2021 Ford Bronco

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Price Range

  • Not available

Release Date

  • Winter-spring 2021

What to expect

  • The Bronco nameplate returns for 2021
  • Truck-based architecture based on the Ranger pickup
  • Bronco R race truck previews the production SUV's boxy styling
  • It's been more than 20 years since Ford last sold the Bronco
Other years
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2021 Ford Bronco Review

What is it?

It's finally here. Sort of. Ford has released the first look of its upcoming 2021 Bronco SUV in the form of the Bronco R, an extreme, race-prepped 4WD prototype vehicle that will compete in portions of this year's Baja 1000. The SUV is heavily modified with a lightweight composite body, an off-road racing suspension and 37-inch off-road tires pushed far out to the corners. But it does provide several hints at the production version that is soon to follow.

Ford says it built the Bronco R prototype using a modified version of the body-on-frame platform that it uses for its midsize Ranger pickup. This will underpin the upcoming production Bronco, too. The Bronco R's basic suspension design — a five-link rear suspension with a solid axle and an independent front suspension — will also be used for the production model.

Under the hood of the Bronco R is a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. The company says that, too, is a sign of things to come but would not provide any further detail about the engine's displacement or horsepower.

Around the exterior, the Bronco R presents a sleek and chiseled body that is undoubtedly exaggerated for racing. Those massive fender flares aren't making it to dealerships. But the aggressively boxy silhouette, upright windshield, and flat hood and roof are likely to be a preview of the 2021 Bronco. We think even the wide front end with bold Bronco lettering and squared rear taillights are a good bet for the production model. And we think buyers will fall for it.

Why does it matter?

The arrival of the 2021 Bronco marks a serious commitment from Ford to return to the off-road SUV market. It's also a revival of one of the brand's most well-known models, at least for truck enthusiasts. Ford pulled the plug on the Bronco after the 1996 model year to focus on more family-focused SUVs such as the Explorer.

Unlike Chevrolet, which last year similarly brought its popular Blazer SUV name out of retirement only to apply it to a crossover SUV, Ford is keeping the Bronco's rugged truck-based heritage intact. The 2021 Bronco is slated to arrive in the first half of 2021.

What does it compete with?

The Ford Bronco appears squarely aimed at the king of off-road SUVs, the Jeep Wrangler. Like the Wrangler, the Bronco will be offered in both two- and four-door configurations. The Toyota 4Runner is another popular choice. More upscale models include the new Land Rover Defender and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Edmunds says

Like most of America, we're starving for Bronco news. With the Bronco R, there is finally something concrete to daydream about. We think the Bronco R is a solid depiction of what Ford will bring to the table with the production version. This brash and boxy SUV should be ideal for both off-road adventurers or just regular consumers looking for an SUV with personality.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2021 Ford Bronco.

Trending topics in reviews

    2021 Ford Bronco video

    New Ford Bronco R Prototype -- Unveil and First Ride in Ford's Baja 1000 Race Truck

    New Ford Bronco R Prototype -- Unveil and First Ride in Ford's Baja 1000 Race Truck

