Automotive

$30,000 Ford Bronco brings wild, dirty thrills back to the Blue Oval

$30,000 Ford Bronco brings wil...
Trail sights on the front fenders serve as tie-downs
Trail sights on the front fenders serve as tie-downs
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Ford promises the largest open-top view in the class
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Ford promises the largest open-top view in the class
Every Bronco comes with frameless doors
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Every Bronco comes with frameless doors
The four-door 2021 Bronco will have available removable modular roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section
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The four-door 2021 Bronco will have available removable modular roof sections – left and right front panels, a full-width center panel and a rear section
A slide-out rear tailgate to provide added convenience is among the features slated for the two- and four-door Bronco models
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A slide-out rear tailgate to provide added convenience is among the features slated for the two- and four-door Bronco models
Roof panels on both two- and four-door models remove easily by unlocking the latches from inside
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Roof panels on both two- and four-door models remove easily by unlocking the latches from inside
Ford plans to begin Bronco production in 2021
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Ford plans to begin Bronco production in 2021
Installing the Bronco four-door roof panels
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Installing the Bronco four-door roof panels
All 2021 Bronco two- and four-door models will offer a swing-out tailgate
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All 2021 Bronco two- and four-door models will offer a swing-out tailgate
The Broncos pictured are still prototypes and not yet fully production ready
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The Broncos pictured are still prototypes and not yet fully production ready
Trail sights on the front fenders serve as tie-downs
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Trail sights on the front fenders serve as tie-downs
With more than 200 factory-backed accessories available at launch, this 2021 Bronco two-door prototype shows how owners can personalize their SUV to get more out of their outdoor experiences
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With more than 200 factory-backed accessories available at launch, this 2021 Bronco two-door prototype shows how owners can personalize their SUV to get more out of their outdoor experiences
Pre-production 2021 Bronco four-door Badlands series with available Sasquatch™ off-road package in Cactus Gray in Johnson Valley, California.
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Pre-production 2021 Bronco four-door Badlands series with available Sasquatch™ off-road package in Cactus Gray in Johnson Valley, California.
The Bronco will come powered by a choice of two EcoBoost engine options
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The Bronco will come powered by a choice of two EcoBoost engine options
Bronco two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system that is removeable quickly and easily with the first-row panels able to be stowed away on board
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Bronco two-door models come with a standard three-section roof system that is removeable quickly and easily with the first-row panels able to be stowed away on board
Ford plans to offer plenty of accessories and customization, allowing modern adventurers to really make the Bronco their own
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Ford plans to offer plenty of accessories and customization, allowing modern adventurers to really make the Bronco their own
Pre-production 2021 two-door Bronco Black Diamond series in Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat with available Sasquatch™ off-road package.
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Pre-production 2021 two-door Bronco Black Diamond series in Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat with available Sasquatch™ off-road package.
The 2021 Bronco will offer an available 12-inch SYNC 4 system, optional leather trim seating, console-mounted transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes control knob
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The 2021 Bronco will offer an available 12-inch SYNC 4 system, optional leather trim seating, console-mounted transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes control knob
A look inside the 2021 Bronco prototype
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A look inside the 2021 Bronco prototype
Available MOLLE seat backs
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Available MOLLE seat backs
Customization details include an available leather-wrapped shift lever for the 7-speed manual transmission and grab handles
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Customization details include an available leather-wrapped shift lever for the 7-speed manual transmission and grab handles
Inside the 2021 Bronco prototype
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Inside the 2021 Bronco prototype
10-speed automatic transmission and standard Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes
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10-speed automatic transmission and standard Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes
On select models, rubberized washable flooring is available with integrated drain plugs
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On select models, rubberized washable flooring is available with integrated drain plugs
The Bronco two-door gets to work
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The Bronco two-door gets to work
2021 Ford Bronco in two- and four-door flavors
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2021 Ford Bronco in two- and four-door flavors
Ford Bronco clearance and angles
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Ford Bronco clearance and angles
View gallery - 26 images

It took a few extra weeks after the new, improved June-edition Detroit Auto Show got canceled by COVID, and a few extra days after some coincidental (or not) timing weirdness with O.J. Simpson's birthday, but the all-new Ford Bronco is finally here ... and it's looking better than it has in decades. The rugged, new Bronco is built with unbridled adventure top of mind and uses both classic and cutting-edge tools to deliver it. The Wrangler had better watch its back, because there's a new 4x4 in town.

Last seen in production in 1996, the Bronco has benefited from its near-quarter-century vacation. The nameplate could have merely diluted away into another boring, modernized "me too" SUV but instead it's resurrected as a hardcore off-roader fully inspired by the 1966 first-generation original. It comes in both traditional two-door configuration, for those wanting the most nimble off-road ride, and – for the first time ever – more family/passenger-friendly four-door variety. The Bronco two-door measures in at 173.7 in (441 cm) from its vertical face to its vertical tail, about 7 in (17.8 cm) longer than the two-door Jeep Wrangler. The additional two Bronco doors tack on nearly 16 in (40.7 cm) to extend the measuring tape to 189.4 in (481 cm), or an inch (2.5 cm) longer than the Wrangler Unlimited.

2021 Ford Bronco in two- and four-door flavors
2021 Ford Bronco in two- and four-door flavors

Thankfully, Ford's designers swallowed back any impulse to splash the Bronco with a modern makeover (we're shaking our head disapprovingly, Land Rover). Instead, they started off by digitally scanning the short, capable first-generation Bronco to use as a reference throughout, developing an equally rough and ready utility vehicle for 2020.

