The all-new 2021 Ford Bronco will undoubtedly live in the shadow of the heralded original model. Many have praised the rugged SUV for retaining nostalgic features of the old Bronco. Meanwhile, others have criticized it for excluding other identifying traits of the former version.
Ford knows it has a lot to gain – or lose – with the all-new Bronco, and it scrutinized every aspect of the vehicle’s design. The 2021 Ford Bronco ultimately retains its predecessor’s spirit, and it gained innovations made famous by competitors.
However, several iconic characteristics never made it past the cutting-room floor. In an interview with Ford Authority, Ford recently confirmed that one of these left-behind features was the foldable windshield.
Why did the American automaker not incorporate this feature? And how will this exclusion of this hallmark trait affect the driving experience of this off-road-capable SUV?
Ford defends its decision
The SUV landscape is drastically different than the era when the original Ford Bronco thrived. It debuted for the 1966 model year as a competitor to the Jeep CJ-5, and it met its untimely end following the 1996 model year. The Bronco was known for its off-road prowess, and Ford hasn’t had a true off-road SUV continue the legacy since its discontinuation.
Many gearheads hoped the new 2021 Ford Bronco would retain as many off-roading characteristics as possible. Early rumors speculated this iteration of the SUV would feature a foldable windshield as the Jeep Wrangler does. However, Ford quickly put this theory to bed.
Ford Bronco designer Paul Wraith told Ford Authority, “We looked at that. In the original vehicle, you could do that. But it brings with it some problems. It does provide the user with a fairly rare event, since you start getting into things like flat windshields, which is a compromised construction around pillars.”
However, Ford did not forgo this unique experience altogether. Instead, it compromised by using thinner pillars. This innovation creates an open-air feel while providing a safer environment for the driver and passengers.
The 2021 Ford Bronco remains a dedicated off-roader
Some will mourn what could have been. However, the 2021 Ford Bronco still retains enough of an off-roading identity to satisfy most potential consumers.
Ford renewed its old rivalry with Jeep, as the Bronco competes with the Wrangler. So naturally, this all-new SUV incorporates similar features. It offers removable doors and top, allowing for an open-air experience. Plus, four-door models can store its removed doors in the back of the vehicle.
Similar to the Wrangler, the 2021 Ford Bronco also comes with a plethora of drain plugs, which makes it easier to wash out the interior of the SUV after a day of mudding.
Focus on what the 2021 Ford Bronco is instead of what it isn’t
Car enthusiasts rejoiced upon Ford’s announcement of the revival of the Ford Bronco. The absence of a foldable windshield shouldn’t diminish such excitement.
Future owners will likely receive the exceptional off-roading SUV they anticipated. Only time will tell if Ford will add abandoned features of the past to the Ford Bronco’s subsequent model years. For now, it is refreshing to see the Bronco nameplate running wild on the rails once again.