The highly anticipated 2021 Ford Bronco is already generating a lot of buzz, and it's not even due in showrooms until Spring of 2021. Automotive journalists and Bronco super fans are drooling over the brand new Bronco's retro styling, which clearly demonstrates Ford's commitment to its design roots and alleviates any worry that Ford plans to slap the Bronco nameplate on an unrecognizable modern facsimile and stuff it with incongruous creature comforts.
Instead, Ford did a little of both, maintaining the Bronco's signature exterior lines and brand essence while adding a whole host of modern technology that makes driving and off-roading a pleasure. Ford delivers a seven trim lineup designed to satisfy a range of buyers, from die hard Bronco enthusiasts to modern SUV buyers. Just looking at the Bronco tells us this is a serious off-roader, but what you can't immediately see is the depth of customization options and the combination of features that manage to avoid contradicting each other (heated front seats and removable doors and roof?).
The Bronco Base is stripped clean of fluff and situated at the low end of the Bronco trim lineup. It's primed for entry-level buyers that want to get in on the relaunch but don't want to spring for a top-of-the-line model. At the other end of the price spectrum sits the completely sold out Bronco First Edition, at $57,410 for the two-door and $61,605 for the four-door. That's a big jump from the Base's $28,500 MSRP (two-door) and $34,795 MSRP (four-door).
It's not easy to get the formula right because the sweet spot lies somewhere between pacifying diehard old-school Bronco fans and attracting buyers that want tech and luxury to go along with epic off-roading capability. Ford's answer - laying out an intelligent range of seven trims - seems to do the trick. Judging by the fact that Ford sold out of its 7,000 First Edition Broncos in less than 24 hours, there is pent-up demand for a truck of its size and capabilities, not to mention the cool retro vibe this newest Bronco gives off.
One of the new Bronco's most distinguishable features is the integration of modern tech without disturbing the retro cabin aesthetics. The new Bronco's dash looks a lot like the original, with clean, minimalist features. The flush-mounted horizontal infotainment touchscreen and push-button start are the only dead giveaway that this is a 2021 model. Even the steering wheel manages to look classic.
This spartan approach to cabin design works well for serious off-roaders because clean-up is easy after a muddy day on the trail, and there's no delicate interior trim to worry about. It's a stark reminder that the Bronco is designed to perform excellently in extreme conditions. This is not a cute suburban soccer mom's carpool vehicle (although it's great for that, too!). Ford put the focus on rugged utility, right where it belongs.
The 2021 Bronco comes standard with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, with a 12.0-inch screen optional on select trims. The 8.0-inch screen runs on Ford's Sync 3 connectivity software, while the 12.0-inch bumps up to the Sync 4, making it faster and more responsive. The bigger screen also comes with a 360-degree camera that gives drivers helpful viewing modes, including an off-road spotter view that's surprisingly helpful for navigating challenging trails.
Both screens offer smartphone integration by way of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The FordPass app acts like a digital remote, letting drivers lock and unlock the vehicle from a distance. It's also an off-road adventure planning tool, with 1,000 trail maps loaded already that can be accessed conveniently offline. Add the optional digital instrument display, and the driver's seat transforms into more of a cockpit control center.
The Bronco lineup includes two different engines and transmissions, depending on trim, that provide class-leading performance and power. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine delivers 270 horsepower and best-in-class torque of 310 lb-ft; plenty of power for digging into tough terrain. An available 2.7-liter EcoBoost six-cylinder engine takes it a step further, cranking out 310 horsepower and a whopping 400 lb-ft of torque, which Ford claims is best-in-class for a six-cylinder motor.
A standard seven-speed manual transmission (six speeds plus a special 'Crawler gear' for torquey low gear power) is the only one in its class. It includes the best crawl ratio in its class - 94.75:1 - which is a highly technical way of stating that the higher the number, the more lower gear power you'll create, which is essential for extreme off-roading. Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission, standard on the Outer Banks, Wildtrak, and First Edition trims, is also a segment-first. It distributes power across 10 gears to deliver performance at all speed ranges and in all road and weather conditions. The 10-speed is available with both the four and six-cylinder engine, but the seven-speed manual is only available with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder.
Ford's incredible Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) Modes puts custom settings a toggle away. There are five standard modes, including Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal. Buyers upgrading to the Bronco Badlands get two more - Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl - and replaces the Sport mode with Baja mode. When a mode is chosen, the Terrain Management System automatically adjusts the Bronco's settings (e.g., adjusting traction control, locking differentials, etc.) to conform to a predictable set of optimal driving outputs for the road conditions.
Ford's thoughtful trim lineup is worth exploring because with seven different available trims, deciding which one is best for you can be difficult. After diving in, though, the differences are easier to understand, which makes choosing the best fit a little easier. Price is part of the equation, but so are considerations like interior appointments and the level of off-roading capability you'll need. Prices range from the high $20,000s to well over $60,000. A quick note: all Bronco trims are available in two or four-door body styles.
First is the Bronco Base, a stripped-down Bronco that's just waiting for aftermarket add-ons. Removable doors and roof convert the affordable Base into an open-air cruiser, and standard 4x4 means it's trail-ready. Next in line is the Big Bend, which adds some luxury to your beast, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, and remote start.
Base Price: $28,500 for the two-door and $34,795 for the four-door.
Big Bend Price: $33,385 for the two-door and $35,880 for the four-door.
The mid-range Black Diamond seeks to appeal to adventure-seekers that want a little more off-roading capability. Standard features include steel front and rear bumpers, skid plates to protect the truck's underside, and a rear-locking differential for added traction. Marine-grade vinyl seats are easy to hose down after a day of open-air mud crawling. The Bronco Outer Banks adds LED headlights and taillights, unique fender flares over the wheels, and an available 12-inch infotainment touchscreen paired with a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.
Black Diamond Price: $36,050 for the two-door and $38,545 for the four-door.
Outer Banks Price: $38,995 for the two-door and $41,450 for the four-door.
The Bronco Badlands is an extremely rugged off-roader that bests the Black Diamond with special upgraded Bilstein shocks and a front-locking differential (in addition to the rear-differential). It comes standard with 33-inch all-terrain tires, and 35-inch tires are optional. The Badlands offers a wide range of interior appointments, or opt for none at all if you just want the standard model. Whatever you choose, the Badlands is designed to aggressively tackle any terrain.
Badlands Price: $42,095 for the two-door and $44,590 for the four-door.
Next up is the Bronco Wildtrak that adds the Sasquatch Package as standard equipment. This package - optional on many of the other Bronco trims - includes 35-inch tires, front and rear locking differentials, and Bilstein shocks. The Wildtrak gets Ford's 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 and a standard 10-speed automatic transmission, along with some unique exterior trim pieces that distinguish it from its siblings.
Wildtrak Price: $46,980 for the two-door and $49,475 for the four-door.
Last but not least, the highly anticipated First Edition - currently with reservations full - combines the best of all the Bronco trims into one gorgeous vehicle. Ford describes it this way: it includes the plush interior of the Outer Banks, the Wildtrak's unique exterior, and the gritty capability of the Badlands. It's fully-loaded on the inside and outside, and because it's a limited production vehicle with just 7,000 units planned, this Bronco is a collector's item.
First Edition Price: $57,410 for the two-door and $61,605 for the four-door.
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Based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.