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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

First-look Review: 2021 Ford Bronco | Hagerty Media

Ford's revival of the Bronco nameplate is complicated. On one hand, this new product needs to meet the standard set by the Wrangler as an all-capable, warranty-backed off-road rig. On the other, perhaps weighing more heavily, we have the expectations of the Bronco legacy and its generations of impact on buyers.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/new-car-reviews/2021-ford-bronco-first-drive-review/
53 REPLIES 53
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

Buy one of these, a 4runner, and a Jeep and test them for 150,000 miles and report back. I sure hope Toyota doesn't blow it when they redo the 4runner.... in 2023 or whenever it might happen.
MeJ
Detailer

I think you nailed it. While a Jeep is cool and this Bronco is sure to be a hit, I just don't think they have the inherent built-in durability and longevity that a Toyota has.
I'd take the 4Runner every time.
MustangJim
Detailer

I've driven many a Ford well over that 100,000 mile mark without anything other then maint. I am sure there are many Mopar folks here that will say the same about their favorite brand.
RW68RSConv
Intermediate Driver

And us Toyota owners talk about ours well over the 200K mark... Not being flippant, speaking from experience -- 3 SUVS starting with a 1998 4runner, 240K miles, next 195K, and my current has 220K miles - the last 2 being owned since new. Of those 3, I've replace rear hatch handle twice on one, a AC knob on the other, and all 3 had new idler pulleys at some point. That's literally it beyond normal maint. Both the 195k & 220K had/have all original suspension, shocks, etc. I'm sold.
bassicdave
Pit Crew

Jeep owners will tell you that all the problems that Jeeps have is worth it. When alternatives abound, they will no longer accept Jeep's shoddy craftsmanship and take-the-customer-for-granted, attitude.
NewtyNewt
Pit Crew

I own a 2013 Mustang v6, always garage kept since I bought it new. At 10K miles the hood turned crusty over the headlights. Ford replaced it at NO Charge. They said that some were not properly treated against corrosion from the factory. Ok, mistakes happen. At 20K miles the water pump leaked. Ford replaced it under warranty. The Takata air bag had to be replaced. at 70K miles the oil pan cracked. Who knows why? I hope our Mustang makes it to 100K miles. I will say that my mustang beats commuting on a POGO stick though.
jessedow24
Pit Crew

The 4Runner is light years better than the Jeep in terms of on-road comfort and reliability. There is no arguing that Jeeps are superior off-road, but even a stock 4Runner in the hands of a skilled driver is a highly capable vehicle.
BiffWellington
New Driver

The author of this piece sounds like he might be related to Thurston Howell the 3rd!
bemrfst
Intermediate Driver

lovey wouldn't let him go off road!!
bemrfst
Intermediate Driver

great that it is back, but it needs a meaner looking front end and a 5.0 under the hood!
MATTMERICA
Instructor

I agree - the power options are weak sauce
Utopia1
Detailer

I wish this new Bronco well and am sure it will sell. When I had my '06 Wrangler I loved it - two days a week - but hated it the other five. When it was time for something new, I tried a 4Runner and I love it seven days a week!
FloridaMarty
Intermediate Driver

Wow, Is this really the best Bronco Ford could come up with? I am dumbfounded.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

They should have called it the Scout, which is what it looks like.
WAB
Intermediate Driver

I would take a new 1979 Scout over a Bronco any day of the week.........wonder what a 2022 Scout would look like?
Maestro1
Instructor

Phillip, thank you.
I would not buy it. It's fat, the look of the thing is terrible, and I detest overdone technology in anything
which is one of the many reasons I drive old cars. I can afford this but I'm going to look at Jeeps instead with as little technology crap as possible. I'm not a Luddite; I just think we're overdoing it and
becoming prisoners of something we don't use intelligently.
Hagerties: I hope you are all well and the deal on the Cadillac fell through at the last minute. Found
another, I don't know what's with Cadillacs suddenly, I'm being watched carefully by my Lady..........
uweschmidt
Detailer

my 85 and 86 bronco 2's were raving Beauties compared to these (s) boxes and although the took a bit of wrestling sometimes they tiook me hunting and fishing all over the northwest the manual shifted transfercase never give trouble and the manual warn hubs are still working after a million Ks will that electronic stuff be that trouble free?the engines wasno hell but I replaced it early on with a 2.2 ltre Mazda Diesel (added a Turbo) without the turbo it sported 58 HP with the turbo a bit more and it wasnot built planned and used to destroy the environment but time marches on and I wisch the new bronco well anyway
neilternet
Pit Crew

