- Factory-ready adventurer
- Awesome retro looks
- Removable doors and roof
- Sturdy powertrains
- So many choices...
- ...so many choices
- Endemic wind noise
- Endemic road noise
- Endemic fuel economy
- Confusing trim-package pricing
features & specs
The 2021 Ford Bronco SUV transforms the burden of the past into a modern marvel.
What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Ford Bronco? What does it compare to?
The 2021 Ford Bronco two-door or four-door convertible SUV returns with standard 4x4 capability on a pickup truck frame intended for off-road duty. It aims to knock the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon from its off-road throne, where it has ruled unquestioned at least since the last Bronco went out of production in 1996.
Is the 2021 Ford Bronco a good SUV?
Yes. So good. It combines cutting-edge technology with off-road durability, as well as removable doors and roofs, to make getting to the trail as fun as on the trail. It earns a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What's new for the 2021 Ford Bronco?
The Ford Bronco is new for 2021, and lives up to the billing as one of the most hyped vehicles in recent time. With seven trims, five packages, two engine choices, two body styles, two roof styles, the Bronco comes with as many configurations as trails you can encounter in the wilds.
Inspired by the past but molded by the present, the 2021 Bronco features modular parts and a squat frame that could be a bulldog made of Lego bricks. Inside it doubles down on a broad flat dashboard that’s studded with blocky vertical vents and durable rubberized gears, switches, and knobs.
Bucking this Bronco is a punchy 2.3-liter turbo-4 under that makes 275 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque with regular gas. It pairs with a 7-speed manual with a low crawler gear to off-road without worrying about the clutch pedal. Most shoppers will opt for the available 10-speed automatic that’s standard on the four-door. A 315-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 410 lb-ft is available, but only with the 10-speed. Fuel economy strains for 20 mpg combined with either.
Four-wheel drive comes standard with a choice in two-speed transfer cases with an available Dana 44 solid rear axle and available front and rear locking differentials. On the road, the independent front suspension and electric-assist steering system tame road manners and keep the Bronco as docile as its modular setup can allow.
One person can remove the doors and hardtop, and the soft top folds easily into the cargo area, where the doors or roof panels can be stowed. The two-door fits four passengers under its standard hardtop, while Ford puts five seats in the four-door; that fifth person best fits as an armrest. The standard cloth soft top on the four-door affords more space, but in either configuration rear leg room is good and cargo volume exceeds many crossovers.
Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, hill descent control, LED headlights, and automatic high beams, while convenience features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, and keyless start.
The available 12.0-inch touchscreen and surround-view camera system are worth the charge for the four off-road views they provide, and other off-road features help novices learn the ruts and enable pros to go further, deeper, and more often.
How much does the 2021 Ford Bronco cost?
The Base model two-door costs $29,995 (all prices include $1,495 destination), and the four-door adds anywhere from $2,495 on mid-grade models to $4,700 on the base model. But that upgrade also includes the 10-speed automatic, which by itself costs $1,595 more than the manual; upgrading to the 2.7-liter costs $1,895 but it only comes with the automatic, so factor that upcharge as well if you’re coming from the manual. The First Edition, available only for 2021 and limited to 7,000 units, costs $61,605 for the four-door. Pricing excludes the more than 200 accessories, but includes Bronco Off-Roadeo for owners to learn how to off-road during a day-and-a-half experience at one of four Ford locations in the U.S.
Where is the 2021 Ford Bronco made?
At the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., same place as the original Bronco 56 years ago.
2021 Ford Bronco
In two- or four-door styles, with cloth or hardtop roofs, the 2021 Ford Bronco plays every part of the toy.
Is the 2021 Ford Bronco a good-looking SUV?
The 2021 Bronco honors the original with its flat, broad grille and brick-on-wheels profile. Yet it’s modern enough to pivot on the business cliche of “agile” with removable doors and roofs, removable fender flares, and modular heavy duty bumpers that can be swapped out over time so the Bronco can evolve with the owner. The outside strikes us more than the interior, but we’re smitten enough with both to give it a 9.
Round LED headlights with daytime running lights in the shape of an eyelet bridge the Bronco stamped on the various grilles. The Bronco pushes its wheels to the corners for not only better approach and departure angles, but also for maximum interior space.
Even the hood was designed for off-roading, with twin trail sights at the end that double as tie downs capable of holding 150 pounds. The flat body sides support a greenhouse that squats on the body, and up to 35-inch tires with available rock rails dramatize the profile.
The rear swing gate opens wide for cargo and a pull-out shelf doubles as a front-row bench seat for the next campfire. A hard- or soft-top roof is removable and available in contrasting colors to the body, but the white hard top won’t be available until 2022.
Inside, the upright themes continue with a horizontal dash with grab handles on either end. An 8.0- or 12.0-inch touchscreen centers the dash, flanked by vertical boxy vents and six auxiliary switches atop the dash. A chunky shifter and knobby traction-mode dial occupy the console, and Ford doesn’t shy away from stamping the Bronco name and badge everywhere, including the flat dash panel facing the passenger like back in the day.
