December 4, 2020
2021 Ford Bronco: How we'd spec it

2021 Ford Bronco: How we’d spec it


The 2021 Ford Bronco can be built up in myriad ways, from a hardcore base model to a loaded-up and lux’d out off-roader.


Ford

After months of anticipation and not-so-patient waiting from fans, the online configurator for the 2021 Ford Bronco finally went live at the end of last week. Annoyingly, the configurator was immediately plagued with issues due to the sheer volume of people trying to spec out their dream Broncos. (Seriously, Ford says over 190,000 people have already reserved a new Bronco.)

Well, after a relaxing fall weekend, the configurator seems to be fully up and running now, so I set my coworkers the task of dreaming up their ideal Bronco. Read on to find out how the Roadshow staff would spec their new Bronco, and then let us know in the comments what your dream Bronco looks like.

Craig Cole’s base Bronco

Cole’s dream Bronco is cheap n’ cheerful in Velocity Blue


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I’m a pretty simple guy (Read: a cheap bastard). I don’t need a lot of frills or fancy features, which is why I kept my Bronco build relatively plain. Rather than grabbing some loaded-up four-door model with every bell and whistle, buzzer and klaxon Ford offers, I aimed as low as I could possibly go and went with a Base model. Yep, this version is so unpretentious it doesn’t even have a proper name, it’s literally just¬†Base, and that’s fine with me.

As for the details of my build, I opted to have this untamed pony’s sporty, two-door body painted Velocity Blue, a cheerful color that still looks good with the various black exterior elements, things like the door handles, mirror housings and fender flares. I even kept the standard 16-inch steel wheels, which actually look pretty cool and should be far less costly to replace when they inevitably get scraped up or dented.

Behind that retro-inspired grille, I opted for the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, not because I wouldn’t love the available V6’s 400 pound-feet of torque, but rather because this powerplant can be had with a manual transmission, and a seven-speed unit at that. If three pedals are offered in a vehicle, you can bet that’s the gearbox I’m going to choose.

Lest you think I’m completely puritanical, I did grab a few practical options. For added protection, you’ve got to go with the heavy-duty modular front bumper, which includes upgraded front bash plates. These enhancements are totally affordable at just $825. I also threw in the $495 sound-deadening headliner to keep exterior noise at bay. Lastly, I grabbed the $110 keyless entry keypad so I can lock the fob in my Bronco and not worry about losing it while out adventuring. At the end of the day, with no running boards, no roof rack and no bull, my Bronco build checked out for a totally reasonable $31,315 including options and a usurious $1,495 in destination fees. This is proof positive that you can have a cool and capable ride without going bankrupt.

Steven Ewing’s Bronco Big Bend

Ewing’s dream Bronco Big Bend straddles the line between sport and comfort.


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Look, I’m not trying to spend a ton of money on a Ford Bronco. I don’t need something incredibly luxurious, I don’t need something extra-capable. I just want a fun little SUV with enough off-road capability to get me through a day of wheeling with friends, but enough on-road amenities that I wouldn’t hate having to do a long trip in this thing.

Thus, meet my 2021 Bronco Big Bend. It’s a two-door with cloth seats, the base engine, a seven-speed manual transmission and only a few bells and whistles. I love the Area 51 paint color and the LED headlamps are a must, and inside, I’ll take the upgraded Sync 4 infotainment system and, well, that’s it. It’s a relatively simple spec, but it’s also just under $37,000 out the door. That’s something I could totally get behind.

Daniel Golson’s Bronco Outer Banks

Golson’s 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks puts an emphasis on luxury over off-road ability.


Ford

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t really care about the Bronco’s ruggedness or off-road capability. The outdoors isn’t my thing, unless you count sitting on the beach with a cocktail as “the outdoors.” But I think the Bronco looks freakin’ awesome, so my spec maximizes the on-road visual appeal without getting into brodozer territory. I’m not a big fan of two-door SUVs, so I went for the four-door model, and I also picked the twin-turbo V6 option, because I like power and don’t care about having a manual. I went for an Outer Banks model, which gets body-color fender flares, side mirrors and door handles, as well as the six-slot grille — my favorite of the bunch.

Cactus gray is easily the best color that Ford offers for the new Bronco, so that was a no-brainer. I added the $695 hardtop, which sadly won’t be available in body color until later in the Bronco’s run, along with the $220 set of mudflaps. I’m not really a fan of the standard 18-inch wheels, but the only other option is the 17s that are part of the Sasquatch package, which I definitely don’t want. I’d just have to find a set of aftermarket 20s, I guess.

The inside is what really made me choose the Outer Banks, though. To augment the cactus-gray paint I chose the two-tone leather and vinyl seats in dark space gray and “navy pier,” although the brown “roast” color was enticing too. I proceeded to load my Bronco up with almost every single option because I don’t believe in base models. The $3,950 Lux package adds all kinds of niceties like the 12-inch screen, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel and wireless charging. All in all, my Bronco comes to $52,035.

Emme Hall’s Bronco Wildtrak

Hall’s 2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak puts the emphasis on high-speed off-roading with a bit of versatility and tech thrown in.


Ford

Did I just spec out a Bronco for $56,000? Hells, yeah, I did! I’m more about going fast in the dirt than I am about rock crawling, so I’m opting for the Wildtrak trim. It’s the only trim to get a Baja mode and if it’s anything like the Baja mode in the Raptor, it should lock out the top gears to keep the revs, and the fun levels, high.

