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How we’d spec the 2021 Ford Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport

July 14, 2020

The return of the 2021 Ford Bronco SUV brings with it more choices than the number of years that have passed since the last Bronco rolled off the production line for 1996. The off-road SUV will come in three body styles, including a two-door version that seats four and starts at $29,995, a four-door version that seats five and starts at $34,695, and a derivative version Bronco Sport based on the Ford Escape crossover that also seats five and starts at $28,155. All starting prices listed include a $1,495 destination fee. 

When the first incarnation of the Bronco launched in 1966, it too came in three body styles including a half-cab pickup, a roofless and doorless roadster, and a two-door “wagon” that was the only one to endure beyond the first decade and laid the groundwork for the sport utility vehicle. 

Available in seven trims and five packages, the two-door and four-door Broncos have removable doors and a removable roof, and come standard with four-wheel drive and body-on-frame, truck-like construction. The Bronco Sport doesn’t.

Based on the Ford Escape compact crossover, the smaller four-door baby Bronco Sport comes standard with all-wheel drive, a split liftgate with flip-up glass, and a towing capacity of up to 2,200 pounds. The Bronco Sport is smaller than the Escape and has a lower tow rating, but it gets all its design cues from the big Bronco, including a more vertical, truck-like face with round LED headlights that reflect the first generation of the Bronco.  

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Available in four trims shared with the Bronco and two engine choices shared with the Escape, the Bronco Sport poses a compelling choice that meets halfway between the on-road manners of the Escape and the off-road look of the Bronco. Based on how many Jeep Wranglers never leave suburban streets, this could end up being the most popular choice. 

The base model is powered by a 181-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo-3 with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a terrain-management system that includes five drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand. It comes well equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 17-inch wheels, and a suite of advanced safety features called Copilot-360 that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, and automatic high beams. 

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Crawling up the trim ladder is the Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and range-topping First Edition, which will come with unique badging and production will be capped at 2,000 units. The Badlands trim marks the biggest jump in off-road features, and includes the uprated 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 with an 8-speed automatic with a transmission cooler and paddle shifters. It has the most off-road content of any Bronco Sport, with 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 28.5-inch all-terrain tires and a full-size spare, seven drive modes, skid plates, a low-speed cruise control for the trail, 180-degree front camera, front tow hooks, and an uprated twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system with monotube rear shocks for improved off-road capability. It sounds like a trail-rated version of the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. But for those Bronco shoppers who intend to off-road regularly, the 2021 Bronco four door makes more sense than the Bronco Sport Badlands.

For those who prefer creature comforts and off-road looks but aren’t planning on getting too muddy, consider the Outer Banks model. It comes with a black roof, black 18-inch aluminum wheels, carpeted floor mats, leather-trimmed heated front bucket seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 6.5-inch digital instrument cluster, remote start and other conveniences. 

2021 Ford Bronco 

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

The two-door and four-door follow the same trim ladder as the 2021 Bronco Sport but with even more trims and package variations. The base model is followed by Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, Badlands, and a First Edition special edition, which has a limited production run of 3,500 units. Packages are Standard, Mid, High, Lux, and Sasquatch. The former trims are mostly cosmetic and convenience upgrades, while the latter Sasquatch is all about off-road bits and pieces. 

For dedicated off-roaders likely to customize their Bronco with aftermarket parts, the base two-door with 8.4 inches of ground clearance (8.3 on the four door) makes a whole lot of sense to us, except for the carpeted floors. Otherwise, it comes with a part-time four-wheel-drive system with five drive modes, a 270-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4 with a 7-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 30-inch all-season tires, an 8.0-inch touchscreen and cloth seats. We’d add the Sasquatch package with 17-inch aluminum wheels with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, electronic lockers on the front and rear axles, high-clearance suspension and fender flares, and Bilstein shock absorbers. Ground clearance increases to 11.6 inches (11.5 inches on the four door) with the Sasquatch.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

If you want the Sasquatch included as standard, as well as the Lux package and all the exclusivity of a limited-run model, aim for the top of the Bronco trim line with the First Edition. It has everything, from wireless charging pads and adaptive cruise control to a safari bar and a front sway bar disconnect that is also standard on Badlands. 

For the best blend of off-road capability and in-car convenience, we’re leaning to the Wildtrak with four doors. Marketed for the desert (no surprise Jeep has a Mojave trim), the Wildtrak comes with an uprated 310-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 400 pound-feet of torque and can tow up to 3,500 pounds. A 10-speed automatic transmission with a low-speed cruise control for the trail complements the advanced four-wheel-drive system with electronic locking differentials on both axles. It comes with seven drive modes and the aforementioned, awesomely named Sasquatch package. Convenience features include the Mid package with keyless entry, remote start, ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and active safety features. 

The Bronco Sport arrives at dealerships later this year, while the Bronco two-door and four-door are expected for Spring 2021.


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