A yellow 2021 Ford Bronco is shown off-roading in the rocky desert.

The Call of the Wild: How the 2021 Ford Bronco Is Destined for the Trail

Move aside, Wrangler, there’s a new road warrior in town, and it’s here to get a little mud on the tires. The 2021 Ford Bronco marks the return of Ford’s adventure-ready SUV and is nothing short of spectacular. Unlike its biggest rivals, the Bronco proves that it can answer the call of the wild on the weekend and navigate the demands of your workweek without breaking a sweat. This is what it means to drive the most functional and practical trail runner on the road today.

The Bronco’s practicality is readily apparent as a spacious SUV that combines rugged style with impressive performance, versatility, and efficiency. However, what truly sets the 2021 Bronco apart from every other SUV in the segment is what it’s capable of long after the pavement ends. This capability comes from a host of off-road tools and components that are designed to help you answer the call of the wild. Clocking out of your nine-to-five for the weekend never looked so enticing until now.

It’s a HOSS: High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension

The 2021 Bronco delivers four-wheel drive capability that gives you the confidence to go anywhere, anytime. This confidence starts with the Bronco’s standard High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system that outfits the SUV with finely tuned shocks, springs, and a solid rear axle. These components firmly plant the Bronco on the ground to give you the stability and control you need to explore demanding terrain.

When you upgrade to the Badlands, Wildtrack, or add the Sasquatch package, the Bronco is equipped with Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers and an independent front suspension. The suspension comes with an electronic power-assist rack and pinion steering, which is an important upgrade for off-road enthusiasts since it allows each wheel on the same axle to move independently of the other to optimize the Bronco’s stability and maneuverability. By improving traction, enhancing the braking, and making the steering more responsive, you have the confidence and control you need whether you’re traveling at highway speeds or navigating a steep descent.

It’s Protected: Underbody Skid Plates

One of the worst sounds you can hear on the trail is debris hitting or scraping the undercarriage, which can prove detrimental and costly. Did the debris hit a vital component? Is your trail runner slowly leaking fuel that you’ll only discover when you’re deeper into the woods and out of gas? These are practical concerns that Ford took into account when designing the Bronco.

To minimize the risk of severe damage, the 2021 Bronco is outfitted with strategically placed steel bash plates. These plates protect the engine, stabilizer bar, transfer case, fuel tank, and rear dampers. Every two-door Bronco comes standard with a fuel tank shield. You also have the option to upgrade the bash plate to a higher-strength steel on models destined for extreme off-road adventures.

The black interior of a 2021 Ford Bronco shows the shift-stick in close up.

It’s Ready for Extreme Terrain: Electronic Locking Differentials

Most off-road adventurers are always on the hunt for technical trails where uneven, slippery, and rugged terrains challenge their abilities behind the wheel and push their vehicles to their limits. Ford knows this firsthand and gives you even more control when you’re behind the wheel of the 2021 Bronco, thanks to the available electronic locking front and rear differentials. Why is this important?

The differentials allow the wheels on the same axle to rotate at the same speed with equal power to optimize traction on uneven or hazardous terrain. What does this look like on the trail? Let’s say that you’re traveling across rocky terrain that forces the Bronco into a position where one wheel is in the air with nothing to grip. Without a locking differential, any attempt you make to accelerate would keep spinning the wheel, which isn’t exactly useful. The locking differential distributes equal power to the wheels on the same axle, which means it gives the torque to the wheel with the most traction, so it has enough power to propel the Bronco forward to more stable ground.

It’s Stable: Front Stabilizer Bar Disconnect

While the Bronco’s electronic locking front and rear differentials add to its capability on the trail, its front stabilizer bar disconnect gives you more freedom to pursue rocky or uneven terrain. A standard sway bar is a vital component of your vehicle because it connects one side of the suspension to the other to keep the vehicle level and minimize body roll whether you’re navigating a corner or traveling at normal speed. Then why is disconnecting the sway bar a good idea on an SUV like the Bronco?

The Bronco’s front stabilizer bar disconnect allows the front tires to move independently from one another, which is important on uneven or rocky terrain. It optimizes the Bronco’s performance and articulation by allowing the tires to maintain contact with the terrain, whether that means the left tire is resting on a large boulder and the right tire is moving in the air toward the dirt trail. Ford makes the tool easy to use since it automatically engages when you switch the Bronco into Rock-Crawl Mode and automatically disengages when traveling over 20 mph. You can also manually engage the tool.

It’s All About the Angles: Departure, Breakover, and Approach

You can talk all day about a vehicle’s off-road components, but it doesn’t amount to much if the vehicle isn’t capable of getting up, over, and down an obstacle. This is why off-roaders are the first to ask about the Bronco’s approach, departure, and breakover angles. The Bronco offers a 43.2-degree approach angle, which is the angle at which the SUV can approach and ascend an obstacle. The Bronco offers a best-in-class breakover angle of 29 degrees, which is the apex or point of articulation in the middle of the SUV. The Bronco’s departure angle is 37.2 degrees, which is the angle at which it can descend an obstacle without the rear bumper coming into contact.

It’s Designed to Put You in Control: G.O.A.T Modes

Ford’s goal with the first Bronco was to design an SUV that could go over any type of terrain, earning the Bronco its early nickname as the “G.O.A.T.” Today, Ford puts a modern twist on the nickname by equipping the 2021 Bronco with up to seven available G.O.A.T. Modes that allow you to tailor how the SUV performs based on the terrain at hand. The modes include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock Crawl, and Baja, each of which adjusts the performance of the engine and transmission as well as the responsiveness of the steering to give you the confidence, control, and stability you need to explore the terrain at hand.

A blue 2021 Ford Bronco is shown from the side parked in the desert at sunset.

Built Wild and Ready for Adventure

Making history as the world’s first sport-utility vehicle, the Bronco turned heads with its debut in the mid-1960s at a time when civilians turned to rigs like the Jeep Wrangler to satisfy their sense of adventure. The Bronco disrupted the segment until the mid-1990s when Ford replaced the vehicle with the spacious and more refined Expedition. Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the road for the Bronco, as we see with the 2021 Bronco that ushers the iconic, adventure-ready SUV into a new era of capability.

Built wild and ready for adventure, the 2021 Bronco continues its legacy with a modern twist. It’s laden with a wide range of off-road components that ready it for every adventure on the trail. This, however, doesn’t come at the cost of practicality or efficiency, which delivers an exceptional balance that makes the Bronco one of the most practical and versatile SUVs in the segment. It’s the ideal weekday warrior and the ultimate off-road adventurer that proves you don’t have to sacrifice practicality for your passion, at least not when you drive a Bronco.