Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A New Age of Bucking Trends: The 2021 Ford Bronco

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Recently demonstrated by the announcement of the limited edition Mustang Mach 1, Ford Motor Company enjoys drawing on the vast reservoir of their past looking towards their future. For the 2021 model year, the automaker re-imagines the Bronco name for an exciting new sport utility vehicle.
In 1965, Ford  was a hive of activity in motorsports as well as on the road. Fully invested in capitalizing on the instant success of their Mustang, Ford continued to find their affordable sports car was a sales darling in its first full year of production. Customers of larger vehicles were presented with an all-new Ford Galaxie as well as a reworked Country Squire wagon. Diverting from on-road to off-road, the auto company was putting the finishing touches on the release of their first compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). The Ford Bronco debuted in 1965 for the 1966 model year as something unlike anything the blue oval badge had been worn on up to this point.

Designed to compete against the Jeep CJ model (evolving to the modern Wrangler) and the International Harvester Scout, the off-road focused 1966 Ford Bronco was an exclusively four-wheel drive truck-like vehicle that was most more athletic than a F-Series pickup truck. The sport utility vehicle featured a variety of body configurations including an open-top with removable passenger doors as well as full range of optional productivity equipment such as power take-off.  A polar opposite to the Ford Mustang, the Bronco found a smaller but similarly enthused audiences of young performance-seeking fans instead choosing dirt rather than the pony car’s pavement. The first generation Bronco represented a pure off-roading adventure model that was diminished by the 1980s as the Bronco nameplate was applied a model based on a full-sized pickup truck and the Bronco II was a compact SUV that lacked the aggressive capabilities of the earlier vehicle. Coming 55 years after its initial debut, the Ford Bronco returns to its originally envisioned form it some perks. 

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Playing heavily to both sport and utility with a “Built Wild” persona, the 2021 Ford Bronco is a highly expressive, highly versatile machine. The all-new Bronco is exclusively a four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle that provides a unique action-oriented design not associated with the current crop of urban-focused crossover vehicles. A turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost four-cylinder engine generating 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque serves as the base powerplant paired with a part-time, selectable four-wheel drive system. A 310-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine with 400 pound-feet of torque production is also available on the new Ford Bronco along with an optional Advanced 4x4 transfer case. A seven-speed manual transmission with a crawler gear is offered with the base engine while a 10-speed automatic gearbox can be paired with both engines. The 2021 Ford Bronco’s driveline also incorporates Dana AdvanTEK differentials at the front and rear with available Spicer Performa-Trek electronic locking differentials.

The Bronco’s familiar two-door body style returns (the first two-door Ford SUV since the 2003 Explorer) joined by the first ever four-door Bronco. The two-door model features a 100.4-inch wheelbase while the dimension is 15.7 inches longer on the four-door 2021 Bronco. Touting what Ford classifies as “Baja racing DNA”, the all-new Bronco is unmistakably influenced by the original 1966 design. Sharp edges, wide stance and tall ground clearance are basic elements to accommodate the off-roading persona. Finer details harking back to the first generation vehicle includes a front with round headlights and a mid-level nameplate as well as rectangular taillights.
Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Constructed on a high-strength steel chassis, this remastered version of the Ford Bronco reintroduces removable doors, roof and body panels associated with the first generation vehicle. An available hardtop roof structure incorporates a simple and quick to remove multiple piece design that can be dismounted to create an open-air cabin. A soft top cloth roof will be offered standard on most four-door Ford Bronco. Buyers of the four-door model also have the flexibility of ordering most the cloth and hardtop roof. Both the two-door and four-door Bronco includes frameless doors that can be easily removed or reattached. Four-door Ford Broncos comes with protective bags allowing the doors to be stored onboard. Cowl-mounted side mirrors insure maximized visibility regardless of the doors being installed or uninstalled.

Wrapped around a protective high-strength steel roll cage, the interior compartment of the 2021 Ford Bronco features both high-tech solutions and retro ruggedness. Up to five occupants can be seated inside a cabin that can be utilized as utilitarian or can be decked out in leather-trimmed luxury. The Off-road friendliness of the Ford Bronco can be enhanced by easy-to-clean washable rubberized floors, marine-grade vinyl seats and rubber touchpoints. The instrument panel design borrows styling cues from the first generation Bronco. Ford’s SYNC 4 is offered with 8-inch and 12-inch SYNC system with some added off-road tailored technology. A FordPass Performance app with off-road navigation is exclusively available on the new Ford Bronco providing trail maps and plans to optimize off-roading trips. Upfitter switches are available with pre-wiring for activating added an assortment of accessories.

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

The 2021 Ford Bronco will debut with six trim level choices (Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands and Wildtrak). In addition to factory options, Ford also pledges more than 200 dealer-installed accessories can be selected by buyers. The Canadian starting price for the new SUV is $40,499 for the base model with the top-of-the-line Wildtrak retailing for $58,494. Ford Motor Company of Canada has begun accepting customer reservations for the new Bronco with a $100 deposit as of July 13th.  
In addition to the regular 2021 Bronco, Ford has also unveiled the four-door only Bronco Sport. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is marketed as a less extreme, lower-cost yet still adventurous sport utility vehicle option. Propelled by a 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter EcoBoost, the Ford Bronco Sport shares the aesthetics of its more powerful counterpart as well as the inclusion of standard four-wheel drive. Base price for the Bronco Sport is set at $32,199 in Canada. 

The 2021 Ford Bronco is launched in direct competition with the new Land Rover Defender as well as an old foe, the Jeep Wrangler. 

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