How We Would Order A 2021 Ford Bronco
Photos: Courtesy of the manufacturers
The introduction of the 2021 Ford Bronco has added another new midsize SUV option to the off-road and 4×4 enthusiast serving platter. For years Jeep and Toyota have hoarded the market. Of course Ford fans rejoiced at the return of the Bronco, but even some Jeep enthusiasts are now looking to jump ship to the blue oval. The question remains which Bronco trim level should you start your project with. There are seven Bronco trims to choose from, although the limited First Edition is already sold out, leaving only six currently planned Bronco models. Given the specs, pretty much any 2021 Bronco would make a great enthusiast 4×4 build platform, and the availability of the off-road ready Sasquatch package on any of the lower trim levels makes all of the platforms equally capable. However, we like to consider the three “C”s when selecting a new 4×4. In order of importance, at least to us, they include cost, capability and comfort. With this in mind, read on to find out which 2021 Bronco factory options offer the best bang for the buck.
Two-Door Or Four-Door 2021 Ford Bronco
Sorry four-door fans, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. The Bronco was and has always been a two-door and should remain so. So that’s what we would choose. However, that doesn’t mean we are blind to the function and versatility that the four-door 2021 Ford Bronco offers. We think the four-door is a great option for those that want to transport a school bus full of people or for those that insist on bringing every overland camping item they can possibly transport, whether they need and use it or not.
Two-door fans are sure to be fewer in numbers, which is fine for us. It just makes our Bronco stand out more than the four-door Broncos being driven around by the many minivan moms that will surely make the switch to a capable off-road SUV. The two-door Bronco will maneuver through tighter trails more easily, while the 100.4-inch wheelbase, which is slightly longer than a two-door Jeep Wrangler, will lend itself to improved ride and handling characteristics at speed in the bumps. Also, the lighter overall weight of the two-door Bronco will offer improved all-around performance both on the trail and off.
That being said, if you’re set on a 4-door, we wouldn’t deter you from reserving one as you can pretty much rest assured that a whole multitude of product offerings and accessories will be specifically made for your Bronco and in some cases, the longer wheelbase will help you conquer large obstacles with ease as we have seen on the 4-door Wranglers.
Choosing A 2021 Ford Bronco Black Diamond
Choosing a Bronco trim level is like an artist choosing the canvas they want to start with. The size and shape of the canvas dictates what the painting will look like just as much as what Bronco trim level you choose dictates what can feasibly be done with your Bronco in the future. The low-cost Base model makes great sense for those that plan to significantly upgrade and personalize their Bronco, including the addition of aftermarket rocker protection, heavy-duty skidplates and beefy front and rear bumpers. Although, we think it would be best to start with the Bronco Black Diamond trim. It’s ultimately a great compromise of off-road capability and comfort features at a reasonable cost.
The Bronco Black Diamond includes all of the Big Bend trim level content plus a heavy-duty modular front bumper, a powder-coated steel rear bumper, rock rails, heavy-duty bash plates and a terrain management system with seven G.O.A.T. modes. We don’t care about the ugly 17-inch black painted steel wheels or the smallish 32-inch LT265/70R17 all-terrain tires that come with the Black Diamond package and we will explain why later.
The auxiliary switches in the overhead console would come in handy for powering off-road lights and an on-board air compressor. Marine-grade vinyl-trimmed seats are standard on the Black Diamond as is a rubberized washout floor, both of which make for a simple cleanup after an off-road venture. All in all, the Black Diamond trim offers many of the functional and comfort features you’ll want, without all of the often expensive fluff that you don’t.
2021 Ford Bronco Sasquatch Package
The key to making our Black Diamond trim level selection work is the availability of the Sasquatch package. Without this off-road package we’d be stuck with ugly steel wheels and 32-inch tires or forced into the much more expensive Badlands and Wildtrak trim levels. Unfortunately, these trim levels have some features we don’t even want or need. There is no point in paying for that.
Our selected Black Diamond Bronco Sasquatch includes the same high-clearance fenders, 35-inch tires, 17-inch beadlock capable wheels, front and rear locking differentials, Bilstein position-sensitive monotube shocks and 4.70 axle gears as the high end Wildtrak. The Black Diamond modular OE front bumper should be winch-ready with the addition of an aftermarket winch plate and if we found ourselves running regularly at higher speeds, we could always upgrade to larger diameter aftermarket shocks. The Black Diamond skidplates and rocker protection will keep the underside and body mostly protected right from the start. If we find that we need more heavy-duty solutions, the aftermarket will surely oblige.
Other Ideal 2021 Ford Bronco Options
With our 2021 Bronco Black Diamond Sasquatch mostly laid out, all that’s left is the basic options. We would stick with the standard 270hp 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. It’s simple and should offer plenty of power and torque for our two-door. The great news is that the day of this writing, Ford announced that the manual seven-speed would be available with the Sasquatch package, something that wasn’t originally planned. So we would opt for the manual transmission with the low range crawler gear. Sure, we are manual transmission fans, but there is more to it than that.
The Bronco manual seven-speed transmission is absolutely groundbreaking. A 6.59:1 Crawler gear in addition to the 4.28:1 First gear backed by a transfer case low range ratio of 2.72:1 offers much more versatility than a 4:1 geared transfer case with a manual transmission spinning traditional gear ratios. We can rarely drive an entire trail with a 4:1 transfer case engaged and often find ourselves shifting in and out of low range when we encounter less technical sections. We appreciate the ability to keep the transfer case in high range most of the time. The low crawler gear in the transmission could provide the extra grunt when it’s only needed occasionally.
This gearing option would help decrease the need to shift in and out of the transfer case low range, which can be a slow cumbersome process on most 4x4s, but it would also provide a class-leading crawl ratio of up to 94.75:1, which would come in handy on really technical and rocky sections. With a maximum crawl ratio of 67.8:1, the 10-speed automatic is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. If you deal with a lot of traffic or simply refuse to operate a third pedal and a shifter stick you won’t be left in the cold with the 10-speed.
If you feel that 35-inch tires are just too much for you, but you still want great off-road capability, you’ll want to skip the Sasquatch package. As such, you’ll be better off selecting the Badlands edition instead of the Black Diamond. The Bronco Badlands comes standard with the manual transmission, 33-inch tires and many other off-road worthy features.
Moving on to the less important options, we’d opt for the removable three-section hard top with molded in color. The painted color-match tops look great, but the paint can be easily damaged when removing, storing or installing the top components. Soft tops can be fun and easier to take down, but they simply don’t provide the kind of interior security we prefer. As for body colors, you’d see us rolling around in a lighter hue. Light colors don’t show dirt and scratches as much as dark colors and we notoriously abuse the paint of our 4x4s by not washing and waxing them regularly. The cyber orange metallic tri-coat would be a bright option, although cactus grey might get the nod too.
One thing is for sure, there are definitely multiple configurations and options that make sense for all types of enthusiasts and with any luck, we might be able to build them out in the next month most likely. The only question remains – which one are you getting?