Skip to main content
Here's How Our 2021 Ford Bronco Fared in Its First 5K Miles

Here's How Our 2021 Ford Bronco Fared in Its First 5K Miles

All-terrain mastery, false warning lights and a busted door handle

  • Nothing we've done off-road has challenged the Bronco yet.
  • One morning, the rear door handle stopped working.
  • Unexplained warning lights have us confused.

Four months ago we bought a Ford Bronco for our long-term test fleet. Since then we've tried to drive the SUV like its creators intended, and we've learned a lot about its capabilities in our time spent off the beaten path. But over the course of our first 5,000 miles in the Bronco, we've also seen things go wrong.

We expected it to handle business off-road

So far we haven't found an off-road situation that our First Edition Bronco couldn't handle with ease. In the expanses of Joshua Tree National Park, we challenged it with mud and sand. It didn't break a sweat. At Big Bear Mountain, we drove the Ford during R2-level snow conditions in 4WD Auto mode (4A), which automatically sends power where it's needed without forcing four-wheel drive like 4WD High (4H). It didn't miss a beat.

A steep parking lot covered in ice was the Bronco's only struggle. But in 4WD Low (4L), it scaled the hill without a misstep. And we plan to push this First Edition even harder in the coming months.

We didn't expect mechanical or electronic hiccups

For starters, the exterior cargo door handle stopped working when the Bronco had only 4,000 miles on the odometer. We removed an interior panel, trying to access the cable and fix it ourselves. No luck. Our Ford dealer tightened the cable under warranty, but with no explanation as to what might have caused the problem.

Speaking of the unexplained, so far we've seen a few odd warning lights. One day the rear seat-belt warning light stayed on for more than 10 minutes after the rear passengers exited the vehicle. An undetermined trigger set off the blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts for several minutes during a routine freeway commute. And cold weather seemingly duped the Bronco into thinking its hood was open for about 30 minutes. We don't know what caused these glitches but we plan to monitor them closely.

Edmunds says

We are only one-quarter of the way through our year with the 2021 Ford Bronco. It isn't perfect, but the good outweighs the bad so far. We'll check back in another 5,000 miles and see if the Bronco has hit its stride.