After 25 years the 2021 Ford Bronco is back
The 2021 edition of the Ford Bronco is the first produced since 1996. The distinctive, goat-like, go-anywhere stance. The big round headlights. The undeniably, bold boxiness. The new Ford Bronco is easily one of the year’s most-hyped new cars, and seeing the redesigned 4x4 IRL does not disappoint.
It’s not easy to bring back an icon. Automotive throwbacks can look too close to the original at the risk at living off the fumes of nostalgia. Other times, they can look, well, for lack of a better word, swoopy—one too many parabolas towards looking like a Prius. The 2021 Bronco, on the other hand, looks thoroughly like a Bronco but manages to feel like its own thing, too.
"That squared-off design is one of the things that really cements it as a Bronco," David Pericak director of enterprise product line management for Ford Icons and a key architect in bringing back the Ford GT as well as the Ford Mustang-E. "It was designed to not live back in yesterday, but to capture that essence of Bronco. It's very rectangular, it’s simplistic in many ways, but there's interesting details when you really look at it."
But if we’re trying to zero in on which previous Bronco the 2021 model hews closest to, it would probably be the first generation vehicle, made from 1966 to 1977.
Of course, looks mean nothing if the machine doesn’t have the off-the-grid, bring-on-the-apocalypse credentials. Do most people use Wranglers and G Wagons and Range Rovers as Spinneys? Absolutely. But you can’t build mystique on boxy style alone. Even if you know the extent of your off-roading will be a dirt driveway at a friend’s COVID-escape country house.
And so, the Bronco is the real deal with monstrous ground clearance, 360-degree cameras for spotting yourself when traversing gnarly trails, water-fording capabilities, hill-descent controls, and more than 200 factory-backed accessories. You can even get massive, 25-inch wheels straight from the lot. And yes, you’ll have the option of getting a manual transmission.
Even with all of the Bronco’s technical promise and impeccable styling, the features where it really beats the Wrangler are the removable doors and roof panels. On the four-door version of the Bronco, all four doors can be detached with ease and stashed in the back of the vehicle.
While the Bronco has been in development for years, the timing for a 4x4 that lets in the air of the open road, mountain trail or beach seems essential. We can’t think of a better way to escape the monotony of lockdown life.
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