The Ford Bronco is Back!
Off-roading fans – it’s time to celebrate – there’s a new generation of the Ford Bronco!
Ford has hinted, teased, and promised the return of the Bronco for years, but in some ways, the Bronco never really went away. Even after production ceased in 1996, the Bronco continued to win off-road races – including 15 Baja 1000 Class 3 wins between 2002 to 2019.
The return of the Bronco is designed to appeal to serious off-roaders and more casual recreational drivers alike. To cater to both of these demographics, the new Bronco comes in two flavors – the Bronco and the Bronco Sport.
The Bronco is a 4×4 SUV with body-on-frame design built to challenge the toughest terrain on outdoor adventures.
The Bronco Sport has 4×4 credentials with a smaller frame and SUV crossover design that makes it primed for efficient road driving, but also capable for off-road excursions.
Ford Bronco – An Off-Roading Legend Reinvented
The Bronco checks all the boxes for an off-roading legend: high clearance, up to 400 lb-ft of torque, body-on-frame truck-style design, and removable doors and roof.
Built with rugged minimalist design, the new Bronco and the Bronco Sport draw nostalgia from the design of previous generations that had round headlights and a two-tone paint job. Though they visually resemble past Broncos, the new Broncos comes with improved aerodynamic design, many new drive modes, and advanced gearing. While purists may complain that the new Broncos don’t have a V8 engine, the new smaller turbocharged engines in the new Broncos have increased power that would blow away older Broncos. The new Bronco has an available 2.7L V6 engine with twin turbos which generate 310 horsepower or 400 lb-foot torque. Previous production Broncos with 5.8L v8s maxed out at 210 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. Vital for controlling speed over rock-crawling, the new Bronco comes with upgraded highly versatile gearboxes – a 10 speed automatic or 8 speed manual.
As part of their off-roading capabilities, both the Bronco and the Bronco Sport have adjustable drive modes. Named the G.O.A.T. (Goes over all terrain) system for the original code name and mission of the Bronco, these drive modes include five base modes – Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal. As you advance in trim levels, you can add modes including Mud, Baja, and Rock Crawl.
The original Bronco was discontinued because it was only available as a 2-door SUV and 4-door SUVs were growing in popularity. It was replaced by the 4-door Expedition in Ford’s lineup. The new Bronco is designed to avoid this trap; it comes in 2-door and 4-door options. The Bronco Sport is exclusively offered as a 4-door vehicle.
Ford Bronco Trim Levels
Even at their base level, the Bronco and Bronco Sport provide substantial off-road abilities, but as you advance in trim levels and add optional packages, their abilities truly begin to shine. Different trim levels also reflect color paint options and interior and exterior design options.
The Bronco Sport comes in a variety of trim levels – Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition – but the real focal point for off-road enthusiasts is the Badlands edition. While the other trim levels mostly reflect upgrades in convenience and accessory features (like heated rear view mirrors, leather seats and grille design) the Badlands edition has features that increase off-roading performance including 28.5” tires, tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops, bash plates and an upgraded engine. The First Edition levels this up a bit with added towing features and 29” off-road tires, but since it is a limited release, you need a bit of luck to find one for sale if you haven’t reserved one already.
The Bronco has a similar trim levels structure with – Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, Badlands, and First Edition levels. There’s also a Sasquach package specially built for off-roading which comes with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, locking front and rear axles, high-clearance suspension, fender flares, and Bilstein dampers.
When Can I Get A New Ford Bronco?
While the Bronco Sport has been available since fall of 2020, the Bronco won’t be out until summer of 2021. The first Broncos to be released will be to people who were on the waiting list, so you might have trouble finding the Bronco on car lots until 2022. If you were one of the lucky 190,000 people who had the foresight and patience to pre-order, congratulations, you’ll be getting your Bronco this summer.
Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler
With the return of the Bronco, the big question on everyone’s mind is: “How does the new Bronco compare to the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon?” When the Bronco went away for over 25 years, it was the Wrangler that stepped in as the most popular SUV for off-roading adventures. Does the new Bronco have the credentials to dethrone the Wrangler?
We’re pleased to report that the Bronco gives the Wrangler real competition. The Wrangler beats the Bronco on approach angle, having a diesel option with more torque and a removable windshield, but the Bronco bests the Wrangler with better breakover angle, more powerful base non-diesel gasoline engines, and easier-to-remove doors. You may need to take a ride down the Rubicon trail before you really notice all of the differences.
Even if you’re a Jeep fan, you should be happy about the return of the Bronco. It means that for the first time in decades, Jeep has real competition for a popular, dedicated off-roading SUV. And while the Bronco isn’t likely to run Jeep out of business, it will put pressure on Jeep to add more features and make their products even better. Everyone wins! In fact, in response to the arrival of the Bronco, Jeep announced intentions to release a V8 option for their Wrangler.
Twenty five years of Jeep dominance is a long time and consequently the Bronco has some ground to cover in terms of developing aftermarket parts and modification options like custom tents, snorkels, and engine mods, but Ford has come out guns blazing. With the release of the Bronco, they have already provided over 200 customization and accessory options, instantly giving fans the ability to express themselves and make their Bronco fit their style and recreation choices. And if you just want more power, there are already aftermarket shops working on adding V8 engines to Broncos.
The return of the Bronco promises opportunity for diverse adventures on and off the trail, on the road or at the beach. With backorders for the Bronco filled up and Bronco Sports in high demand, if you interested in joining in the adventure, don’t delay or else you may end up being left in the dust.