2021 Ford Bronco Speculation

What Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Be?

The much-loved Ford Bronco has been off the assembly line for nearly a quarter century. While there were many rumors that circulated about a 2020 Bronco in recent years, the reality is that the Ford Bronco will be back as a 2021 model. Bronco fans have speculated about what the new Bronco will look like for at least a decade. Some have drawn the 2021 Ford Bronco to be a vintage inspired fun 4×4 reminiscent of the early smaller ’66-’77 body style, others claimed the new Bronco would be fullsize and more modern, sharing features with the 1/2-ton Ford F-150 Raptor, but with an SUV backend, while many have simply turned their nose up at the idea of Ford resuscitating the Bronco nameplate.

The fear is that the company would cheapen the Bronco badging by slapping it on a crossover SUV chassis that has no 4×4 and off-road roots. Given what we have seen and heard rumor of so far, it appears everyone was sort of right, yet there are still many unknowns. Ford revealed and campaigned the Bronco R race prototype at the 2019 Baja 1000 and more recently released video of a heavily disguised and camouflaged Bronco prototype kicking around the California desert. Both vehicles have provided us a window to see what the 2021 Bronco will be. We’ll go ahead and unravel all the Bronco rumors with some known facts and lay down our own speculation and wishes for the new Bronco. Read on to see what your favorite Ford SUV will be.

 

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What Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Look Like?

If you were hoping for a spitting image of the ’66-’77 Bronco, you’ll sadly be disappointed. Current required CAFE fuel mileage ratings, modern aerodynamics, and todays crash standards would never allow such a vehicle body shape. However, given the bodylines seen on the Bronco R race prototype, we think you’ll see some of the basic squared off bodylines that are reminiscent of the Bronco heritage. The Bronco R race prototype body is likely closer to the real thing than you might think.

Why would that be? We suspect that the Bronco was slated to be launched as a 2020 model, but perhaps there were some setbacks that pushed the launch date. With the Bronco R race prototype already paid for and prepped for the 2019 Baja 1000, why cancel it? Of course it’s more than likely that the Bronco R has the typical ballooned fenders common with off-road race vehicles that allow for the larger tires to tuck up into the body. If you squint your eyes while looking at the Bronco R, we think you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the 2021 Bronco will look like. The more recent Bronco prototype video likely features a vehicle that looks nothing like what the finished Bronco will look like. It appears to be a cobbled together Ford Ranger placeholder body on the Bronco chassis.

Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Have A Removable Top and Doors?

The simple answer is yes, the 2021 Bronco will have a removable top and doors. However, we don’t believe the Bronco will be available with a 100-percent fabric removable top from the factory. It will only come with a hardtop. Rumors and recent Ford patents point out that you’ll likely see a large removable hard panel on the roof of the hard top. Under that panel will be a removable cloth top, offering the open air feeling without having to completely remove the hard top. Think of it as a giant sunroof, similar to the Jeep My Sky sunroof. A mesh sun shade version may also be available for the removable Bronco rooftop section.

A screen capture from the Ford Bronco prototype video reveals body lines that look nothing like the Bronco R race prototype revealed at the 2019 Baja 1000. This is clearly a camouflaged cobbled together Ranger cab and truck bed on the shorter Bronco chassis.

By comparison, the Bronco R race prototype features more squareish bodylines. We believe the production 2021 Bronco will more closely resemble the boxy early Bronco and this race prototype. We suspect this Bronco R is built on the four-door chassis.

How Big Is The 2021 Ford Bronco?

Because the Bronco R race prototype is rolling on what is believed to be a modified version of the T6 2021 Bronco chassis, we have a fantastic idea of what its size is compared to the early Bronco. A modified early Bronco was placed side by side next to the Baja 1000 race-prepped Bronco R. It’s safe to say that the 2021 Bronco will be significantly larger than a ’66-’77 Bronco, but smaller than an F-150 or the fullsize Bronco we all came to love. Think of it as a mid-sized SUV that is about the same size as the current Jeep Wrangler.

Will There Be A Two-Door 2021 Ford Bronco?

Several rumors have been flung around about what versions of the Bronco will be available. Some indicated that there will be both a two-door and a four-door Bronco available. We suspect you will see both. Although, given the low take rate on the Jeep Wrangler two-door, if there are required cuts to the Bronco lineup, we believe that the two-door Bronco will be the first to go. So if the two-door horse is what you desire, you might want to be quick to pick one up, just in case they are discontinued early on. One interesting rumor we heard indicated that a third version of the Bronco would also be introduced. This third version was said to be a Bronco pickup truck. It could very well be a completely different Bronco chassis derivative, or it could simply be a half-cab pseudo pickup. A half-cab design would really only require a different top and an interior delete for the back half of the Bronco. It seems plausible given the Bronco history.