The Sasquatch package adds 35-inch tires, and front and rear lockers, but my personal Wildtrak would also get some aftermarket skid plating, just to be safe. The Wildtrak also gets the well-positioned Mid package, but I want adaptive cruise control so I have to bump up my options to the Lux package. It’s about $3,600 but I get the adaptive cruise control, extra USB ports, wireless charging and an upgraded sound system. That’s money well spent in my book.

Kyle Hyatt’s Bronco Badlands

Hyatt’s 2021 Bronco Badlands has just enough tech and comfort for around-town livability.


Ford

For my Bronco, I picked a trim that would work really well around town, but still be plenty capable should I want to take it out to some trails or into the desert for camping. The Badlands trim is just one notch below the hard-core off-road Wildtrak version, and therefore has the narrower wheels and slimmer fenders, which I like from a purely visual standpoint. I also decided on Cactus Gray because it feels like the most authentic-yet-toned-down Bronco color and I’m not usually one for loudly colored vehicles.

I decided to stick with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and manual trans (which means no Sasquatch pack, which also means no factory locking front diff) for a more engaging drive around town and better fuel economy. Also, the aftermarket will likely have plenty in store for both motors, if I want more power. My Bronco’s got the right factory accessories (partly because Badlands, partly options), though there will likely still be stuff that I’d want from the aftermarket — big front flood lamps and a locking front diff, for example — but even without those, this should be a fun and capable SUV.

Chris Paukert’s Bronco Badlands

Paukert’s 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands is adventure-ready with lots of add-on accessories, but it’s got plenty of tech, too.


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Before anyone cries shenanigans, please know that I am actually planning on buying a 2021 Bronco. I have a spot in line, and, full disclosure, my to-be-purchased rig almost certainly won’t be spec’d like this. So what gives? Well, we Roadshow staffers have been asked to create our dream spec here, and while the Bronco I park in my driveway next year probably won’t be any cheaper, it’ll be designed to appeal not just to my personal needs, but to those of my better half, as well.

While our family is indeed planning to purchase a two-door Bronco that’s all Sasquatchy, for this exercise, I’ve specced out more of a hard-core Badlands trail rig, adding a heaping helping of accessories for maximum outdoor versatility. Yes, I splurged on the pricy Lux Package equipment group because I have experienced the glory that is 360-degree camera coverage while off-roading, plus I’m a big music buff and want the B&O audio, too. I’ve also added both the roof basket (because there’s not a lot of cargo space for road trips in the two-door with a dog), and the kayak carrier because, well, we like to paddle.

My as-spec’d price? $57,365 delivered, including loads of accessories like a $2,500 winch, $850 tube doors, and nearly $800 in Yakima rackage. (I’d probably go to the aftermarket for a lot of this stuff, but the idea of lumping it all into one monthly payment is enticing.)

Why no Sasquatch option? Because annoyingly, you apparently can’t have a manual transmission with the upgraded suspension and tires unless you’re willing to hold out for this late-availability combination¬†(the configurator doesn’t presently permit both). As I’d rather have three pedals and be forced to go to the aftermarket for suspension and wheel upgrades, this is the best solution. That said, I’d love a V6 manual Sasquatch, Ford…

Tim Stevens’ Bronco Wildtrak

Stevens’ Bronco Wildtrak prioritizes high-speed off-roading and room for the pups.


Ford

So I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly in the market for a Bronco, which makes me seemingly the only auto journalist not wooed enough by the thing. Sure, I appreciate a little off-road fun as much as anyone, but the idea of really sending it in something shiny and new and this expensive is a bit alien to me.

But, I figure if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it right, so I’m starting with the near top-shelf Wildtrak package, chosen because I’m more into bombing down fast, rough roads than crawling up rocky ones. I went for the four-door to make it easier to load in my elderly pups, and to give a little more room for packing for those extended road trips. And, to ensure that I can get back from those trips, I clicked on every bit of protective gear I could find. Minus the brushguard, that is, because frankly it looks a little undersized, a problem I’m sure the aftermarket will gladly address.

I also added running boards, so that my wife can manage to get into the thing, and picked what is in my opinion the best launch color with the worst name: cyber orange. The final package comes to an eye-watering $57,920. But, like I said, if you’re going to do it…

Sean Szymkowski’s base Bronco

Szymkowski and Cole thought a lot alike, keeping it simple and affordable.


Ford

I chose to keep it simple, like, really, really simple. Because, for me, my Bronco doesn’t need all the fancy tech and extra goodies. I want a down-to-earth off-road machine, so I built the working man’s Bronco. I haven’t seen his yet, but I’m told my colleague Craig Cole built a very similar machine. Great minds think alike.

To keep my Bronco from looking too rental-car-lot, I painted it a shade of Velocity Blue to give the SUV a splash of color, but I absolutely needed to keep the 16-inch polished silver wheels. I know, I’d love to have the Sasquatch Package, but man, these wheels are so good. I also added a heavy-duty front bumper and a roof-mounted light bar.

Inside, it’s all stock, all the time. Well, except for the portable fridge/freezer combination Ford offers. I think it’d be swell to have a cold beverage available wherever I decide to park my Bronco out on the trail. I obviously want the seven-speed manual transmission, which left me with the 2.3-liter turbo-four engine, but that’s all right. The Bronco’s crawler gear will be worth it on the trail, I bet.



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