The 2021 Ford Bronco has been revealed today offering two- and four-door models and plenty of muscle to give the Wrangler a blood nose.
The 2021 Ford Bronco family has been revealed online this morning with reservations opening today in the US with prices starting at USD$29,995 for the entry-level two-door Bronco. Ford said the new Bronco is designed to get Americans off-road…with many online complaining that Ford is ignoring the right-hand drive market.
“We created the Bronco family to elevate every aspect of off-road adventure and equipped them with class-leading chassis hardware and exclusive technologies to raise the bar in the rugged 4×4 segment and take people further into the wild,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer.
“They’re built with the toughness of an F-Series truck and performance spirit of Mustang – and come wrapped in one of the most stunning and functional off-road designs that’s true to the original Bronco design DNA.”
Ford is making no secret of its intentions to out-Wrangler the Wrangler with its new Bronco, and the specs are impressive.
“Bronco’s advanced four-wheel-drive technology is at the core of its off-road capabilities, and at the heart of it all is Bronco’s exclusive Terrain Management System™ with G.O.A.T. Modes™ that is designed to help drivers better navigate any type of terrain,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco consumer marketing manager.
The new Bronco’s Terrain Management System offers seven driver models, including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, with Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. There are two 4×4 systems available depending on the model you buy, a base setup and a more advanced 4×4 drivetrain.
The base system gets a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the cost-optional ‘advanced’ system features a two-speed electromechanical transfer case offering an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H and 4H.
Like Jaguar Land Rover, the new Bronco gets Trail Control which is a low-speed cruise control for off-roading (JLR calls it All Terrain Progress Control). And it also offers a Trail Turn Assist, like Toyota’s LandCruiser, which allows for a tighter turn radius via torque vectoring. The Bronco also features “Trail One-Pedal Drive acceleration/braking control makes for more precise and confident slow-mode rock crawling”.
The Bronco offers up to 294mm of ground clearance, and a maximum 29-degree breakover angle, as well as a 37.2-degree departure angle, plus best-in-class water fording capability of up to 850mm. Power gets to the ground via Dana 44 AdvanTEK solid rear axle and Dana AdvanTEK independent front differential unit – both with available Spicer Performa-TraK electronic locking differentials.
And Bronco offers plenty of underbody protection. “Higher-capability models get an available front bash plate, plus shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank. For those taking on the roughest rocky terrain, Bronco’s available side rock rails are strong enough to support the weight of each side of the vehicle,” Ford said.
“Bronco two- and four-door models leverage the company’s Built Ford Tough durability and performance testing and take it even further off-road with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing in the harshest possible environments, including the brutal trails of the King of the Hammers off-road competition,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford enterprise product line management, Icons.
There was plenty of speculation around engines and transmissions for the new Bronco. Ford is offering two engines for the Bronco, a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 engine as well as a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder. And two transmissions will be available; a seven-speed (6+1) manual or a 10-speed automatic. But off-roaders will want the seven-speeder with its crawler gear offering a ratio of 94.75:1. The 10-speed auto offers a 67.8:1 crawl ratio.
Ford is claiming the Bronco offers up to 17% more wheel travel than its “closest competitor” (we all know who it’s talking about). And like the F-150 Raptor and Ranger Raptor here, Ford wanted the Bronco to be able to handle high-speed off-road shenanigans “every Bronco comes with an independent front suspension for improved control, confidence and comfort. At the rear, a rugged solid axle design featuring coil springs with five locating links delivers both strength and off-road control. Long-travel position-sensitive Bilstein dampers with end-stop control valves at every corner are available for added off-road durability and reduced harshness”.
And the new Bronco gets a semi-active hydraulic stabilizer bar disconnect to improve low-speed articulation and wheel travel. “This innovative system bests competitors by disconnecting during articulation; it can reconnect under all conditions to improve steering and stability at higher speeds,” Ford said. And the Bronco runs, from the factory, 35-inch tyres wrapped around 17-inch beadlock wheels.
In terms of the design. Ford said its designers started out with a life-size digital scan of a first-generation model to help set the proportions and design of the new model.
“Similar to the first-generation model, Bronco’s square proportions, short overhangs and wide stance are optimized for off-road adventure,” said Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer.
“The side profile features a flat, no-nonsense surface with clear-cut edges and robustly flared fenders. Large, open wheel wells are a modular design with a quick-release attachment for simple customization.”
Like the Wrangler, the Bronco is intended to offer plenty of open air action for owners. Two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system – left and right front sections and a rear section. Four-door models have four removable roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section. Roof panels on all models can be removed by one person by unlocking the latches from the interior. First-row panels stow away onboard on two-door models.
“All modular hardtops have rear quarter windows that are removable in three easy steps – snap, push and lift away in a fraction of the time it takes for competitors – without removing the roof panels. By locating the sportbar behind the second row, both Bronco two- and four-door models offer the largest overall open-top view in its class to take in the sunshine or to gaze at the stars at night,” Ford said.
A cloth soft top is standard on four-door models. For customers who don’t want to choose between a soft or hardtop, the four-door model can be optioned with both.
Every Bronco comes with frameless doors “that make them easier to remove than what competitors offer”. On four-door Bronco models, all four doors can be stored onboard with protective door bags. Cowl-mounted mirrors mean you’ve still got sideview visibility when the doors are removed. Trail sights on the front fenders also serve as tie-downs, reminiscent of the first-generation Bronco, and can take plenty of weight.
What about the interior? The instrument panel takes its inspiration from the first-generation model, with gauges and controls clearly visible and intuitive. Colors and materials are inspired by natural palettes and outdoor gear, Ford reckons. Grab handles are integrated into the modular instrument panel and centre console, while available MOLLE hooks are mounted in the seatbacks. Attachment points are built into the instrument panel to mount a bring-your-own-device rack, with 12-volt power connections to easily mount cameras, navigation units, phones or other devices.
Ford is playing up Bronco’s off-road navigation chops with either an eight or 12-inch infotainment screen offering Ford’s Sync4 system with over-the-air updates and integration to the FordPass Performance app with off-road navigation – that allows owners to plan, navigate and share their off-road adventures. The SYNC system also displays the available 360-degree camera system with off-road spotter views to provide additional visibility in technical terrain.
“The trail mapping system available on Bronco is truly a game-changer in the off-road community,” said Grueber. “It works online or off on either of the navigation-capable 8- or 12-inch SYNC systems, allowing users to select one of hundreds of available curated trail maps to map out and then track, capture and share their adventures with others.”
Depending on the model of Bronco, the interior is intended to be easy to clean, featuring washable rubberised floors with integrated drains and marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces that resist mildew. Instrument panel surfaces are wipeable, with silicone rubber on the dash-mounted switches, while rubber touchpoints protect against dirt and water. Six available upfitter switches mounted overhead are silicone-sealed to protect against the elements and to make customization easy, with pre-wired leads to key accessory points – this is a cool feature.
Ford said it will offer around 200 dealers-installable accessories for the Bronco although it hasn’t revealed the full list of accessories, saying it will release more information closer to the launch of the Bronco next year.
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 how annoyed are you the Bronco isn’t coming to Oz?
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