Putting the Bronco R race prototype next to a ’66-’77 Bronco gives a better perspective of the size of the new Bronco. Of course the Bronco R features slightly wider fenders, a wider track width, and bigger tires than what the OE Bronco will have, but the comparison is still helpful. It’s surely not a fullsize or a micro SUV. It’s clearly a modern midsize SUV.

The Bronco R race prototype features a modified Ranger truck independent A-arm front suspension. It appears to utilize the factory Ranger/Bronco A-arm pivot points and steering, but makes use of longer custom made A-arms. We took a closer look at the front suspension in the Ford Bronco prototype video and it shows a similar A-arm suspension design in the front with more factory-looking A-arms and skidplates.

Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Have A Solid Front Axle Or TTB?

If you were hoping for a solid front axle or a Twin-Traction Beam front suspension, you’re still living in the past. While both of these suspension and axle systems have proven to be functional and durable off-road, they have some deficiencies in the ride and handling department. The 2021 Ford Bronco body on frame chassis is said to be based on the Ford Ranger T6 chassis. It will have an A-arm independent front suspension and a five-link solid axle rear suspension. These suspension designs have already been pretty much confirmed by Ford as what will come on the 2021 Bronco.

What Engines Will Be Available In The 2021 Ford Bronco?

Most believe that the base engine of the 2021 Bronco will be the same EcoBoost 2.3L turbo four-cylinder found in the current Ford Ranger. It’s said to pump out 276hp and 310 lb-ft of torque in that application. An EcoBoost twin-turbo 2.7L V-6 engine is also said to be available. This V-6 can be found in the current Ford F-150 pickup. The F-150 V-6 powerplant churns out 325hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both the inline-four and V-6 engines will likely be backed by the same 10-speed automatic transmission found in the F-150 and Ranger. Interestingly, the Bronco R promo video starts with the new Bronco offering the engine noise of a grumbling V-8 under the hood.

As the promo video progresses the throaty grumble transforms into more of a buzzing turbo V-6 sound. Clearly someone has messed with the soundtrack since the Bronco R that raced the Baja 1000 actually features a twin-turbo V-6 of some sort. There are rumors that Ford is at least considering the possibility of offering the 5.0L Coyote V-8 under the hood of the new Bronco, but sources point out that it would be an Australia-only option for now. If that’s not enough powerplant options, rumor has it that a hybrid electric version of the Bronco will also be available for those wishing to sip fuel more sparingly.

The base model Bronco engine will more than likely be the EcoBoost 2.3L four-cylinder currently found in the Ford Ranger. This turbo four-banger belts out 276hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

We suspect the optional 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 engine will also be available in the Bronco. This twin-turbo V-6 produces 325hp and 400 lb-ft of torque in the current Ford F-150 pickup.

What Off-Road Specific Features Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Come With?

Much like the Ford F-150 and Ranger, we believe the Bronco will be available in several different trim levels. The most off-road worthy will be a Raptor-like Bronco option. Within this option we think you’ll see 35-inch diameter tires, slightly more power, a wider track width, more wheel travel, high-performance shocks at all four corners, more robust skidplating and the same selectable rear locker found in the U.S. Ranger FX4 package and overseas Ranger Raptor. It’s highly likely that the new Bronco will feature a more off-road savvy factory GPS system.

This GPS will be capable of creating a breadcrumb trail and navigating dirt roads that don’t show up on traditional street-friendly GPS devices. It’s also possible that the new Bronco will be available with a hidden winch behind the front bumper, similar to what’s available on the Ford Tremor, but we believe Ford is focusing the Bronco more towards the go-fast desert crowd than the rockcrawling fans so the winch may not come to fruition. The more traditional Bronco trim levels will obviously feature less robust off-road accoutrements than the top-tier off-road Raptor-esk Bronco.

When Will The 2021 Ford Bronco Be Revealed?

Ford has announced that the 2021 Bronco will be revealed in spring of 2020. We have our suspicions it will be revealed April 7th or 8th during the press days at the 2020 New York Auto Show, which interestingly enough coincides with the 2020 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Given that Jeep has revealed vehicles at both venues at the same time, we don’t think it would be unusual for Ford to follow suit with the off-road savvy Bronco. Others believe Ford will save the Bronco reveal for the 2020 Detroit Auto Show in June 2020, while pointing out that it’s not uncommon for Ford to host a private reveal away from the show a few days prior. Both events seem plausible reveal times since spring officially starts March 19th and ends on June 20th in 2020.

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