The fender flares look like an afterthought that was sourced from JC Whitney.
Tim
Instructor

From this review, it sounds like the Bronco is a better Wrangler at a minimum for the 99% of owners who either never go off-road or do so only on typical fire roads and washboard-rutted roads. (For the other 1%, we'll need to wait for a more in-depth, side-by-side, on-the-trail comparison).
dd1
Intermediate Driver

It's interesting to see the trend of using turbo charged four cylinder engines in trucks and SUVs. It's hard for me to believe that these engines will hold out over a long period of time. In addition to the engine pulling an already heavy chassis, the turbo is artificially raising compression by slamming more air into the cylinders. I'm certainly no mechanic but I would think this would significantly shorten the life of the engine. I'm not into these types of vehicles but if I was in the market for something like this I don't think I would want it fitted with a four cylinder. For heavy vehicles there's no substitute for a good old fashioned naturally aspirated V8.
Oldroad1
Instructor

Your right. Ford's 3.5 twin turbo life support systems are failing between 50 and 100k. Mostly cooling system leak issues with turbo overheating problems. Maybe they've fixed those things.
MattK
Detailer

Thank the Government CAFE Standards on new vehicles. Auto Manufacturers Have been trying to keep up with the Standards set by the Government begging for more reasonable numbers, time will tell if these engines can keep up. That's why you use very expensive Synthetic oil in that GMC Terrain and similar vehicles.
Mcontracting
New Driver

I’m on my second F150 with the 6 cylinder turbo,it gives me the punch when I need it and keeps me out of the Gas station way better than the two Honda Ridgelines I had wile giving me a lot more truck Advise use only synthetic oil in ANYTHING
Sure I like the sound and roar of a big V8 but I’m not 16 anymore and smile every time I pass some 6L road hog
Fe385
Pit Crew

Give me a half cab with a stick and I will cut the check today.
Dave404
Detailer

The New Bronco looks like a cheap plastic toy. More of a mommy grocery getter to haul the kids around. The Colorado ZR2 Duramax Diesel shall remain king of the trail.
Harrdware44
Intermediate Driver

Well written article. At or above the same level as what I would expect from R&T or C&D. I felt like I was riding right next to you as you tested it. Cheers.
elldorado2000
Intermediate Driver

Why don't more vehicles have panels that come off like that!? Anyway....most diehard trail guys aren't all about turbos. They're more about low end torque and you don't get that with a 2.3 or 2.7 turbo engine. I guess if you gear it low enough it won't matter. I have 2 friends with the Wrangler and I don't know that you could pry that vehicle from their dead cold hands, they love them. I don't think an IFS would sway them to buy a Bronco. You would also have to wonder what Ford's commitment is to the Bronco. It's been a long broken history for what seems like a very popular vehicle.
gfviperman
Detailer

Bronco legacy?? so good production stopped because of low sales.
Interesting.
TRdelux
Intermediate Driver

As far as rf tire location visibility maybe a need for something like the 1930's style fender indicators.
Like a plow blade flag clipped on to the r-front fender flare edge. Maybe a 'Merican flag on top to
silence any critics. Sounds like a trail option.
MasterDeluxe
New Driver

As a manufacturers rep in the automotive aftermarket it amazes me how many Jeeps there are on the road. They ride rough, they don't stop or steer and they have one of the highest unreliable ratings of any vehicles on the road today. But I love it, they keep my shops in business. I'll stick to my 4Runner, as for the Ford well, it's a Ford, enough said.
Eric2
Intermediate Driver

I want to see how the Bronco (s) handle playing in the sand and rock climbing in Utah before I make any judgements.
More_Oil
Pit Crew

Writing has got to be a difficult job. I have to say, I had a hard time getting through the clunky analogies used. Better luck next time
carguyjim
Detailer

I am unpleasantly surprised how small and cheap this vehicle looks on the road, in person...
Billthecat707
Detailer

You haven't seen one on the road, those are Bronco Sports (Escape based).
SJ
Instructor

Good article, fantastic vehicle.
dirkfathom
Intermediate Driver

An area where Ford can really make an impact is in the reliability score. As noted below, the Toyota is bullet proof and Jeeps are notoriously maintenance nightmares. The fact that people tolerate the poor daily driver performance and horrible reliability, tells you there's an open wallet waiting. If Ford can approach the reliability of Toyota with the performance and adaptability of the Jeep, they've got a winner.
jessedow24
Pit Crew

