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2021 Ford Bronco: What We Know So Far

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 10/7/2019 Joey Capparella
a blue and white truck parked next to a car: Ford's rugged SUV will make its triumphant return next year, and we have plenty of information about it. © Ben Summerell-Youde/Fox Syndication Ford's rugged SUV will make its triumphant return next year, and we have plenty of information about it.
  • Ford is bringing the Bronco SUV back to its lineup for the first time since the 1990s.
  • It will again be a rugged, truck-based SUV and it will be targeted at the popular Jeep Wrangler.
  • The new Bronco will make its debut next year, going on sale sometime late in 2020 as a 2021 model.

The return of the Ford Bronco is starting to feel as slow-moving as O.J. Simpson's 1994 car chase through Los Angeles. Ford made the announcement that the Bronco was coming back in January 2017, and it will finally arrive sometime in 2020. But even though the Blue Oval has been relatively mum on details regarding this exciting new model, we've gotten a clearer picture of the rugged SUV over the past few years thanks to rumors, illustrations, parts guides, and various other reports about the revived Bronco. Here is everything we know so far.

It Will Have a Turbo-Four Engine

This tidbit of information about the Bronco's powertrain came from a Canadian Tire parts database, which showed a DOHC 2.3-liter inline-four available for the 2021 Ford Bronco. We took this to mean that the Bronco will share its engine with the Ford Ranger pickup truck, which uses a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission is likely to be the Bronco's gearbox of note, although some rumors have suggested it may offer a manual transmission as well.

Platform Shared with the Next Ranger

The Bronco will be a truck-based, body-on-frame SUV and its underpinnings will be shared with the next-generation Ford Ranger mid-size pickup. Leaked images of the next Ranger surfaced earlier this year, which may give us an indication of what the Bronco's styling will look like. We also know from Ford's teaser photo that the Bronco will have a boxy profile with a rear-mounted spare tire in the grand tradition of off-road SUVs.

2020 Ford Bronco © Ford 2020 Ford Bronco

There Will Be a Bronco Hybrid

Ford has said it will offer hybrid powertrains for most models in its lineup, and the Bronco will be one of them. We're not sure at this point what configuration the gas-electric Bronco's drivetrain will take, be it a conventional hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. Ford has talked about the possibility of an onboard generator system for the F-150 hybrid, and that system could be shared with the Bronco.

Roof and Doors Will Be Removable

If it wasn't already clear that the Bronco was targeting the Jeep Wrangler, the info that the Ford will have a removable roof and doors just like the Jeep cements it. Both two- and four-door versions will have doors that can be taken off for more open-air fun, complementing the removable hardtop that will also be offered. According to a report from Automotive News from a dealer meeting, the Bronco's side mirrors will be mounted on the A-pillars and the doors will be stowable in the cargo area. Patents for the door-removal system show a set of latches, a far simpler solution than the Wrangler's doors which require you to remove screws and bolts.

It Will Be Built in Michigan

Ford has officially announced that the new Bronco will be built at the company's plant in Wayne, Michigan, replacing the now-discontinued Focus and C-Max. In a nice historic touch, this is also the plant where Broncos were built from 1966 to 1996.

There Might Be a Pickup Version

A report from a few months ago suggested that the Bronco would eventually spawn a pickup variant to do battle with the Jeep Gladiator, which itself is based on the Wrangler. This may seem redundant given that the Bronco and the Ranger pickup will share components, but the idea is that the Bronco pickup would be more off-road capable, more expensive, and cooler-looking than the Ranger. If it happens, the rumor is it will appear by 2024, or around four years after the standard Bronco.

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