"Similar to the first-generation model, Bronco’s square proportions, short overhangs and wide stance are optimized for off-road adventure," explains Paul Wraith, Bronco chief designer. “The side profile features a flat, no-nonsense surface with clear-cut edges and robustly flared fenders. Large, open wheel wells are a modular design with a quick-release attachment for simple customization."

Of course, the 2021 Bronco is not nearly as short as that 151.5-in (385-cm) first-gen model, but it does pack the lovely set of figures below:

Ford Bronco clearance and angles
Ford Bronco clearance and angles

Below that stout Bronco body with all the right angles is an equally rugged boxed high-strength steel chassis. The available beadlock wheels (and up to 35 inches of tire) are secured in front via an independent suspension and at the rear via a Dana 44 AdvanTek solid axle cushioned by five-link coil spring suspension. Long-travel Bilstein dampers can be added in optionally at all four corners to improve off-road durability and smoothen out harshness.

The Bronco two-door gets to work
The Bronco two-door gets to work

The Bronco comes powered by a pair of "race bred" EcoBoost engines, topping out with a 2.7-liter V6 that churns out an estimated 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder kicks out 270 hp and 310 lb-ft. The standard seven-speed manual transmission comes ready for low-speed rock crawling with available crawler-gear ratio of 94.75:1. The available SelectShift 10-speed automatic, meanwhile, smooths out the roadway drive to and from the trail out while still offering a 67.8:1 crawl ratio.

The Bronco's baseline standard 4x4 system has a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, while the available 4x4 upgrade dials it up to elecro-mechanical two-speed shifting with auto on-demand 4H engagement. Dana Spicer electronic differentials are available for both the front and rear. Available semi-active stabilizer bars disconnect for better articulation during bumpy off-road driving and reconnect to improve high-speed stability and steering.

Ford loads the Bronco with plenty of other off-road-angled tech, including a seven-mode Terrain Management System with selectable "G.O.A.T." (go over any terrain) options like Sand, Baja and Rock Crawl; a cruise-like Trail Control system for low-speed trail driving; a Trail Turn Assist system that shortens up the turn radius via torque vectoring; and single-pedal acceleration/braking for more precise rock crawling control. Also included among the available options is an info-nav system with topographic mapping and more than 1,000 preloaded off-road trail maps.

Every Bronco comes with frameless doors
Every Bronco comes with frameless doors

Nothing beats some fresh air in the remote backcountry, and Ford lets it in via foldaway hardtop and soft-top options. The two-door Bronco comes standard with a three-piece modular hardtop clinging to the steel roll cage, comprising a rear panel and individual driver- and passenger-side front panels. The four-door Bronco comes standard with a folding soft top, but buyers can opt for a four-panel modular hardtop. Both hardtops have removable rear quarter windows and are designed for easy one-person install/removal. The frameless doors are also removable.

The Bronco interior is a mix of cutting-edge and retro, starting with the available easy-clean rubberized floors with integrated drains and hardwearing marine-grade vinyl seats. The digital LCD instruments are styled like the original Bronco and complemented by an available 12-in Sync 4 infotainment system with 360-degree camera view. Assistance tech options include Ford Co-Pilot360, AdvanceTrac with roll stability control and trailer sway control.

The 2021 Bronco will offer an available 12-inch SYNC 4 system, optional leather trim seating, console-mounted transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes control knob
The 2021 Bronco will offer an available 12-inch SYNC 4 system, optional leather trim seating, console-mounted transmission shifter/selector and G.O.A.T. Modes control knob

Ford will kickoff Bronco production at its Wayne, Michigan assembly plant in early 2021, rolling the first models out to dealerships by spring. It plans to break down pricing closer to launch, but it gives the base MSRP of the two-door model at US$29,995 after $1,495 destination and delivery fee. Buyers who want to stake a claim on this highly anticipated 4x4 can put down $100 for a reservation starting today at ford.com.

Source: Ford

View gallery - 26 images
6 comments
nick101
$30,000 doesn't sound too bad, but the chances of getting one for that price are next to zero. A friend tried to get a popular vehicle for the base price, and was told he'd have to wait a very long time as "There's no demand for them"! So, add $10,000 more for what car reviewers call "Much needed necessities" then add an additional $10,000 for "Adequately equipped" but what they REALLY want you to buy is the one for yet ANOTHER $10,000 which, coincidentally, is the one they'll test. So, $60,000 US if you want to be realistic, better hope there's a lot of cash still out there.
Nelson Hyde Chick
With humanity growing by billions more by mid century there will be no place to go for the Bronco to get away to.
IdealistPragmatist
I'm super excited about this, as my first car at 16 was a Bronco II, and the 2 door looks nearly identical, albeit way more off road capable. I'm curious about gas mileage for the 4 banger, and ultimately wish there was an electric version...I probably just need to wait 5 more years...sigh.
Bob809
I see the 'bucking Bronco' video, and have to wonder what is wrong with the suspension. Anyone in that bouncing lump will soon be 'sick' of the ride. However, I have always liked the Bronco, and money permitting would have one at the drop of a cowboy's hat, or any other hat. Torn between practicality of the 4 door and looks of the two door. Nice to see an Icon re-done properly.
Johannes
Walt Longmire would love it, except perhaps for SYNC 4 system.
John Carver
That is what a modern Scout would look like....the Original SUV before the Bronco.