2021 Ford Bronco
The 2021 Ford Bronco is masterful off-road and well-mannered on-road.
The Bronco climbs, crawls, totters, wades, traverses, ascends, descends, jumps, and bucks over most natural obstacles it encounters. It rides well on paved terrain as well, thanks to an independent front suspension, coil-over shocks in back, and an electric-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system. The 2021 Bronco’s exceptional off-road capability and potent turbo engine choices earn it a 7.
Riding on a high strength steel frame that will be adopted by the next Ford Ranger, the 2021 Ford Bronco adopts engineering bits and pieces from other Ford vehicles. Standard issue is a 2.3-liter turbo-4 under that makes 275 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque (or 300 hp and 325 lb-ft with premium fuel) also used in the Ranger pickup and Mustang coupe. The F-150 lends its torque-rich 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 to Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition Broncos, where it makes 315 hp and 410 lb-ft (or 330 hp and 415 lb-ft with premium fuel). The uprated engine is available across the lineup, same as the Sasquatch off-road package. With either engine, the Bronco can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
A 7-speed manual transmission comes standard only on 2.3-liter Broncos; it’s not available with the 2.7-liter. A very low “crawler” gear with a 94.75 to 1 ratio activates by depressing the stick like a reverse gear so you don’t have to lord over the clutch pedal. Otherwise it behaves like a 6-speed manual with clutch feedback that’s neither too springy nor too spongy. The gearbox has short shifts easy to notch, so attention can be paid to the trail.
Available with the 2.3-liter but standard with the 2.7-liter is a 10-speed automatic transmission shared with the Ranger. The shifts are quick and effortless, with up to seven drive modes Ford calls G.O.A.T (Go Over Any Terrain). Flicking the console dial to Sport mode, for instance, illuminates the cluster in red and improves throttle response and steering feedback; the Bronco bucks its 4,500-pound average curb weight with ease, and moves quicker than its boxed frame would suggest.
The steering adjusts to three modes, and the wheel maintains center without needing corrections or waiting for the front wheels to catch up to a turn of the steering wheel. It feels stable on the road, without getting pushed around by the wind or jouncing over road seams. Wind noise comes naturally to a vehicle with removable parts, as does road noise from any of the seven tire options, ranging from base 30-inch all-seasons to beefy 35-inch mud terrain tires on the $4,995 Sasquatch package.
Is the Ford Bronco 4WD?
That’s why we’re here. Four-wheel drive is standard with either a base two-speed transfer case to shift on the fly, or a more rugged two-speed transfer case that requires a stop in neutral to get it to 4L. Three skid plates cover the engine, transmission, and fuel tank. The uprated 4x4 system uses a Dana 44 solid rear axle, and can be equipped with a rear locker and front locker that can be used independently.
In addition to the locking front and rear differentials and larger Goodyear Territory 315/70R17 tires, the Sasquatch off-road package employs Bilstein position-sensitive shocks with three zones of damping, and the advanced four-wheel-drive system. On the trail, the Bronco capably climbs 40-degree slick rock pitches, fords up to 33.5 inches of water, plows through mud ruts, and with the Baja mode limited to the Wildtrak, can dance through whoops and launch off jumps.
We’d leave that to the pros, but novices are equally welcome on the trail with standard features (with the automatic) such as a torque inhibitor that locks the inside rear wheel to make tight hairpin turns or better negotiate sand; an available hill descent and ascent control that acts as a low-speed off-road cruise control in 4H or 4L; and a disconnecting sway bar that keeps the Bronco loose and pliant.
If that’s not enough (it is, and then some) Ford offers more than 200 factory-approved accessories for the Bronco, from Yakima roof racks and Warn winches to Bushwacker fender flares and Carhartt seat covers.
How fast is the Ford Bronco?
The 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 likely reaches 0-60 mph in less than 7.0 seconds. More importantly, the Bronco is masterful off-road and well-behaved on pavement.
2021 Ford Bronco
Comfort & Quality
The modular Ford Bronco can be pieced together like a big-boy Lego set.
The 2021 Ford Bronco can seat four people in two-door configurations or five people in four-door models. We suspect the 16-inch longer four-door model will be the volume choice and serve as the basis for our rating.
Ample cargo room of at least 35.6 cubic feet earns a point, as does the 35 inches of leg room in the roomy back seats, more than many compact crossovers. The removable doors and removable soft- or hard-top roofs allow road and wind noise that costs it a point. It’s a 6 on our scale.
It should be no surprise that the 2021 Ford Bronco measures out to the benchmark it’s pursuing. With a wheelbase of 100.4/116.1 inches (two-door/four-door), the Bronco’s interior stretches a couple inches more than the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and it’s at least two inches wider at 75.9 inches.
