After a 25-year absence, Ford revived its once revered Bronco for 2021. The updated Bronco is available as a full-size SUV or as a smaller Bronco Sport. Both models were immediately popular with Ford and off-road aficionados. Limited production of First Editions sold out in a matter of weeks.
Orders have continued to pour in, although production of several hard-top models have been stalled since summer due to problems with the durability and appearance of the color coordinated removable roofs.
Ford says the problems have no effect on the vehicle’s performance, the heart of Bronco’s popularity, particularly off-road. We test-drove the 2021 Wildtrak top trim equipped with the top $5,000 Sasquatch option, only available on the 4-door model.
Sasquatch is a super-hero in the Marvel Comic universe and the moniker describes Sasquatch’s Terrain Management, with seven drive modes, including Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl for off-road adventures.
The Bronco is also no slouch on the highway with just 6 seconds needed to reach 60 mph with a decent ride receiving some feedback when driven on macadam roads due to Bilstein™ position-sensitive monotube shocks designed for rough terrain. Handling is truck-like, with moderate lean in curves and tight turns.
Sasquatch improves the Bronco profile and incorporates 17-inch black aluminum wheels with 35-inch BSW Mud-Terrain tires, the Bilstein™ shocks, electronic-locking axles, electronic-locking front/rear differentials optimizing traction, high clearance suspension (11.5 inches), fender flares, and Trail Control with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
We enjoyed the larger 2.7-liter engine with superior torque and horsepower, removable hardtop and doors (there is a soft-top) and uppermost trim now above Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks and Badlands.
Access was challenging with 24-inches from ground to cabin entry but running boards are available; Ford’s SecureCode driver door lock lets you leave keys inside the vehicle.
Driver safety aids are contemporary for both on and off-road with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite of safety features. Top safety scores are expected.
Inside, the ergonomically designed cabin interior is water-resistant and durable, the two-tone seats and Ford’s Sync 4 infotainment system populates a 12-inch touchscreen that can be updated remotely and an 8-inch digital screen; Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the FordPass Performance app are accessible with a top-of-the-dashboard spot for a smartphone or GoPro.
More than 1,000 curated trails can be found with off-road navigation.
Overhead upfitter switches can link to added accessories and Ford offers 200+ available accessories for customer customizing for myriad outdoor jaunts.
At a Glance
LIKES: Looks, off-road conqueror, visibility, power, cabin/storage space, spare tire
DISLIKES: No complimentary maintenance, production delays, access, short visors
BOTTOM LINE: You may have to wait for delivery; will cut into Jeep Wrangler sales
Fact File: 2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 4DR Advanced 4×4
2.7-liter, Ecoboost, DOHC, V6
315-hp at 5,500 rpm
410 ft.-lbs. at 3,250 rpm
18 mpg city/20 mpg hwy
0-60 in just under 6 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.