In 1996, there was little demand for two-door SUVs. With that, the Ford Bronco bowed out of the market. But now, 25 years later—and with the Jeep Wrangler having virtually no competition all this time—the Ford Bronco is finally making its comeback. And it’s one of the most highly-anticipated car reveals of the year.
Like the old models, the 2021 Ford Bronco is retro, yet ultra-contemporary when it comes to its looks. The designers wanted it to capture the Bronco essence. To do that, they have made the car quite rectangular and simplistic, but with some modern touches so it doesn’t look like a relic, instead it has a futuristic appeal.
In fact, the new model looks more like the first-generation Bronco than any other but with a modern twist. It will come in both a two-door and four-door model, with the latter sporting a cloth soft top. Both models will come in a range of trim options.
The Bronco is the Jeep Wrangler’s first real rival in years. And it handily beats the Wrangler in one key area: the doors. With the Wrangler, removing the doors is a pain. Once they are off, you can only store them in your house or garage.
With the 2021 Bronco, you can remove each of the doors—and the roof—without a lot of fuss and store them in the trunk. You can even opt for protective bags, though all four-door Broncos have tie-downs to secure the doors.
The Bronco’s doors, however, are slightly heavier than the Wrangler’s. But their frameless design makes them more convenient to carry.
The engineers also decided to attach the side-view mirrors to the base of the windshield instead of the doors. So, going doors-free no longer forces you to forgo using your mirrors. Drivers also won’t have to be inconvenienced if it rains when they are far from home and decided to go doors-free.
The stand-out feature when it comes to the car’s performance is the option of a seven-speed manual transmission. This is a rarity in SUVs these days. Alternatively, the car has a 10-speed automatic.
The car’s performance options aren’t bad if you don’t mind the lack of a V8. The car comes with a base engine that’s a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I4. The engine has an output of 270 hp along with 310 ft-lbs. of torque. If this isn’t powerful enough for you, you can upgrade to the 2.7-liter version. It produces 310 hp and 400 ft-lbs. of torque.
Inside the Bronco
The Bronco isn’t just challenging the Jeep Wrangler when it comes to its removable doors. It also has a stellar interior that should worry the competition. For starters, the Bronco’s dashboard has an inbuilt rack that lets you mount your phone or even a GoPro. The rack even lets you connect your device to a 12-volt power outlet.
Since the cabin will be exposed to the elements a lot of the time, the engineers made it waterproof. It has marine-grade vinyl upholstery and rubberized flooring that protect the more sensitive parts of the cabin. The dashboard also has an array of rubber switches, plus you can add auxiliary toggles.
If the seats aren’t fancy enough for your tastes, you can always opt for leather seats.
The Bronco also has a touchscreen that the engineers embedded into the dashboard. It has the usual infotainment options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can upgrade it to have built-in navigation, and you can even opt for a more luxurious Bang & Olufsen stereo.
The Bronco’s Back
Time will tell if the Bronco’s sales will trounce the Jeep Wrangler. But for now, Ford has developed decent opposition that is a clear challenge to the Wrangler’s throne.