    ELANA SCHERR: I don't normally do car reviews where I don't know what the car is, but this is a mystery review. Ford invited us out to Las Vegas ahead of the SEMA show. And tomorrow, Ford told us that we are going to see something really cool that we don't want to miss that's 50 years in the making. But they wouldn't tell us what it was. So I have some guesses. 50 years ago, Ford Talladega won Daytona in NASCAR. So I don't know-- I don't think that bringing back the Talladega. Dan Gurney won Le Mans in a GT, but there hasn't really been any GT news this year. Also, Rod Hall won the Baja 1000 in a Bronco, and we are waiting for Bronco news. So I'm hoping that we're going to see some kind of super cool off-road raw haul Bronco tomorrow. And you'll find out when I do. [MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Welcome, everybody. Thank you for joining us out here in the desert. And I'm sure you're still wondering-- why are we out here in the desert? ELANA SCHERR: I was right. I was right. I feel super smart. Did you see that? That is a modified production Ford Bronco-- kind of. I mean, all right, it's very modified. It's a little bit production. And they're going to race it in Baja just like they did in 1969. Who's good at their 50-year history? This girl. There's been a lot of buzz about Ford bringing back the Bronco. People just really like that little truck-- although I guess when they finally stopped making it in whatever that was-- '96-- it was kind of a big truck. But we haven't really known what it's going to look like, and we still don't know exactly, but we have a few more ideas because this race truck kind of has the shape that they say they're going to be using. I think the front end is absolutely going to look like that on the production truck. And it is the production truck frame engine and transmission. So you can get a good idea of what it might sound like. And if you crawl under the truck, you can see what it's going to look like, which is basically what a ranger looks like-- because I think they share an architecture underneath. All right, let me give you a little bit of Baja history. First of all, if you aren't a Californian or an off-roader, you might not even know where or what Baja is. It's a peninsula that comes off the bottom of California and runs alongside mainland Mexico. And it has been a scene for testing motorcycles and cars since the early 60s. People would just go down there and try and run against a clock and see how quickly they could make it all the way down the peninsula, which is about 1,000 miles. And all those time trials eventually led to an organized race called the Mexican 1000, which started in the late 60s. And that turned into the Baja 1000, which is still run today, and I would say is the biggest, most important off-road race in the world. I'm going to say that. I believe it. In 1969, Rod Hall won the overall Baja 1000 in a Bronco-- in that Bronco-- that Bronco. And like, when I say he won the overall, I don't mean oh, he won the four by four class or he won the truck class, he won everything. He beat the motorcyclists, he beat the cars, he beat the sand rails, everything. That was a big deal, and then Rod went on to have a career where I think at one point he won some 30 times in a row-- like, the dude was serious. So it's really cool to see his truck and his granddaughter, Shelby Hall is here. She's a racer as well. And then Ford is here saying they're going to run Baja again with a Bronco that is paying tribute to Rod Hall who died this year. So I think that that is very cool of Ford as well. You know, they're recognizing their history and they're recognizing the people who made them important. All right, so even though this new Bronco looks pretty Bronco-y, you're going to notice that it isn't exactly what you'd expect to see driving around like in your neighborhood or what you would take to pick up your kids. So if you're imagining what the production one's going to look like, bring those wheels in and make them a lot smaller-- probably also won't have quite so much flair on the wheel wells. But that overall shape that it has-- like, kind of straight up and down, straight up and down windshield-- I mean, if it had a windshield-- racetrack-- that that was probably what we're going to see in the production truck as well. And there are a couple of other little details around it-- like, I notice where the tail light housings would be to me looks like, oh, that kind of looks like if it had lights in it it could be a production piece. So maybe the back isn't totally different from what we're going to see either. I definitely think we're going to see that grill with a big bronco in the front instead of Ford, which I think is cool. You know, I mean, they're really into this as a brand identity. So Ford said that we can get a ride in the new Bronco racetruck and also in the original 1969 truck that Rod Hall won the Baja 1000 with. So I am very stoked about that, and I can't wait to see what it's all about. OK. So Ford won't tell us what engine is in this racetruck, although they did say it is the same engine and transmission as is going to be in the production. One thing we do know is that it's a 10-speed automatic-- so probably the same transmission we've been seeing in a lot of Ford products. But I mean, I've liked it when I've driven it. They're racing in Class 2 in Baja, which is one down from, like, the big trophy trucks. And so we know this isn't a V8. We know this is an eco-boost, it's just, which size is it? It will be super cool if the Bronco gets the Raptor's 3.5-liter eco-boost V6. But it's probably more likely that it's going to be the 2.7-liter V6 eco-boost. I can't tell from the sound-- maybe you can. I don't know-- leave your guesses in the comments. We'll see who's right. Shelby's working harder than the guys are, man. That old truck-- that's a thing. So we still don't have a great idea of what we're going to see when Ford releases the new Bronco in the spring, but we have a little bit of a closer look. I think it's going to be something like that-- you know, boxy, small, rugged looking. I think that fans of the original Bronco are really going to like it.

    Elana Scherr takes a look at (and a ride in) the Ford Bronco R prototype. In this video, Elana explains the history of the Baja 1000 and its historical relevance to the Ford Bronco. We also get a brief rundown of the Bronco R's drivetrain and body-on-frame construction before seeing what it's like from the passenger seat at speed.

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