Crossover & Midsize

The Worst Ford Bronco for Off-Roading Is Deadly

The new Ford Bronco is here, and it’s already been flexing its off-roading muscle in Moab, Utah, across desert sands, and more. However, if you’re in the market for a Ford Bronco for off-roading, learn which model to avoid. 

The worst Ford Bronco for off-roading 

If you want the 2021 Ford Bronco, you’ll be pretty set for off-roading adventures depending on which model and trim you choose. However, if you don’t want to sit on the 18-month waiting list and look for a classic model instead, be sure to avoid the Ford Bronco II. 

Zero Labs Classic Ford Bronco EV 1.0
Zero Labs Classic Ford Bronco EV 1.0 | Zero Labs

RELATED: Why Was the Ford Bronco Discontinued?

According to MotorJunkie’s list of the most useless off-roading SUVs to avoid, the Ford Bronco II ranks as option #3. The Ford Explorer is in the first place, and the Volvo V80 Cross Country landed in the 30th position. 

MotorJunkie doesn’t say too much about why the Ford Bronco II is bad for off-roading. They do acknowledge that the first Ford Bronco is a beast, but the Ford Bronco II was redesigned to enhance on pavement performance. 

1966 Gateway Ford Bronco Coyote
1966 Gateway Ford Bronco Coyote | Gateway Broncos

As a vehicle with a V6 engine, it had lackluster power for off-roading. Its rugged look wasn’t designed for off-roading either, and most of the models were sold with rear-wheel drive. It served as a cheap compact SUV option instead of a Go Over Any Terrain (G.O.A.T) SUV like the first Ford Bronco. 

Problems with the Ford Bronco II 

The Ford Bronco II is one of the most deadly SUVs in history. It was built on the frame of a Ford Ranger and had a high center of gravity that made it prone to flipping, even at lower speeds. Engineers suggested delaying the release of the Ford Bronco II to widen the base and lower the center of gravity, but that idea was rejected. 

ConsumerReports listed the Ford Bronco II as an option to avoid because of its deadly nature. Also, the most popular rear-wheel drive option proved to be the most dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Bronco II had 3.78 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles between 1986 and 1990. 

This is compared to 1.74 for the Ford Bronco II with 4×4 and 1.11 for the Suzuki Samurai, another SUV that’s notorious for rolling over. IIHS also said that 88% of fatalities in the Ford Bronco were due to rollover deaths. 

The best Ford Bronco for off-roading 

The best Ford Bronco for off-roading is probably one of the four-door or two-door models. The Ford Bronco Sport still has its own off-roading chops to brag about, though, as it takes on the Jeep Renegade. 

A yellow 2021 Ford Bronco Sport with a roof rack and bump guard travel a dirt road.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Trail Rig. For adventurers looking to elevate their off-road trekking in a small, rugged 4×4. | Ford Motor Company

Off-roading fans will tell you to go for the two-door Ford Bronco for off-roading adventures, but if you have kids, then the four-door option is better suited for your lifestyle. Also, choose the 7-speed manual transmission. The 7th gear is a low rock crawling gear. 

The highest off-roading trim is the Badlands. The Ford Bronco Badlands comes with an exclusive suspension, the rock crawl mode, a heavy-duty bumper in the front, rear steel bumper, and more. 

Four Door Ford Bronco sideview
2021 Ford Bronco 4-door | Ford Media

The optional Sasquatch package comes with even more bells and whistles, including extra ground clearance, 35” tires, locking front and rear axles, etc. However, it’s only available with the 10-speed automatic transmission.