It would’ve been easy for the Blue Oval to copy the 4×4 formula long adhered to by the Wrangler and various other hardcore SUVs that have come and gone — including Ford’s original 1966 Bronco. That stone-tablet blueprint calls for simple body-on-frame construction, solid axles front and rear, a removable roof and doors and recirculating-ball steering. Indeed, the 2021 Bronco has a separate body and ladder-style truck chassis, as well as a detachable roof and doors. However, Ford decided to go with an independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Both of these technologies are known for better control, precision and refinement, albeit at a higher cost and with relative question marks around durability (and, in the case of IFS, ultimate off-road wheel articulation).
In light of these design decisions, it’d be fair to wonder aloud if Ford elected to gear the Bronco more toward on-road polish than ultimate off-road capability. As I’d come to learn over the course of two packed days at Ford’s new Off-Roadeo driving camp, however, to doubt Ford’s engineers would be to make a very bad bet. This Bronco is truly formidable in the rough stuff and it’s also significantly better to live with on a daily basis.
Bronco Off-Roadeo is an off-roading and outdoor adventure park — with four destinations located across the United States — with experiences that build customer confidence, expand their skills, and encourage them to get outdoors. Designed to teach, challenge, and excite both novices and experts, Bronco Off-Roadeo introduces customers into the world of Bronco, and celebrates the great outdoors and adventure-seeking lifestyle that is possible with the new Bronco.
On day two, we didn’t waste any time, hopping into our Broncos and hitting a more difficult section of the trail with plenty of confidence. I watched as a few novices struggled with a few admittedly hairy obstacles, but all were able to overcome them with a little instruction and those aforementioned hero buttons. Day two featured a ton of rock crawling – including two particularly challenging sections – though none of them phased my non-Sasquatch four-door Badlands model one bit.
The Bronco Off-Roadeo Texas was, without a doubt, one of the best automotive experiences I’ve enjoyed in some time. Above all, it was inspiring to see people who had never been off-road in their lives master the basics in such a short period of time, then confidently climb up rocky cliffs they might have never otherwise attempted. It’s also a fantastic way for Ford to sell more Broncos, as almost every non-order holder in my group said that they plan on reserving one now, even if they have to wait two years to get it.
I had the opportunity for a bit of comparison against a Wrangler and found the Jeep to be much bouncier on pavement and it head my head tossing back and forth more over trail bumps. To get the most capable off-road setup you also have to opt for the Rubicon model that starts at $41,000 delivered for the two-door soft-top. Ford offers the Sasquatch off-road package on all trims including the base. That combination is available for just over $38,000. The Jeep and Ford are similar in overall exterior dimensions, but most of the Bronco’s body extends out to the perimeter while the main part of the Jeep cabin is narrower with the fenders extending out. The result is that the Jeep feels narrower and more cramped inside than the Bronco.
For the first time in a long time, there is a real alternative to the Jeep Wrangler and its well worth a look.
Brandon Turkus takes a yellow 2-door Badlands, sans Sasquatch, for a review test drive.
Motor1 via YouTube »
We come to expect certain things from off-road vehicles, but none more so than a willingness to sacrifice on-road livability for dirt-road capability. A Toyota 4Runner, for example, has all the grace and agility of a hippo, while the Jeep Wrangler takes steering inputs as mere suggestions. But we accept these drawbacks because the vehicles are incredibly fun in the dirt and on the rocks. The 2021 Ford Bronco has no such drawbacks.
To be clear, there are things to dislike about the Bronco. But as an off-road vehicle that also works on the pavement, it’s as good as the Land Rover Defender. As a pure off-roader, it can go wheel to wheel with the toughest Jeep Wrangler when the road turns to mud or sand. And as the reintroduction of an iconic nameplate, it’s faithful to the core. The new Bronco is everything enthusiasts hoped it would be.
Wayne, Michigan. — The Bronco is back and ready for adventure. After 25 years, the Built Wild and always 4×4 SUV is rolling off the line at the Michigan Assembly Plant, which underwent a $750 million upgrade and added 2,700 jobs to get the job done. The all-new two-door and first-ever four-door Bronco models are now on the way to Ford dealerships nationwide.
Outdoor enthusiasts are more than ready. More than 125,000 Broncos orders have been placed, with a total of more than 190,000 reservations in the U.S. and Canada to date, plus Bronco Nation debates are already fiery and Bronco Roadeo off-road adventure playgrounds are ready to roll.
“We know the fans have been waiting for the Bronco – and we’re so excited to bring it back,” said Suzy Deering, Ford chief marketing officer. “And this Bronco is better than ever. We’re staying authentic to Bronco’s goes-over-any-terrain heritage and have leveraged the brand’s Built Wild innovative design, durability and advanced off-road capability to get the most out of every adventure in the wild.”