posted on July 14, 2020

Three new Bronco models for 2021

Yesterday, after months and years of rumors and teasers, Ford unveiled the new 2021 Bronco in a live streamed broadcast online and on TV. After a 25-year hiatus, the Bronco nameplate is returning — on three different Bronco models — to the approval of 4×4 fans around the country.

In the Bryan Cranston-narrated presentation, Ford broke down their new Bronco family, reading out the copious features and options while Broncos played around in the desert, generally looking very tough and rugged. Between phrases like, “you need something that can look adventure in the eye and give it a firm handshake,” the presentation made two things evident: how seriously Ford is taking aim at Jeep, and that the 2021 Bronco definitely looks like it’ll hit the mark.

The 2021 Bronco two-door (Image: Ford)

Much as they’ve done with the Mustang, Ford has reintroduced the Bronco name by recasting it as a sort of sub brand. The Bronco two-door, Bronco four-door, and Bronco Sport are direct appeals to both the ardent 4×4 crowd and “normal folk” who increasingly demand daily-drivable SUVs with off-road credentials. To take on the Wrangler and other competitors, the new Bronco family covers nearly all the bases for modern SUV buyers.

The Bronco family

While four-wheel drive is standard on all three Broncos, the two-door and four-door are the most serious of the Bronco family. It’s just like it sounds — the four-door is the same as the two-door, just stretched out to include an extra row (just like the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited). In the styling department, they look extremely close to the classic Broncos of yesteryear with almost toy-like proportions, and they look fantastic. The silhouette is distinctly Bronco and the proportions are boxy and handsome — to my eyes, it’s a hit.

The 2021 Bronco four-door (Image: Ford)

During the presentation, Ford focused on the trail and off-road capabilities of the two-door and four-door models, touting available best-in-class ground clearance, breakover, and departure angles, options like front and rear locking differentials, electric stabilizer bar disconnect system, and all sorts of other off-road ready goodies. It has quick-release removable doors and roof panels so you can get the classic open-air Bronco experience. Ford boasted “more than 200 factory-backed aftermarket accessories,” and the aftermarket will surely go even crazier once the truck is released. The message was clear: the new Bronco is tough, very customizable, and ready to go wherever. (Keep in mind, however, that off-roading is prohibited on Turo).

The better engine option will be a 2.7L EcoBoost that makes 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft, and you can pair that with either a 10-speed auto or a seven-speed manual transmission. Pricing through the various trim levels (and there are many) should be competitive with the Wrangler, with the base two-door Bronco starting at $30,000.

The 2021 Bronco Sport (Image: Ford)

The smaller Bronco Sport is more of a typical family SUV, with toned down styling and construction at a slightly lower price than the two-door. It won’t be available with all the serious kit you can have in the other Bronco models, and its roof and doors stay on. But it’s available with a rear locking differential and plenty of other gadgets, and it’s exactly the kind of vehicle that today’s car buyer wants.

Continuing the Bronco legacy

Brad’s 1970 Ford Bronco (Los Angeles, CA)

It seems Ford has been very careful to make sure the new Bronco honors the legacy of the original Bronco, which was introduced in 1965. The Bronco was simple and stout, which made it perfect for duty as a work truck or snowplow — it was basically a truck offered with a removable soft cloth or solid shell roof. Because the model was so successful and the design so appealing, classic Broncos have become very popular vehicles to restore and modify. Take Brad’s 1970 Bronco here, a beautiful restored example.

The Bronco really does have an iconic design. The square face and boxy silhouette match the truck’s beefy, barebones construction. It’s simple and clean, with no fuss or games. But this Bronco does hide a few small surprises. A piano hinge below the windshield allows it to fold down on the hood. On the left side, an auxiliary gas tank nearly doubles the fuel capacity. It has two gas tanks — from the factory!

This Bronco will give you that classic Americana mood but with some modern upgrades and additions for more comfortable use today. It oozes charm and confidence and gives you that feeling of open-air freedom.

At first review, the 2021 Broncos sure seem to capture the spirit of the original. Ford has put a lot of focus on this model, so let’s hope the new Bronco family can deliver on its promises and live up to its name. As soon as it hits dealers next year, it’s a good bet you’ll see the new Bronco on the road everywhere.

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.