The Bronco is officially back. After 24 years, Ford has revived the Bronco 2021 in a splashy revelation aired Monday night on ABC, ESPN and National Geographic, each short film featuring a different member of the family: the Bronco 2-door, Bronco 4-door and Bronco Sport.
The Bronco 2021 – Ford’s flagship series of 4 × 4 vehicles – is a brand that relies heavily on nostalgia, personalization, functional design and technology such as the automaker’s next generation infotainment system and a digital trail mapping function that allows owners to plan, record and share their experiences via an app.
It’s not the 1966 Ford Bronco, the first year that the rugged two-door off-roader was released to compete with the Jeep CJ-5. However, the DNA of this heritage model is present in this modern version of the Bronco 2 as well as in a new four-door version. The third model, the Bronco Sport, is a more comfortable derivative that is designed to be capable off-road as well as to function as a daily driver on city streets and highways.
Production of the new Bronco series will begin in early 2021 with the arrival of the first models at dealerships next spring. The three Bronco models will be built at the Michigan assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan. Ford has also opened reservations, where potential customers can pay $ 100 to hold onto the two- and four-door Bronco models.
Ford hasn’t released all the details on the three models – the prices of the Bronco Sport and Bronco 4, for example. (The base Bronco 2 model starts at $ 29,995, including $ 1,495 at destination and delivery.)
There are still many here. Let’s unpack it, starting with the basics of the Bronco two-door and Bronco four-door vehicles.
Bronco 2 and Bronco 4
Both models have a steel chassis and independent front suspension, the goal here being to improve control. At the rear, the solid axle design includes coil springs with five positioning links to provide off-road control and strength. The vehicles are delivered with two possible engines – a 2.7-liter V6 or a 2.3-liter four-cylinder – and are available in 7-speed manual and 10-speed automatic. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine is expected to produce 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque, while the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine has torque of 310 lb-ft. with an expected power of 270 horsepower.
Ford gave Bronco 11.6 inches of ground clearance, a 29-degree tilt angle and a 37.2-degree departure angle. It also has a wading capacity of up to 33.5 inches. Just to be sure, the Ford designers added more protection and weight, including modular steel bumpers with integrated winch support. Some of the high-end versions of the Bronco come with steel shields to protect essential equipment, including the engine, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank.
Oh, and how could I forget. Ford offers 35-inch off-road tires at all trim levels on the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4.
Meanwhile, Bronco Sport is a slightly different animal destined to go everywhere and do everything the family does with the truck. Sport offers much of the same off-road capability in a smaller package.
Although it may not have the same degree of customization as the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4, there are many ways to configure the Sport. It is available in five versions, including the base model, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands and First Edition as well as four sets of accessories available. Ford offers more than 100 factory-supported standalone accessories to carry a variety of equipment, including kayaks, skis and camping gear.
By deepening the Bronco family of vehicles, a few themes emerge, in particular with the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4. The vehicles are intended to remind us of the original while pushing towards the future. They are designed to be robust and institute a modern, human-centered functional design, while embracing technology in certain key areas.
While technologists might take a look at nostalgia, there is no denying its power. As TipsClear’s Matt Burns noted last week, Ford will use the old Bronco to sell the new Bronco, just as Nintendo uses previous games to sell new games.
The Bronco 2 2021 is clearly new, especially once you look inside. But taking a look outside, it’s hard to miss inspirations from the original.
The Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 have square proportions, short overhangs and a wide position, all aspects that make these vehicles ready for off-roading. They also return to the original design. From the side, you will notice distinct edges and flared wings, a nod to the first Bronco.
This is where the 2021 Bronco series really shines. Ford has offered countless ways to customize the Bronco 2 or Bronco 4.
The automaker offers seven different versions of the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 with assorted color combinations and trims. There are also 11 different paint choices and four content packages. Options start with the basic no-frills version and end with the Wildtrak and Badlands versions for more extreme off-road adventures. The Big Bend, the Black Diamond and the Outer Banks are seated in the middle. And of course, a first limited production edition will be offered at launch.
The automaker also has more than 200 original accessories.
The Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 are intended to be configured in several ways. For example, the Bronco 2 models come with a standard three-section roof system. There is also a premium painted modular top with four
sections which adds a removable panel to the rear seats and the cargo area. The Bronco 4 has four removable roof sections, which Ford says can be removed by one person by unlocking the latches from the inside.
The models are also available in a flexible or rigid version, or as an option with both. Even the large, open wheel arches are modular in design with a quick-release attachment for customization.
Much of the technological focus is on the four-wheel drive system and is at the heart of the brand’s so-called terrain management system. The Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 have up to seven driver-selectable modes for off-road driving, including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, with Baja, Mud / Ruts and Rock Crawl.
Ford offers two different 4 × 4 systems on all Bronco models, a basic configuration and an advanced system. The basic system uses a two-speed electronic gearbox with shifting. The advanced option
The system has a two-speed electromechanical transfer case which adds an automatic mode for engagement on demand which allows the driver to choose between 2H and 4H (two high and four high).
There are other technologies in the vehicle, however, such as the new generation Ford Sync 4 infotainment system and digital maps. The infotainment system includes a multifunctional color LCD dashboard. Going down, the driver can interact with the transmission selector / selector and the GOAT mode controller (all-terrain modes) in the center console. The grab handles are in fact integrated into the modular dashboard and the center console for those moments oh ST.
The designers also included built-in mounting points on the dashboard to mount just about any device you want, including cameras, navigation units, phones, or other devices.
Another big piece of the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 is the emphasis on functional design. After all, it is an off-road vehicle. And it should work as such.
For example, trail finders on the front fenders can also be used as tethers and can handle longer items like canoes. These trail views are placed so that a user can attach a boat or other equipment without scratching the paint or lights. But they can also be removed or replaced with other equipment, noted Bronco chief designer Paul Wraith in a briefing before the revelation.
“You can trade them in or bolt on extra lights or Go Pros,” said Wraith. “And, especially if you’re smaller, you can just use them to tell you where the corners of the truck are, which shows that innovation doesn’t always need a microchip.”
The interior is also designed with an avid owner of accessories in mind.