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A yellow 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door and a blue Bronco 4-door are parked on rocks in front of a desert and mountains.

So You Want to Buy a Bronco?

The new Ford Bronco is one of the most exciting vehicles to have been released in several years. A modern take on a legendary name, the new SUV promises extreme off-road performance and a bevy of one of a kind features. Perhaps it should be said “the new SUVs,” because the 2021 Ford Bronco and 2021 Ford Bronco Sport are actually two very different vehicles despite their similar names. The 2021 Ford Bronco itself is further split between its two-door and four-door variants. However, all of the members of the new Bronco family live up to the hype and are among the best vehicles that you can buy if you are interested in off-road adventure.

For younger drivers out there, the original Ford Bronco was introduced for 1966 and was an incredibly capable, dedicated off-road machine. Despite its small size, this design soon became a legend thanks to its rugged nature, and the original Ford Bronco remained in production for over a decade. However, in 1977 the second generation Ford Bronco arrived and transformed the vehicle into a larger two-door SUV built on a platform shared with Ford’s trucks. This version of the Ford Bronco continued through four generations until 1996, when it was replaced with the more modern Ford Expedition. The new 2021 Ford Bronco resurrects the spirit of the original 1966 Ford Bronco in a truly 21st-century manner.

A yellow 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door is driving through a field.

Bronco vs Bronco Sport

The first piece of possible confusion that should be cleared up is what exactly are the differences between the 2021 Ford Bronco and the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. The short answer is that the 2021 Ford Bronco is a no-holds-barred off-roading monster, while the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a smaller and more conventional SUV that sacrifices a bit of off-road performance for greater all-around comfort. If your idea of adventure is rock climbing, Baja-style racing, or exploring far from civilization, then the 2021 Ford Bronco is the vehicle for you. If you are instead looking for a dependable and rugged SUV that can handle back roads, dirt trails, and bad weather as part of your daily life, then the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is likely more your style.

The 2021 Ford Bronco is a traditional body on frame SUV, while the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a modern unibody design. This gives the former vehicle a more rugged construction, but that comes at the cost of increased weight and reduced agility. The 2021 Ford Bronco is also significantly larger than the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, with the four-door version measuring almost a foot and a half longer than the lighter vehicle. Even the more compact two-door variant is noticeably larger in all dimensions than the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. However, the more rugged construction of the 2021 Ford Bronco means that its advantage in passenger and cargo space is much smaller than its exterior dimensions may suggest.

Mechanically, the 2021 Ford Bronco is significantly more powerful and is available with up to 310 horsepower against 245 horsepower for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. Although, this difference in power feels smaller in practice given the much heavier weight of the larger vehicle. All of the engine options in both vehicles are Ford’s excellent EcoBoost turbocharged designs, which provide an excellent mix of power and fuel economy. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport can only be equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 2021 Ford Bronco offers the choice between either a ten-speed automatic or a unique seven-speed manual that includes a special crawl gear for low-speed maneuvering.

But perhaps the largest difference between the two new Broncos is that only the 2021 Ford Bronco offers a true open-air driving experience. The roof and doors can all be rapidly removed and reattached, allowing you to better appreciate nature on your adventures. While there are other vehicles that offer similar features, Ford has taken this to the next level with some unique innovations. Not only will all of the doors fit neatly in the back of the 2021 Ford Bronco, allowing you to remove them on the go and take them with you, but the side mirrors are attached to the body rather than the doors so that you will not lose any awareness when the doors are removed. This creates an opportunity for a lot of fun adventures out in the wilderness, even when you may not have intentionally gone there to have them.

A blue 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is parked in front of a tree-covered hill.

Trims and Options

Once you have decided which of the new Bronco branded SUVs is the right fit for your requirements, you will need to decide on the trims and options. However, this can get tricky as Ford has given the trim levels all new adventurous names. For the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, you will have to choose between the Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, or First Edition. The first three of these trims are mechanically similar and differ in their levels of luxury features and options. But the Badlands trim comes with some significant performance upgrades, including a more powerful engine and an advanced twin-clutch four-wheel drive system. Finally, the First Edition includes both performance and luxury upgrades, but its limited run is already sold out.

For the 2021 Ford Bronco, there are even more trims to keep track of. The full list includes the Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition. The changes between these trims are also not as straightforward as those on the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. Moving through the Base, Big Bend, and Black Diamond trims will add both luxury and performance features. The Outer Banks trim is actually a slight downgrade from the Black Diamond Trim in terms of performance, even though it is a massive upgrade in terms of comfort.

The Wildtrak and Badlands trims of the 2021 Ford Bronco are both aimed at serious off-roading.The Wildtrak trim is focused on Baja-style desert running with larger tires and some extra luxuries, while the Badlands trim is tailored for traditional rock climbing and has a standard hydraulic disconnect. However, any trim of the 2021 Ford Bronco can have its off-road performance enhanced to nearly the same level as the top trims thanks to the optional Sasquatch package. This high-value option adds 35-inch mud terrain tires, locking front and rear differentials, enhanced suspension with Bilstein dampers, and much more.

The Bronco is Back

While the new Ford Bronco family includes a slightly bewildering array of options to choose from, it is difficult to go wrong with any of the available configurations. Both the 2021 Ford Bronco and the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport and incredibly capable vehicles, and even their base trims come with everything that you need for adventure. While some Broncos are certainly more capable than others, even the least expensive 2021 Ford Bronco Sport can handle light off-roading and severe weather right off the dealership lot. If you have something more exciting in mind for your Bronco, then the availability of the impressive Sasquatch package means that it will be easy to find something up to the task. When looking at the incredible level of performance available across the new Ford Bronco family, it is clear that the spirit of the original 1966 Ford Bronco has finally returned.

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