Extreme off-road exploration (i.e., “overlanding”) has exploded in popularity. Amid the growing pandemic, even more folks are looking at road-tripping and car camping to get their travel fix. That requires a proper adventure-ready vehicle. If the Jeep Wrangler isn’t disco enough for you, Ford just announced some very good news.
In one of the most exciting automotive reveals of the last five years, the Ford Bronco will return for 2021 as an all-new family of trucks. The key here is family. The automaker is building upon the original two-door model with an entire line of Broncos. Depending on their preferred driving experience, buyers will be able to dial in their exact level of ruggedness or luxury. Ford promises infinite customizability. The new model will be available in the original 2-door version, plus an ultra-compact Sport model and a first-ever 4-door variation.
Every 2021 Bronco is designed first and foremost to be an off-road-ready beast. Ford is durability testing every trim level to meet its own Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing standards. In short, that includes “torture tests [to] ensure toughness across thousands of proving ground, test lab and extreme real-world challenges in the toughest and harshest environments.” Straight from the showroom floor, buyers will be able to take their Bronco just about anywhere with or without pavement. The automaker is promising impressive specs. With the right options, that includes available best-in-class ground clearance, suspension travel, water-fording capabilities, crawl ratio, departure and breakover angles — the list goes on. Every trim level offers five standard drive modes: Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal. Upgraded models add extreme overlanding-friendly modes like Rock Crawl, Mud/Ruts, and Baja. With the available EcoBoost engine pushing 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, the options to explore are limitless.
Plus, Ford is offering plenty of other standard features and enhancements to make the new Bronco just plain fun. The official list has yet to be announced, but concept photos depict removable roof and door panels for open-air, Jeep-inspired cruising. The cockpit will include marine-grade vinyl seating and rubberized flooring, making it a cinch to hose down after a weekend of adventuring or mudding. Four-door models boast a 60/40 split rear seat to provide flexibility for stowing action gear.
From its 1966 debut — long before O.J. popularized it as an “almost-getaway” vehicle — the original Bronco was a go-to favorite among the off-roading community for three decades. Sadly, Ford retired the truck in 1996, leaving many wondering if or when it might ever return. The new 2021 Ford Bronco is designed to compete squarely with both Jeep and Land Rover.
Ford is now accepting reservations with a refundable $100 deposit. Early buyers can convert their reservation to an actual vehicle order by the end of this year. The entry-level Base Bronco starts under $30,000, although it’s difficult to imagine anyone not ticking at least a handful of option boxes. The first Broncos are expected to deliver sometime in mid-2021. Because demand for every model has been through the roof, some buyers will be waiting until 2022 to get their keys.
If you’re eager to escape civilization and get off-road, Jeep’s military-worthy Gladiator is available right now.
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