A List of Reasons to Love the Amazing 2021 Ford Bronco
We think the all-new Bronco is special, and these are just a few of its features that impress us.
I've experienced a few especially memorable moments in my automotive-journalism career. Perhaps surprisingly, however, not all of the golden memories explicitly involve driving; occasionally, an automaker will unveil something so sub-zero cool, and effortlessly pitch-perfect, the subsequent crash on my fried dopamine receptors hits like a runaway Trackhawk. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like, though I suppose regularity would just contribute to my internal Hjaðningavíg—an eternal, ceaseless battle in Norse mythology—between desensitization and overstimulation. But count the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco introduction as one I will always place at the top of my list, with plenty of features to love.
Earlier this year, a few months before the Bronco made its official debut, Ford gave a tiny cluster of media an early peak at the 2021 Bronco. When the Cyber Orange two-door Bronco crested one of the many wild hills in California's Johnson Valley, the goosebumps hit so fast I checked my boots, expecting to see a half-full syringe of adrenaline stuck in my foot.
2021 Ford Bronco: Ultra Aesthetics
Right off the bat, one of the 2021 Ford Bronco's best features is its appearance. Aesthetically, Ford got this so, so right. Now, I've only seen it in Badlands configuration, but I reckon the two-door 2021 Ford Bronco is as proportionally perfect as a new off-road SUV can be in 2020.
I struggled to put my finger precisely on what this ultra-modern, ultra-retro design-language channeled, but I settled on a few disparate analogies. For one, it very much appears lifted straight from the halls of Ford's design studio with little thought given to full-scale production. If you cold-previewed this vehicle to a room full of journalists, not a soul would have believed this production-ready Bronco was destined for anything other than a display of forgotten concepts at the Henry Ford Museum.
In the same vein, it looks like the genius craftsmen and women at the Ringbrothers workshop reskinned a new Ford Explorer. In this cynical world of shapeless SUVs and bulbous trucks, the 2021 Ford Bronco doesn't look real. It's a glimpse from an alternate timeline when the 1966 Bronco was never truly redesigned, but instead simply updated and modernized, and this is just the latest iteration of that machine. Honestly, alongside the revitalized Mercedes-Benz G-wagen, the 2021 Ford Bronco is proof the new Land Rover Defender could have been even better.
Of course, all of this effusive drooling about what is arguably the 2021 Ford Bronco's best feature is also over a top-spec two-door; I have yet to see a Bronco in person without the neat off-road hardware or those massive 35-inch tires. What's more, much of my praise absolutely also extends to the four-door, but there are a few angles—namely the rear-side—where the styling can get a bit jumbled.
2021 Ford Bronco: It's All About the Details
Begin to read the specs, climb around the truck, and explore the details—you find even more of the 2021 Ford Bronco's best features. Talking to the engineers, I began to get the sense the 2021 Ford Bronco is an amalgam of careful engineering and thousands of hours of customer feedback and focus groups. As corny as it may be, Ford couldn't have done this without the diehard Bronco fans—and Jeep fans, too. Engineers and product planners canvassed thousands of 4x4 enthusiasts, and identified common problems and complaints that generally aren't really even considered problematic anymore—they've simply been accepted byproducts of the off-roader hobby.
The new Bronco's doors are fully removable—while the mirrors remain fixed on the body, mind you—and are lighter than you might expect. Get the four-door, and you can safely stow the doors in the back—no more chaining doors to trees found alongside the trail. That innovative halo-style roof frame gives passengers a full, unobstructed view above, and don't sweat those rainclouds—or the mud puddles—since many of the critical controls are waterproofed, the floors rubberized, and the upholstery cut from the same marine-grade vinyl found on watercraft. Sure, the Jeep Wrangler has similar levels of waterproofing, but it shows Ford didn't half-ass a thing here. The company had a list of best Bronco features to include on the production model, and it checked it thrice.
At an even more granular level, the 2021 Ford Bronco is fascinating. Some of the best features that impress most right off the bat: Molle-system loops for storage; a mounting bar for accessories that runs the length of the dash with integrated USBs to combat cable clutter; and corner-sights on either side of the hood that pull double-duty as roof tethers rated up to 150 pounds. A chunk of the interior's fasteners is marked with Bronco symbolism, calling back to Ford's production of wartime Jeeps in World War II, when Ford-built Jeeps carried fasteners marked with "F." Those sweet fender flares? They come off with a few bolts so you can replace worn examples, swap a new design in, or take them off entirely. Most of the body panels are fairly easy to remove, too—bumping against a boulder is as painless as ever.
2021 Ford Bronco: Tons of Accessories
This isn't a single, specific feature, but it's one of the Bronco's biggest strengths. At launch, Ford promises to offer more than 200 official Bronco accessories that run the gamut, including grille designs, wheels, lights, bumpers, tents, cargo management, winches, interior trim, shift knobs, and, presumably, performance upgrades. Even the interior grab-handles are modular; don't like the design? Swap it out for one you do.
Then, there's the miraculous presence of a manual transmission. Never mind the fact not one other single Ford truck or SUV is available with a stick, the Bronco features six forward gears and an ultra-low-speed crawler gear, something I haven't seen on an off-road SUV in quite a while. Again, there are no half-measures here, just nerdy features galore.
I haven't driven a 2021 Ford Bronco of any flavor yet, and it's likely going to be a while still until I get my hands on one, but this whole launch feels special. Even if it turns out the 4x4 capabilities and driving dynamics aren't as refined or revolutionary as we hope they are—and let's be honest, it's probably not much more capable than a Colorado ZR2 or Jeep Wrangler Rubicon—but the 2021 Bronco represents an honest, measured, full-throttle approach to vehicle design, engineering, and packaging. Like all of the great cars and trucks from history that make us ask, "Why can't it all be like this?" this feels like a turning point in an industry that gives into its cynicism far too quickly. I hope Ford sells a billion of 'em—I want more of this feeling.
2021 Ford Bronco Best Features:
- Exterior styling to die for
- Excellent off-road-driving hardware
- Removable doors
- Removable body panels
- Innovative halo-style roof
- Easy to clean
- Waterproof controls
- Available manual transmission
- Subtle throwback branding
- Lots of available accessories