Something often said about manual transmission is that they are for "purists," and on-road, it's hard to disagree. However, here the author echos the sentiment regarding off-roaders. Here in Colorado and neighboring Utah, where many trails involve steep rocky inclines, a manual transmission is a big disadvantage and you rarely see them on the trail, even on the most hard-core rigs. We were on a trip to Moab last year, there must have been 10,000 Jeeps in the area and not one of them we saw had a manual transmission. In terms of off-roading, the "purists prefer manuals" is a bit dated.
Wayne_G
New Driver

Let's be honest: for 99% of the owners of any of these vehicles, the only off-roading they will ever do is pulling into a parking lot at their favorite coffee shop. Not disparaging anyone who truly off-roads but with all the lifted & modified trucks/SUVs, etc., most of the owners panic at the first sign of dust on the paint.
MattK
Detailer

Good article Phillip, very detailed.
Ark-med
Intermediate Driver

Thanks Phillip; well writ.

I think you got it right with the appeal: Jeep-like capability with more-than-merely-tolerable road manners. Yes, the die-hards will cling to their Jeeps, but for the rest of us who share the vehicle with other drivers in their households would be very happy with this.
And it looks great, too. A better throwback than the cartoonish rendition that the JLR Defender is: on the high end, I'd expect some non-purist, budget-minding Defender shoppers choosing the Bronco's top trim.
dimitri911
New Driver

Exciting!
Jteakus
New Driver

Time will tell if the new Bronco will live up to the hype. As a Jeep owner, I welcome the competition on the trail. Jeep has already upped their game with the Extreme Recon package, rivalry is good! Not a fan of IFS in rock crawling or Blue Oval reliability but if the new entry can hold its own, I’ll gladly tip my hat.
JackBurtonMe
New Driver

I was surprised that some of the commenters don’t like the look. I think this is one of the best looking new vehicles out. I’ve never really been a Ford guy, but I love this thing! Great review!
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Why didn't they test it at the mall parking lot?
MATTMERICA
Instructor

I forgot to add:
underpowered
too much tech crap that only 1% will even attempt at mastering
it is too boxy and heavy

But my opinion is worthless, I like the outdoors, just not running it over in a vehicle - that is why we have horses lol
944racer
Pit Crew

I’m surprised at all the negative comments here. I ordered one of these only half-seriously, excited by the prospect of a body-on-frame truck with a manual transmission. It will take over about 90% of the towing / hauling duties that our decrepit old Suburban does, although I’ll still need the ‘Burb’s greater towing capacity and bigger cabin a few times a year.

Now that I’ve seen the big Bronco up close, I’m getting excited about it. There’s quite a bit of thoughtful design in it, from the easy disconnects to remove doors, to the airbags in the roll cage. It tells me Ford put their “A” players on the development team.

The underlying Ranger platform is proving to be a very reliable vehicle — on par with the Tacoma, even, if the JD Powers VQS data is real. Will we get 200k trouble-free miles out of a turbo motor? I’m skeptical, but I think the data is telling us these will be more reliable than a Wrangler. And if not, well, parts will be dirt-cheap on Rockauto.com.

Ford has an obvious sales win, here. And I think they’ve earned it with a good product.
WAB
Intermediate Driver

I think Ford blew it when the introduced the baby Bronco "Sport" first.....many I know saw that crossover and walked away.....
Gvans75
New Driver

I think I would like it more if it was called the Scout or maybe Bronco 3. I dont see selling my old Bronco or TJ Wrangler for one. I think they will make nice cars for the wife.
hyperv6
Gearhead

I though Ford hit a hone run with this vehicle and I am a GM guy mad GM has failed this segment. 

But Ford has only hit a triple with the major roof issues now going on. They have delayed orders and have thousands of Broncos ready to ship with bad tops. 

Ford really needs a home run after the Aluminum F series killed their profits on the truck. A mistake like this is a really bad start to a new model. 

The Maverick is less a risk but we have yet to see what the market thinks. There will be a surge at first but in 2-3 years will it decline like the Ridgeline did? 

The CUV platform it is on was cheap to source as it is used for a number of models vs the Ranger just two.  But FWD trucks have a long history of failure. Also expect a price increase next year the low ball price was just for intro.