2021 Ford Bronco Road Test | Another look at Ford's hypebeast

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The Ford Bronco is no longer a ghost. It will take a minute for you to actually get your Bronco, as Ford has an order bank of 125,000, but the Bronco is...
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HOLLY, Mich. — The Ford Bronco is no longer a ghost. The mythical qualities that surrounded its first life — from 1960s cult classic to '90s gas-guzzler — are giving way to a modern vehicle you can buy right now. It will take a minute for you to actually get your Bronco, as Ford has an order bank of 125,000, but the Bronco is real again. Hell, we've even driven it twice now this summer.

Our first taste of the 2021 Bronco is still fresh as we travel to an off-road park an hour north of Detroit called Holly Oaks. The trails are interesting and challenging, a mix of hills, mud, water, rocks and trees. It's enough to keep an off-roader with some experience on their toes. In other words, a good place to further scrutinize the Bronco. The most obvious takeaway: The Bronco is one of a handful of vehicles that can tackle anything, just like its chief rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

On-road, the differences between the Bronco and Wrangler are more noticeable. The Bronco handles better thanks to its independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. That said, the Ford still requires steering correction, and it's work to drive the Bronco. We expected this dynamic. If you're looking for a relaxed driving experience, the answer is neither of these off-roaders. For comparison, the Land Rover Defender is easier to steer and more comfortable on-road, and the jouncy Toyota 4Runner handles worse than any of them. The Wrangler may be tougher off-road thanks to its primitive solid front axle, but we may never be able to test that extreme case definitively.

We make our way through the edges of Detroit's sprawl, where the suburbs meet farmland. Our 41.6-mile route is on public roads, though much of it is actually soft. Our Bronco First Edition trundles over dirt roads, many of them pockmarked with holes a foot deep. Trees line our path and the occasional deer takes note of our presence.

Back on solid ground, we open up the throttle and test the…
Greg Migliore
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