for fuel economy, it’s far too early to predict how efficient the Bronco’s two engines are. The closest similar product is the Ford Ranger, which features the same 2.3-liter engine and 10-speed automatic and returns EPA estimates of 20 miles per gallon city and 24 highway. Considering the Bronco’s weight and brick-like aerodynamics, we’d expect it to be down on those figures somewhat.
Gallery: 2021 Ford Bronco
For a closer look at images of the new Bronco, check out our photos post.
How much will the 2021 Ford Bronco cost?
Prices for the 2021 Ford Bronco start at $29,995, which includes a $1,495 destination charge. Ford hasn’t released full pricing yet, but it will be available ahead of the Bronco’s spring 2021 on-sale date.
When can I order a 2021 Ford Bronco?
Ford opened the order banks for the 2021 Bronco on July 13 at 8:00 pm on the US east coast. Interested customers can secure their order with a $100 refundable deposit.
What is the release date for the new Ford Bronco?
Ford has only gone as far as to say the 2021 Bronco will arrive in dealers in the spring of 2021.
Will the 2021 Bronco have a V8?
No. Execs at Ford are on record saying the Bronco will never feature a V8. Sorry, folks!
Will the new Bronco have a removable top?
Yes, every two- and four-door Bronco will be a convertible. Two-door models come with a standard removable hardtop, while four-door models offer a removable softtop as standard and an optional hardtop. They look easy to remove, too.
See the 2021 Ford Bronco and all of the other upcoming new cars in our list of future SUVs, cars and trucks.