Two-door models come standard with a hard-top split into three sections, with left, right, and rear panels. A standard cloth top on four-door models offers a bit more room than the available hard top. There’s no crossbar overhead, and releasing the two front latches to fold the roof back for wide open air over all four seats takes only seconds. Removing and stowing the rear quarter panels and windshield took us less than five minutes on our first try.
The hard tops ride a little quieter with less roof chatter, and might be preferred for cold-weather climbers, but its removal requires more effort. Still, it can be done by one person. The available four-door hard-top roof comes with four panels, but you can stow either the roof panels or the doors in back but not both. Two roof panels or two doors can fit in back of the two-door.
Removing the doors takes two bolt removals and disconnecting the electrical plug. Slide the storage bag over the door as you remove it so when it’s disconnected, it’s easy to zip up and stack it vertically in the cargo area. All four doors can fit in back in the four-door models. The front doors weigh 62 pounds on the two-door, 55 lb on the four-door, and the rear doors weigh 44 lb. Lift with your legs. Durable handles on the top and side of the bags help, as does a hand-hold recess on the lower sill of the door.
The side mirrors mount to the frame, not the door, so with the doors removed the side mirrors remain. The downside is it’s a reach to move them manually on the trail; the controller for power mirrors on Outer Banks and above is in the center console nearest the armrest, along with the power windows.
Same as in many other Ford products, the front seat cushions tend to the shorter side, but the back bolstering is good. Excellent sightlines, aided by tie downs on the front edges of the wide hood, allow for commanding views off road and on.
In back, two adults can sit comfortably in either model, but stacking four 6-footers would preclude happy trails in the two-door model. The four-door model has a half-inch more rear leg room at 36.3 inches, but considerably more hip and shoulder room.
Some other cool notes on the Bronco’s interior include the available rubberized flooring and six passive drain plugs that release with a quarter turn, so all you have to do is spray it down after the deep trekking. Marine-grade vinyl seats also protect against mildew. Both of these features are standard only on Badlands trim, while cloth or leather seats come on other models.
2021 Ford Bronco
Crash-test results haven’t been completed on the 2021 Ford Bronco.
How safe is the Ford Bronco?
We can’t assign a rating until the 2021 Bronco has been crash tested by the IIHS and the NHTSA, but the Bronco comes standard with equipment to mitigate or avoid crashes with other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Every Bronco includes side curtain airbags in the roof frame to minimize impacts from side collisions. Standard safety tech includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, hill descent control, and automatic high beams. Active lane control and blind-spot monitors come standard on Outer Banks and above, while adaptive cruise control and evasive steering assist comes on the Lux package standard only on the limited run First Edition.
2021 Ford Bronco
Reasonably equipped for under $30,000, the 2021 Ford Bronco starts as a bargain then gets very confusing.
Base models get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 16-inch steel wheels, power windows and locks, cloth upholstery, manual seats, LED headlights, keyless entry, and keyless start. The solid base content, myriad options, good infotainment, and value earn it a point each to a 9.
A 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty with roadside assistance comes standard.
In addition to the Sasquatch off-road package available on all seven trims, Ford offers three additional packages on the 2021 Bronco: Mid, High, and Lux.
The Mid grade standard on Outer Banks and Wildtrak comes with heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and remote start.
The High package available on Outer Banks and above includes the 12.0-inch touchscreen and surround-view camera system. When off-roading, the full screen projects a front camera angle from a low point in the grille with four super helpful projections. The default shows what’s beyond and under the trail sights on the hood, which is especially helpful for crawling.
The Lux package builds off High with adaptive cruise control, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound, navigation, heated steering wheel, two more USB ports up on the dash shelf, and wireless smartphone charger. It’s standard only on First Edition but available on Outer Banks, Badlands, and Wildtrak.
Which Ford Bronco should I buy?
The Badlands two-door ($42,095) and Wildtrak two-door ($46,980) come factory equipped to handle the beastliest off-road duty, with Wildtrak also getting the larger engine and Sasquatch upgrades. For on-road creature comfort, we’d recommend the well-equipped Outer Banks four-door for $42,945.
How much is a fully loaded 2021 Ford Bronco?
The First Edition four-door tops the charts at $61,605.
2021 Ford Bronco
The Bronco devours fuel like a wild animal.
Is the 2021 Ford Bronco good on gas?
No, but Ford tries with its turbocharged engines and 10-speed automatic. The 2.3-liter with the 10-speed in Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks should constitute most Bronco purchases and its EPA rating of 20 mpg city, 22 highway, 21 combined serves as the basis for our rating of 4. The 7-speed manual with the 2.3-liter on Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Badlands models returns the same.
Paired only with the 10-speed automatic, the 2.7-liter loses 2 mpg on those models, with an EPA-rated 18/20/19 mpg combined.
Models with the off-road Sasquatch package streamline fuel economy to 18 mpg across the board with the 2.3 or 17 mpg with the 2.7.
Jeep’s array of powertrains in the Wrangler, including the plug-in hybrid’s 49 MPGe, ranges from 25 mpg combined with the turbo-6 diesel, to 14 mpg with the 6.4-liter V-8.