The Ford Bronco has finally made its long-awaited comeback with the big reveal this week. The original Bronco launched in 1965 as America's first SUV, and now the icon has returned from its 24-year hiatus. What has it been up to all these years? Starting a family, apparently. The Bronco comes back in 2021 as a family of 4x4 SUVs with 3 body-styles and a new Built Wild subbrand. The mission of the new Bronco is to take Americans back into the wild with off-road capability and technology that infuses confidence into the newbie off-roader while allowing experts to tackle extreme terrain in all its forms.
All models in the Bronco lineup come with standard 4x4 and are designed for long-term performance and dependability, so your toughest choice will be deciding which Bronco to buy. The 2-door model offers the most off-road capability, the 4-door gives you the best open-air experience, and the subcompact Bronco Sport is designed to take on rugged adventures or daily life with clever cargo and storage options. We'll highlight the 3 Broncos' off-road capability, powertrains, interiors, and tech to help you decide which member of the family is right for you.
Ford Bronco 2-Door and 4-Door
Ford claims the new Bronco offers the toughness of the F-Series with the spirit of the Mustang. The newly revealed details on the off-road prowess and powertrains of the 2-door and 4-door models promise to deliver on this claim. Here's what to expect from the Broncos' off-road chops, engine options, and design.
Honoring the original Bronco's G.O.A.T (go over any terrain) philosophy, the new Broncos offer the capability for slow off-roading terrain such as rocks and mud, as well as high-speed off-roading. Two 4x4 systems including a base and advanced setup will be available with up to seven driver-selectable "G.O.A.T" modes including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl.
According to Mark Grueber, Bronco consumer marketing manager, “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."
The Bronco's impressive off-road capability is also achieved through a best-in-class 11.6-inch ground clearance, maximum 29-degree breakover angle, and 37.2-degree departure angle, plus water fording capability of up to 33.5 inches. Segment-first 35-inch off-road tires and beadlock-capable wheels are available on every trim.
The independent front suspension is designed for high-speed off-roading and everyday performance, giving drivers control and confidence. Plus, an available hydraulic stabilizer bar disconnect provides maximum articulation and an increased ramp angle index. This system is able to disconnect during articulation and automatically reconnect to improve steering and stability at higher speeds.
Two EcoBoost engine options will power the Bronco 2-door and 4-door models including a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with a best-in-class projected 310 horsepower, and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The base engine is a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost with a projected torque of 310 lb.-ft. and 270 horsepower. The four-cylinder engine can be optioned with a manual transmission, a segment-first 7-speed gearbox ideal for low-speed rock crawling. The 4-cylinder model can also be mated to a 10-speed automatic, while the V6 will only get the automatic.
If the new Bronco reminds you of the original, that is not by coincidence. Ford's design team took a life-size digital scan of the first-generation Bronco and used its proportions to design the new Bronco lineup, not just for appearances, but for maximum off-road capability. The result is square proportions, short overhangs, and a wide stance for confidence off-road.
The Bronco 2-door and 4-door models are designed to make open-air driving as easy and enjoyable as possible. The roof is comprised of 3 sections on the 2-door models and 4 sections on the 4-door, and it can be removable by one person. The 4-door model features a cloth soft top for easy access to the open-air functionality and can also come with a hardtop. Each model sports easy-to-remove frameless doors and the 4-door models offer the convenience of storing the doors on-board. Body-mounted mirrors mean drivers retain visibility even when the doors are removed.
Interior and Tech
The interior of the Bronco 2-door and 4-door is specifically designed for off-road adventures with a combination of durable materials and high-tech features to optimize the driving experience. The color scheme and materials take cues from nature and outdoor gear, but unlike camping in the middle of nowhere, the Bronco won't leave you disconnected from the latest technology.
In the 2-door and 4-door Broncos, Ford offers an available 12-inch SYNC 4 system which integrates with Ford apps and includes off-road navigation to let drivers plan, navigate, and share off-road adventures. The Bronco's advanced topographic trail maps feature over 1,000 curated trail maps to help drivers find the best trails, and a 360-degree camera with off-road spotter views ensure they'll make it through those trails safely.
Ford Bronco Sport
The Bronco Sport is the smallest member of the Bronco family, and although this SUV has been nicknamed "Baby Bronco", it still packs plenty of capability and convenience for big adventures. The Bronco Sport was designed for weekend adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, and off-roading beginners with clever storage for gear and rugged 4x4 capability for increased confidence on new trails.
All trims of the Bronco Sport come with standard 4x4 and the higher trim levels offer an advanced 4x4 system with a class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature. The system can divert rear axle torque to either wheel, which is a feature not found in any other non-premium subcompact SUV. An independent front and rear suspension is designed to maintain vehicle composure on tough terrain to give even inexperienced off-roaders confidence. Just like the Bronco 2-door and 4-door, the Sport offers up to 7 G.O.A.T modes as part of its Terrain Management System for driving in mud, sand, or rock crawling.
The Bronco Sport's Trail Control technology works similarly on off-road trails as cruise control works on the highway to help drivers stay focused on the trail ahead. This feature has a setting of up to 20 mph forward, and 6 mph in reverse to automatically control throttle and braking.
Owners of the Bronco Sport will be prepared for any weekend adventure thanks to four steel bash plates and frame-mounted front tow hooks that can handle static loads up to 100% of the gross vehicle weight. The Bronco Sport also makes a splash with the ability to wade up to 23.6 inches of water.
The Bronco Sport's top trims are offered with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine for a targeted best-in-class 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque. All other trims use Ford's 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with a targeted 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and unlike the 2-door and 4-door models, there is no available manual transmission.
Like its larger siblings, the Ford Bronco Sport's design was inspired by the original Bronco. Its rugged exterior features short front and rear overhangs that assist with off-road maneuvers. Other key components to the recognizable design include the encapsulated cartridge grille, round headlamps, flat bodyside, and unpainted finishes which cover exterior contact points. The highest trim comes with standard 29-inch all-terrain off-road tires that offer aggressive, deeper treads sidewalls for off-road traction.
The Bronco Sport's cabin and cargo area design offers everything a weekend adventurer will need including best-in-class first- and second-row headroom and enough height in the cargo area to fit two standing 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes with the available Yakima-installed interior bike rack. Other user-centric features include a low-load floor cargo area and an overlanding-ready roof rack with capacity for roof-top tent camping.
Interior and Tech
Inside the cabin, the Bronco Sport features easy-to-clean cloth seats, silicone-sealed control switches, and an available storage bin for wet or muddy gear hidden under the second-row passenger seat. For a no-hassle cleanup, the Bronco Sport also has washable rubber flooring in the cabin and cargo area. A five-way configurable Cargo Management System includes a slide-out working table which is ideal for camping or preparing gear for a weekend trip.
Ford's SYNC 3 system will be available on an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and all trims come standard with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced driver-assist technologies. The Ford Bronco Sport will join the Bronco 2-door and 4-door in dealerships in the Spring of 2021 with a starting MSRP of $28,155.