2021 Ford Bronco: Off-Road Big and Small
After what feels like decades of rumours, teases, and spy photography, Ford has finally done it. The 2021 Ford Bronco, and the Bronco Sport, bring back the legendary off-road badge in two completely different models for a wide range of customer. The Bronco, in two and four-door removable top styles, is a direct shot at the Jeep Wrangler, which has for many years been the only option in the no-doors, off-road segment. The Bronco Sport is designed for buyers who want a more conventional crossover underneath, but still want off-road capability that goes beyond the average of the class. Or at least those who want it to look that way.
The 2021 Ford Bronco primary models are the two-door and four-door. Not exactly creatively named, but it probably doesn’t matter. Do you have a Bronco? Yes, you do, and that’s likely all buyers care. They’re designed to offer impressive capability, with Ford claiming class-leading ground clearance as well as approach and departure angles. Like the two Jeep Wranglers, the doors come off, as does the roof, but the Broncos have a party trick Jeep doesn’t. The doors are frameless, meaning that they’re lighter and easier to remove. There’s also enough room in the back to store them inside the vehicle. You can drive to the trail, pop off the doors, and put them on for the highway home.
A 2.3L EcoBoost four and 2.7L EcoBoost V6 are available, and while a 10-speed automatic is available there is also a seven-speed stick. Instead of an even higher overdrive, gear seven on the 2021 Ford Bronco is an ultra-low off-road crawler gear for plodding over rocks. Dana AdvanTEK axles come standard and there are available locking differentials front and rear. Terrain modes, which Ford calls G.O.A.T. modes, set the electronics to handle most of what the road (or lack of road) can throw at it. If you’re not sure where to go with all of this off-road capability, there are more than 1,000 curated trail maps in the nav system and you can map and share your own with the community.
The Baby Bronco
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is based on the Escape, but Ford has made it far more rugged than its latest sibling. A 1.5L Ecoboost is standard with a 2.0L available, and even though it’s a crossover they’ll all come with all-wheel drive. That includes a special twin-clutch rear drive unit and differential lock.
This is a tall crossover inside, and Ford says the Bronco Sport has enough cargo height to hold a pair of 27.5-inch mountain bikes with an available in-trunk bike rack. While not quite as capable off-road, it does still offer seven terrain modes and 8.6-inches of ground clearance. Badlands trim models are designed with special shocks to help dampen the ride off-road, working with softer springs and anti-roll bars.
A wide range of camera views are available including a camera with washer sprayer mounted in the nose to help you see the trail over hills and directly in front. There are even steel “bash plates” underneath to protect the body and the tow hooks are each capable of withstanding the full weight of the vehicle.
You can order your 2021 Ford Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport now, and they’re expected to arrive at dealers and off-road later this year.