A black 2021 Ford Bronco Black Diamond is shown from the front at an angle.

Two Years In: Is It Time to Buy a Used Bronco?

We all know that the Bronco made its big comeback in 2021, which was just two years ago. Because of supply chain complications, Ford’s new off-roader was hard to come by for a while, but the issues have been sorted out, and Broncos are rolling off the production line. In fact, with the third model year now well underway, used Ford Broncos are even beginning to show up on dealership lots.

If you are steeped in the automotive industry, you know that a lot can happen in two model years; a lot of change, development, and progress. This is important as interested Bronco shoppers can now find 2021 and even some 2022 models on the used vehicle market. Even between 2021 and 2022, there were a number of specific trims and editions released. Therefore, it is worth educating yourself on the ins and outs of the Bronco up to the 2023 mark so that you can find the perfect used model and enjoy the best of this iconic SUV. So, where does the Bronco stand as we transition into the 2023 model year?

The Big Comeback

Of course, it all began (again) in 2021, exactly 25 years after the Bronco left the market. Many thought the Bronco had disappeared for good, but it turns out that this model just needed a good quarter-century of hibernation because when it came back, it was better than ever. The previous Bronco was certainly a capable SUV, but it was just that: an SUV. This new Bronco is here to give the Jeep Wrangler a run for its money in terms of style and off-road performance.

The 2021 Bronco debuted with a few different looks. The most basic distinction is between its two-door and four-door models. This affects the interior space and determines how many passengers you can fit. But, the number of doors seems so inconsequential when you discover all the details of the different 2021 Broncos.

The 2021 Bronco offers two different 4×4 systems, which is, of course, the shining feature that makes the Bronco its off-road-capable self. The lower trims come standard with your standard shift on the fly two-speed transfer case with 2Hi, 4Hi, and 4Lo settings. However, there is also an available 4×4 system with Automatic On-Demand Engagement. This adds a 4Auto setting that functions like an all-wheel drive system, automatically engaging if it senses wheel slip.

Differences like this may seem inconsequential if you are not familiar with the finer details of off-road driving, but car enthusiasts know that subtle differences in 4×4 systems can make a significant difference in the driving experience, especially when it comes to more challenging terrain. The Bronco is a great vehicle to really engage with, so you want to make sure that the powertrain is well-suited to the kind of driving you’re seeking to do.

A red 2021 used Ford Bronco Badlands is shown from the front while driving off-road.

Built For Adventure

For those who like to choose their model based upon more easily-understandable criteria, the Bronco makes things simple by way of its varied trims and packages. For example, the Bronco Sasquatch Package is an all-in-one option that equips the vehicle for heavy-duty off-roading. This package can be found on both two-door and four-door Broncos and is available on every trim of the 2021 and 2022 models. The Sasquatch Package includes greater clearance, but the dimensions will differ based on the number of doors.

For example, the two-door Sasquatch package comes in at 11.6 inches of total ground clearance, a 43.2-degree approach angle, a 29-degree breakover angle, and a 37.2-degree departure angle. The four-door model, on the other hand, offers 11.5 inches of ground clearance, a 26.3-degree breakover angle, and a 37-degree departure angle. Overall, the numbers don’t lie, and the two-door model is better for off-roading, at least in terms of dimensions. However, even if the four-door doesn’t quite measure up, it is still an incredible off-road vehicle, so don’t worry too much if you need the extra space.

There is yet another iconic feature of the Bronco which is different between the two-door and four-door models: rooflessness. Oh, the thrills of a roofless SUV. If the Wrangler has taught us one thing, it’s that roofless equals fun. The Bronco also extends this luxury and makes it quite easy with soft-top and hard-top options. However, while both the two-door and four-door models were available with the hard-top from the start, only the four-door was offered with the soft-top for the 2021 model year. This changed for the 2022 model year, but many used Broncos are going to be older models before this option was available.

The great news is that, regardless of how many doors you have, they’re all frameless, so they can be removed very easily to provide the open-air experience. With the roof and the doors off, you’ll be soaking up the sun, your hair will be running through the breeze, and you’ll never want to go back to ordinary driving again. Now, the Bronco paved the way for some exciting 2022 developments in terms of its class-leading water fording capability. So rather than go into the details of 2021 water fording, let’s see what happened in 2022 because that’s where any wetland off-roaders will want to go.

A silver 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks is shown from the rear at an angle.

The Aftermath

The Bronco’s big comeback happened. But the comeback is an ongoing process, and the aftermath of it has been even better than the initial surprise. The 2022 Bronco leaned even further into its off-roading identity, preparing itself for even more rugged terrain. How did it do this? With two new variants built for extreme conditions.

For the 2022 model year, the Bronco introduced the Bronco Raptor, an already-acclaimed off-roading edition made famous on the F-150, and the all-new Bronco Everglades. Both are exciting, but because of the previous familiarity with the Raptor and the relative newness of the Everglades (as well as its genuine awesomeness), the Everglades deserves some extra attention.

Now, the Everglades is an extension of the Sasquatch Package and includes all of its features as standard equipment. Make sense. Good. But as previously suggested, part of what makes the Everglades edition so exciting is its water-fording capability. This special edition goes beyond the basic fording numbers and adds a very special and unique piece of hardware to make intense and high-level water fording possible: a snorkel.

Yes, a literal snorkel! Think about it just like the human body: a snorkel allows us to take in air from above the water so that our heads can remain underwater without harm; it’s the same with the Bronco’s engineering––the snorkel takes in air so that the vehicle can continue to successfully operate, even when submerged. The Bronco is not yet a submarine, but we’ll see what happens in the 2024 model year…at this point, anything is possible.

The Way Forward

Today, we’re entering the third model year for the Bronco. It’s an exciting time, especially with the Heritage and Heritage Limited editions leaning into a retro aesthetic for these boxy SUVs. As exciting as the new times are for this great vehicle, it does not mean that the 2021 and 2022 models are now irrelevant. Quite the opposite! The 2021 and 2022 Broncos continue to be incredibly capable off-road machines, and just because they’re a year or two old now does not mean that they’re “old hat.” It simply means that you’ll be able to get these exciting vehicles at lower prices as newer and newer versions come out. Who wouldn’t want that?