New Ford Bronco debut: Five cool things to look for

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

The new Ford Bronco is all about the numbers.

Three different models to satisfy different customers. Some 200 aftermarket accessories. Biggest-in-class 35-inch tires. Deepest-in-class 33.5-inch water fording. Seven different drive modes. Eleven colors. Heck, the Bronco was even being introduced on three different TV channels with three different videos.

So we came up with our own number. Here are five things to watch for on the 2021 Bronco:

1. Take it all off

The heck with the convertible Mustang, the Bronco can take the roof and door panels off. The open-air look was popularized by the Jeep Wrangler, and Bronco claims to improve on the experience. Roof panels (three on the two-door Bronco, four on the four-door) can be unlatched from the inside.

The doors on the 2021 Ford Bronco are easily removed for off-roading.

The doors can be removed from their hinges, then stored in bags since they have no window frames. Even the rear quarter windows can be quickly removed. While Wrangler owners have to leave their detached doors behind, four-door Bronco owners can bring them along in back. That said, Bronco owners can’t go totally open like Wranglers – the Bronco windshield doesn't fold down like the Jeep.

2. Tech galore

The Bronco brand may hark back to the 1960s and exalt adventures far from civilization. But this is one thoroughly modern 21st-century electronic toy.

The Ford 2021 Bronco Sport is pictured at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly, Mich on July 10, 2020.

An eight-inch infotainment screen is standard (12-inch optional) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A 360-degree camera is available to help steady your steed on the trail, as is a front camera that acts as a spotter so you can see over that hill in front of you. Trail Assist, a low-speed version of adaptive cruise-control, allows pedal-free driving so you can concentrate on steering.

It's not exactly-high tech, but there's a built-in bottle opener on the right rear pillar.

3. Wet 'n’ wild

If you take all the doors off and get back to Mother Nature, the Bronco is going to get dirty inside. So the Bronco can be hosed-down inside with washable rubberized floors, integrated floor drains and no-mildew vinyl seats. The seamless silicone rubber switches are wipeable, and rubber touch-points protect against grime. Those features will also come in handy when fording over 33 inches of water.

The Ford 2021 Bronco Sport is pictured at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly, Mich on July 10, 2020.

4. GOAT dial

Seven GOAT driving modes (a reference to its1960s tagline: Go Over Any Terrain) are available for every situation:  Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Baja, Mud and Rock Crawl.

Just twist the GOAT dial and the electronic transfer will figure out what 4x4 configuration you should be in.

The Ford 2021 Bronco 4-door is pictured at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly, Mich on July 10, 2020.

5. There’s a Sport model, too

The Bronco isn’t going to be everyone's cup of tea, given its inherent compromises in road noise and ride quality. So the Bronco brand offers a unibody model based on the Ford Escape SUV's easy-riding architecture.

The Ford 2021 Bronco Sport is pictured at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly, Mich on July 10, 2020.

But the Sport inherited Bronco’s attitude. All-wheel drive is standard including available twin-clutch packs in the rear that can send all the torque to one wheel in extremely slippery/icy conditions.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne.