2021 Ford Bronco
One of the most highly anticipated vehicles on the automotive horizon is the 2021 Ford Bronco. A legend among off-road enthusiasts, the Bronco was an instant hit when it first arrived for the 1966 model year, and it reigned for 30 years and five generations until its untimely departure in 1996. With demand for crossovers and SUVs now higher than ever, Ford is doubling down on utility vehicles and bringing the Bronco back in 2020 to get a slice of the off-road lifestyle SUV market—which is currently owned almost exclusively by the Jeep Wrangler.
The Ford Bronco will share its underpinnings with the Ranger midsize pickup, and both vehicles will be built in the same Wayne, Michigan, facility. Like its predecessor, the new Bronco will have a body-on-frame chassis and will likely be available in both two- and four-door configurations. Unlike its full-size F-150-based predecessor, the new Ford Bronco will be a midsize SUV.
Expect at least one EcoBoost engine to power the 2021 Ford Bronco. The base engine will probably be the 2.3-liter turbo-four that makes 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque in the Ranger. One of Ford's twin-turbo V-6 engines could also be offered as an option; a 2.7-liter V-6 makes 325 hp and 380 lb-ft in the F-150. A 10-speed automatic will likely be the only transmission but there have been rumors that a seven-speed manual will also be offered.
As part of its move to electrify its entire lineup, Ford will also offer a hybrid version of the upcoming Bronco. Confirmed by CEO Jim Hackett, the Bronco Hybrid follows hybrid variants of the Explorer and Escape. The Bronco could borrow the former's powertrain, which uses a 3.3-liter V-6 paired to an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Following the Wrangler's lead, the 2021 Ford Bronco is expected to offer a removable roof and doors. A patent filing we recently discovered appears to show a dual-layer retractable cloth unit that you can draw back partially or remove completely for a full open-air experience. Another patent we found shows doors with removable impact beams that slide out and attach on the same hinges for use off-road.
Like its predecessors, the 2021 Ford Bronco will retain a boxy exterior design to distinguish it from your average car-based crossover. The Bronco's round headlights should also make a return, giving the modern version a throwback look that pays homage to its predecessors.
Seeing as the Bronco will be Ford's rugged SUV option, expect it to come with an off-road-oriented trim. That model could come with a specially tuned suspension and shocks, a limited-slip differential, and skid plates. A drive mode selector with settings for different road conditions should also be in the cards for the Bronco.
Is the standard Bronco too large? Well, you're in luck because Ford is also making a smaller, unibody crossover lovingly nicknamed the "baby Bronco." Expected to be called the Bronco Scout, the smaller off-road-focused utility vehicle will slot beneath the standard Bronco but will be styled after its larger body-on-frame sibling. The model will be sized similarly to the Escape. The 2021 Bronco will likely go on sale late in 2020 with a base price in the mid-$30,000 range, and a few months after the Bronco Scout rolls into dealers.