Reasons Not To Like The 2021 Ford Bronco

Anticipation has grown for the 2021 Ford Bronco since the announcement that it was returning. That was way back at the Detroit Auto Show in 2017. Many renderings from talented people have pushed out since then. Excitement has been building and is almost palpable now. However, it seems that Ford has made one misstep after another since that announcement, which leads me to believe that the initial excitement will wear off. Here are the reasons why I believe the Bronco will be a miss.

Size Matters

After the big news about Bronco’s return broke cover, Ford went on its way, laying down the plans and money required to make the big beast a reality. When they announced that the production of the new Bronco would be at the same facility that is putting out their new Ranger, I was stunned, even angered. Does that mean that the Ranger architecture will be the basis for the Bronco? Will the Bronco not be full-sized? Will it just be a smaller SUV like the Ford Everest? Will there be no opportunity to build a full-sized Bronco Raptorish concoction?

Since then, there have been testing mules spotted, and eventually, pics surfaced that claim to be the Bronco sitting in production trim. From those pictures, there is no doubt that the Bronco is indeed a good looking vehicle. But it is definitely not full-sized. One pic even showed the Bronco next to a Jeep Wrangler for a comparison. The two vehicles are similar in proportions. 

2021 two-door Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door

Is It A Bronco or Bronco II

Here’s what we do know. The 2021 Ford Bronco is not full-sized. It will have the capability to have removable doors and roof, or maybe a partially removable roof. The Bronco will also be available in two and four-door configurations.  

Bronco II might be a more appropriate name. Keep in mind that the early Broncos from the 1960s and 1970s were smaller vehicles than the last iteration of the Bronco that we all remember from the infamous OJ Simpson car chase in California back in the 1990s. However, the fact remains that the last production Bronco was full-sized. Full-Sized! Anything less is a throwback to the Bronco II of the 1980s, which laster only a few years. Maybe the new Bronco should be called the Bronco III.

1985 Ford Bronco II
1985 Bronco | The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Novelty Will Wear Off

The novelty of the Bronco name returning in a 4×4 capable vehicle will drive vehicle sales for the first year. It’s the second year that’s important, though. Those that have been anticipating the Bronco’s return will snap them up immediately and have an opportunity in that first year to really get a feel for the vehicle, its capabilities, and its ease of modification. After the first year, however, the word will be on the street that it’s just a 4×4 SUV. The dreams of the full-sized beast that it could have been will have drifted away, and I anticipate that sales will consequently drop. 

To Be Fair

I was disheartened to hear the Bronco is being built at the Ranger assembly plant. But to be fair, before writing the Bronco off, I figured I would wait for the Ranger to be released and sit in it. So, when the Ranger finally started selling, I went to the local Ford dealer to see if I could be comfortable in the Ranger cabin. I suspected this would be similar in size to what the Bronco was going to be like. In essence, I tried a new Ranger on for size. I figured this was a way of giving the Bronco a fair shot. But as I feared, there’s not much shoulder space. In my mind, that means that the Bronco will more than likely have similar shoulder encroachment. It’s speculation, of course. 

My hopes were for a full-sized return of the Ford Bronco. The expectancy of the rebirth of a legend and the reality that it will be a smaller vehicle could be a real disappointment to other Bronco fans as well. It might be sharp looking and have off-road prowess, but it will not be the vehicle I had put up on a pedestal all those years ago.

Please understand, I am referring to the Bronco, not the “Baby Bronco” that has also been approved for production. As far as the even smaller Baby Bronco is concerned, I would rather see the return of the Ford Ranchero than to see the Bronco name diluted amongst multiple classes of vehicles.

Those are my reseasons, in a nutshell, of why I do not like the new Bronco. The Bronco will not be full-sized. The novelty attraction to the Bronco will wear out once people see the Bronco is a shadow of what it could have been. Also, The legend that is the Bronco has been violated with a vehicle that will be seen by the second year as an “also-ran” SUV.