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Long-awaited 2021 Ford Bronco test drive

We call it a comeback. Ford Bronco’s two- and four-door SUVs are finally here, rolling in Wayne, Michigan, destined to offer 4×4 love to the first existing customers in line for one. It’s been a long wait: The last time we got a 4×4 Bronco was model year 1996, and Ford had been teasing a boxy, retro-off-road reboot since 2004. But last week in Austin, Texas, Ford finally handed over the keys and let’s give it a try, either On the streets of Texas’ capital city or miles away on a tough Hill Country trail. This is what we discovered:

1. It’s a hit.

Ford Bronco Outer Banks
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Just a few miles away from driving us in a $48,450 Outer Banks model, it became clear that Ford didn’t deal with a Bronco. It’s not just a Wrangler wannabe based on Ford’s Ranger platform. The Bronco is a fully realized machine with more fluid on-road driving dynamics than a Wrangler – and a clever, uncluttered interior with ample yet unobtrusive technology that’s closer to the upscale market. Land Rover Defender. If you’re in the market for either, you owe it to yourself to find and test a Bronco. Its highway steering is responsive, not drowsy, thanks to the independent front suspension. However, when you get it on the road, it’s ready to rock.

2. This does not mean that there are no compromises.

Ford Bronco, Texas
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

The Bronco features two Ecoboost engines: a 2.7-liter V6 making 330 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.3-liter four-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The Otter Banks model we drove on the road was a 2.3 paired with a 10-speed automatic, easily bordering the hills of the Edwards Plateau west of Austin. Disadvantage: average fuel economy. We couldn’t see the 21 mpg rating quoted by Ford. It’s not much different from the Wrangler four’s rating—it’s not just a drastic improvement.

3. Ford made a wild machine. And he wants to take you into the wilderness.

During the launch program, we had the opportunity to drive dozens of miles of off-road trails that every Bronco customer could experience. It’s called the Bronco of Rodeo, and it’s a test-drive event where buyers will learn about their car’s off-road capabilities – even if they haven’t received it yet. The Texas location wanders around rocks, dry streams, and rocky monoliths. Three other locations are under development: one outside Las Vegas, another in the Northeast TBD, and one near Moab. It’s part of an impressive effort to develop an off-road community that may begin to attract even Jeep loyalists.

Ford Bronco test in Texas
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

4. Its off-road technology is outstandingly usable.

You’ll find something to like in the Bronco’s bucket of high-tech tools for off-road driving, whether every item of clothing has been stained with red Moab dirt, or has rarely left the pavement. Let’s start with the truck’s perfectly placed controls for the electronic locking differential, which gives traction in hairy situations: Dedicated buttons are mounted above the center stack, and we found them exceptionally easy to access.

Ford Bronco
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

During tough and difficult climbs, you can press the button on the front or rear differentials for more traction, and quickly deactivate for better handling once you’re in the clear. Seasoned off-roaders will also appreciate, on the Badlands, the availability of a push-button stabilizer bar. While crawling on the rocks, we used it to instantly unleash the full suspension hinge—allowing a wheel that was hanging in the air to gain traction. Ford folks were quick to point out that the Wrangler couldn’t do this: The Bronco setup works even under load, while the Wrangler needs to be shifted on level ground.

Ford Bronco, Texas engine
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

5. …and you don’t need to be a hardcore off-roader to use it.

We also dug into some of the Bronco’s other off-road features. We used the single-pedal drive mode to climb smoothly and smoothly into a series of rocks, while without it we might have had the rumble, fast-rotating, gas operated with the right foot, and the brakes with the left. continent. There is a feature called lane turn assist that makes it easy to get around tight turns with a single rear wheel brake.

James Lipman
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

In a few laps, the difference seemed negligible, but the advantage was most evident in the sand, as the Bronco visibly planted her foot—mistake, her wheel—down to the axle. Yes, you may not need either feature if you are Vaughn Gittin Jr. (who helped design the course). For the rest of us, these 4×4 digital intelligences are very useful.

Ford Bronco
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

6. Raise your hands for the airbags in the back.

Although IIHS hasn’t released crash test ratings for the new Bronco just yet, we know it does have at least one obvious safety feature over the Wrangler: side airbags hidden in the roof pillars. Not owned by a Wrangler. A Ford rep told us that Wrangler’s omission of them is a result of a loophole in federal vehicle safety standards. Apparently, if the doors can be removed, the side curtain airbags are not required. This is a plus for anyone, but especially for parents looking to use the Bronco as their daily baby carrier.

James Lipman / jameslipman.com
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

7. Accessory attack is coming.

overland Rejoice: Ford representatives showcased some of the more than 200 aftermarket accessories already available for the Bronco, including Yakima’s roof rack, flared fender kits, off-road lighting options, and Warn Winches. There is much to come, of course. They are all necessary to make your device look unique on Instagram.

Ford Bronco, Texas
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

8. Raise the roof…please.

A quick demo confirmed that yes, it is relatively easy for a single person to remove Bronco doors with a few simple tools. The doors are attached with bolts. You can remove it, click the electrical wire plug, and put it in an attached bag. The four-door model weighs about 50 pounds, and can fit in the luggage compartment — it doesn’t need to be stowed in the garage, unlike the Wrangler. The two-door model doors are heavier—54 pounds—and don’t fit in the back. We were disappointed to discover that no, Dave Matthews does not start automatically from the speakers when the doors are removed.

Ford Bronco
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

9. Consider Sasquatch.

The list of options is endless: There are seven levels of equipment to consider, ranging from the most cosmetic and tech-oriented (like our Outer Banks) to a package designed for high-speed off-road driving, called the Wildtrak. Ford folks were quick to point out that unlike the Wrangler, you can get the base model (from $29,995) and still opt for the more capable off-road package, called the Sasquatch ($4,995), which packs 35-inch mud tires , two electronic locking teams, raised suspension, and more.

Ford Bronco
James Lipman / jameslipman.com

10. Do you want one? Stand in line.

Ford says that of the initial 200,000 reservations, 125,000 followed. All 2021 models are all sold out, and if you’re looking to get into 2022, you might want to turn that hand up now.

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Written by Joseph

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