Ford Bronco dealers are counting the days until they receive the first round of all-new Ford Bronco inventory. Forget about the fact that Ford’s 7,000-unit lot of First Edition Bronco sold out in just 10 hours (sight unseen); the red hot Bronco market shows no signs of slowing down. Could it be that Ford struck gold when it decided to resurrect one of its most beloved nameplates in a newer yet retro-styled form?
We think so. The Ford Bronco – available in two different models, the Bronco and the Bronco Sport – is poised to set the SUV category on its head and give iconic dominant off-roaders, like the Jeep Wrangler, a serious run for their money. Sometimes automakers bring back a favorite brand, and it backfires, which usually happens because the newer version bears no resemblance to its predecessor. This is where Ford really gets it right because the newest Bronco model looks like a modern version of its former self. It’s the perfect blend of old and new.
Take one look at its highlighted features, and you’ll see right away that Ford accomplishes this without compromising an inch on capability. The Bronco has bragging rights for its off-road prowess and readiness to hit even the muddiest, trickiest terrain. We get the feeling that the Bronco looks even better caked with dirt. Add in interiors that are designed to hose off after heavy use, and this truck wins instant cult status among adventurers.
2021 Ford Bronco: Throwback Features
Both the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport fit in the ultra-rugged SUV category for their off-roading capabilities and insane four-wheeling options and features, but the Bronco stands out for its style. In fact, some may argue it stands out for its lack of style, which is actually a good thing in this case. It’s boxy in the best way. No aerodynamic curves and futuristic angles here. Just honest, straightforward, truck-like lines.
What we mean is, the Ford Bronco is entirely retro but still modern and cool. It’s difficult to achieve this aesthetic without looking gimmicky, but just take a look at its minimalist front-end design. The Bronco manages to combine those boxy, simplistic lines with futuristic LED headlights and some old school colors – like Cyber Orange and Cactus Gray – that transform it into a modern manifestation of the oldest Bronco models. Add the flat Area 51 blue-gray exterior paint, squint, and you’d swear it was the 1960s.
Ford even recreated its bare-bones grille, with a cool retro and simple style on the Bronco Base. Style mavens will love that the grille evolves across the seven available trims, though, taking on a modern twist with the six-slotted oval grille on the Big Bend and a more complex square pattern on the Black Diamond. Even with this wide variation in grille layout, two important characteristics stay the same. First, the Bronco name is prominently displayed across the grille, and second, those signature round headlights are consistent across the entire trim range.
2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport: Capability Highlights
The 2021 Ford Bronco is powered by a surprising and unexpected range of next-generation engine options. Would it surprise you to know that one of our favorites is the four-cylinder gas-powered engine? This little 2.3-liter EcoBoost motor is anything but small on performance, cranking out 270 horsepower and an incredible 310 lb-ft of torque. Once upon a time, choosing a four-cylinder engine meant compromising on power. Thankfully, those days are over.
As if that’s not enough, the Bronco corners the market on six-cylinder gas engine performance, too, offering a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that ratchets up performance to 310 horsepower and a throaty 400 lb-ft of torque. That kind of power gets you up and over most challenging terrain without emptying your wallet at the gas pump. There’s torque when you need it and plenty of speed for highway driving.
Back to the throwback angle, we can see that Ford wants Bronco buyers to remember the good old days because many Bronco trims come standard with a seven-speed manual transmission. Sure, there’s an available 10-speed automatic (and some trims come standard with it), but to truly experience off-roading like they did in the sixties, clutching your way through a dirt trail might be a pretty exciting proposition.
Speaking of trail driving, a BIG thank you to Ford for integrating its G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any type of Terrain) technology into the entire Bronco lineup. Pick from five standard drive modes – Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal – and you’re dialing in condition-specific settings that maximize every ounce of the Bronco’s capabilities and deliver traction and handling exactly how and when you need it most. Zone in on the upper-level Bronco Badlands, and you’ll get two more: Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl, plus Sport is replaced by Baja, a setting you’ll choose when performance at high speeds is the goal.
2021 Ford Bronco: Plush and Luxurious
If you’re not quite ready to opt-in on a vinyl interior and labor-intensive manual transmission, don’t abandon hope of becoming part of the Bronco revolution. Instead, check out the stylized Bronco Sport Outer Banks. Starting at just $32,320, this trim adds ‘refined’ to the list of compliments that already include ‘rugged’ and ‘retro.’
Pick from nine gorgeous exterior colors (we love basic Shadow Black) and get a choice of surprisingly complementary Ebony/Brown or Navy leather seats, which are, of course, 6-way power for plenty of comfy seat settings. Add a standard heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and you’re already pinning the plush meter.
We’d definitely opt for the available Outer Banks Package, which includes a powerful Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system with a subwoofer that turns the cabin into a soundstage, a power moonroof, and a surprisingly handy wireless charging pad. Remote start is standard on the Outer Banks. All Bronco Sports include an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Ford’s advanced Sync 3 operating system.
The optional voice-activated touchscreen navigation includes a handy breadcrumb feature that drops pins to remember your route, an especially helpful feature when you’re off-roading on an off-grid trail. Add the 180-degree camera, and the road ahead is displayed on your screen, giving you a preview of what’s ahead. If you’re slogging through the mud, don’t worry: the camera has a built-in washer to keep it free of debris.
Power Through the World in Bronco Style
Whether you choose a retro 2021 Ford Bronco or its more road-ready sibling, the 2021 Bronco Sport, here’s the good news: you’re joining a family of off-roading enthusiasts that put capability at the top of the list. These SUVs are designed for dirty work, but they’ll also look pretty cool arriving at the valet in town. That’s the beauty of the newest Bronco version; its versatility is fresher somehow without abandoning what made it special in the first place.
We’re pretty jealous of the buyers who had the good fortune to secure a First Edition. This limited run of 7,000 early Broncos are all spoken for, but the rest of this amazing lineup will hit dealerships before we know it. We are certainly ready to experience everything Ford has in store for us with this new rendition of the Bronco. It’s a retro-hotshot built for the modern age, and we can’t wait to be able to put this legend through its paces.