The Car Connection Ford Bronco Overview
With the 2021 Bronco, Ford resurrects an old name after a long hiatus and grafts it on to a new, boxy off-roader that looks a lot like the old one. We don’t mind. It’s nostalgia in a good way, like sitcom cast reunions and sugary cereal.
The Bronco challenges the king of boxy, off-road SUVs: the Jeep Wrangler. It’ll not only endeavor to climb the same mountains, but also tempt the mountain of buyers that have kept that storied brand alive for more than 70 years.
MORE: Read our 2021 Ford Bronco review
The Bronco comes in two- or four-door configurations, powered by one of two turbo engines. It’s four-wheel drive all the time, except for when the doors and roof come off with a few simple tools in just a few minutes—then it’s just fun.
Its looks stretch way back to the 1960s boxy off-road bricks that Ford made by the hundreds of thousands. The broad, flat grille is bookended by round headlights that sit above chunky bumpers that can swap in and out with just a few screws. The body sides are flat and easily repairable; a deep crease is the only styling element that runs along the bottom of the windows. The rear swing gate opens wide and includes a bottle opener and a slide-out bench that doubles as front-row seats to our next campfire.
Under the hood is a choice between a 2.3-liter turbo-4 or 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 shared with the Ranger and F-150, respectively. The Bronco’s angle is off-road—and a sharp angle at that. The available front and rear differentials lock, the sway bars disconnect, the Bilstein shocks can be position-sensitive, and the plates are bash-proof (relatively speaking, of course). A 7-speed manual transmission is standard, but a 10-speed automatic is more likely for many shoppers.
The Bronco fords nearly three feet of water, and the floors can be made of durable vinyl in case water gets through the open doorways. The wheels are 16-, 17-, or 18-inches in size, but chunky 35-inch tires can wrap the 17-inchers with mud diggers that’d make any toddler proud. The Bronco can tow up to 3,500 pounds if there’s a small camper that needs to come along, too.
It seats up to five, although with the removable roof the sky is actually the limit here.
Automatic emergency braking is standard on all models, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen is equipped on all versions, upgradable to a 12.0-inch version. Cloth or vinyl upholstery is more likely, although real leathers are on offer.