Bronco Returns Off-Road Ready with Modern ADAS


DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford last night officially took the wraps off the long-rumored sixth generation of its go-anywhere sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with an online unveiling of the 2021 Bronco brand.

The brand encompasses a two- and four-door Bronco as well as a smaller Bronco Sport with all versions including four-wheel drive and, according to Ford, G.O.A.T. (go over any terrain) engineered.

According to Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer, every Bronco model is engineered to deliver thrilling and confident off-road experiences that build on the DNA of the original 1966 Bronco and its racing heritage, with ingenious new updatable technologies and adventure-ready attributes created for today’s outdoor enthusiasts.

“Bronco gave rise to the fun and versatile off-road SUV in 1966, becoming the first enjoyable sport utility vehicle for those who wanted to live, work and play outdoors,” he said. “Like the original, the all-new Bronco family is engineered to take you to epic places, with capability to deliver confidence on any type of terrain.”

Ford’s off-road SUV expertise traces back to World War II, when the automaker was part of a government competition to build rugged carry-all utilities for GIs in the battlefield. Ford’s entry was called the GP, with the company building more than 270,000 of these “general purpose” vehicles for Allied forces.

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GIs returning home bought Army surplus GPs for work and play, but they were too small and uncomfortable for civilian life, according to Ford research from the early 1960s, so Ford developed a more refined, spacious, yet durable off-road vehicle to meet this need – Bronco.

The original Bronco was nicknamed G.O.A.T. by Donald Frey, the Ford president who championed both Mustang and Bronco nameplates and challenged engineering teams to deliver “go anywhere roadability.” An agile, sports-oriented off-road 4×4, Ford dubbed the original 1966 Bronco “a completely new line of sports-utility vehicles” at its reveal Aug. 11, 1965 – the first reference to “SUVs” from an American manufacturer.

Early Broncos had a rugged body-on-frame design with short front and rear overhangs, high ground clearance and a short wheelbase for maximum off-road capability. Bronco’s toughness and agility at high speed enabled racers like Rod Hall and Larry Minor to capture an overall win at the grueling 1969 Baja 1000 – a victory no other production 4×4 has replicated in 50 years.

“Rugged vehicles are in our heritage and we see strong growth opportunities with this ever-more popular segment,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, Americas and International Markets Group. “The Bronco brand meets that need by creating a family of truly capable off-roaders to take our customers further into the wild. We’ve leveraged our extensive off-road experience from vehicles like F-150 Raptor to ensure that every Bronco delivers the Built Wild toughness and durability our customers expect.”

Modern advanced driver assistance systems are part of the package

The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced driver-assist technologies is standard across the lineup, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking featuring Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Auto High Beam Headlamps and a rearview camera. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 technology adds Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Centering and Speed Sign Recognition.

As with the five generations before it, the all-new 2021 Bronco two-door and four-door models will be built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. More detailed information, including vehicle specs, accessories and full pricing and options, will be provided closer to launch. MSRP for the base two-door Bronco is $29,995, including $1,495 destination and delivery. Reservations for Bronco two- and four-door models can be made for $100 beginning at 8 p.m. EDT today at www.ford.com.  

About Author

Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Senior Editor for The BRAKE Report. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.