First Drive: The Ford Bronco Was Worth the Wait

The classic revival of a storied nameplate packs fun and capability into a handsome SUV as it takes aim at the Jeep Wrangler

2021 Ford Bronco driving
2021 Ford Bronco
Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in January, 2022, we finished testing the Ford Bronco.

See the complete Ford Bronco road test.

After a wait that feels longer than the global pandemic has been around, we finally took delivery of our own Ford Bronco after ordering it way back in July 2020. Few vehicles have been more highly anticipated in recent years than the all-new resurrected Bronco, and it was only a few months ago that the rugged midsized SUV started trickling into dealers. 

While the Bronco nameplate has been around since the 1960s and used on a variety of vehicle types, this new SUV—with its removable doors and roof panels, and off-road-ready capability—is Ford’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler. This body-on-frame SUV isn’t to be confused with the Bronco Sport, a smaller SUV based on the Ford Escape.

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We bought a 2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door Advanced 4x4 hardtop with the optional 310-hp turbocharged V6 (a 270-hp turbo four-cylinder comes standard) for the CR auto test program, and put it through its paces at our test track in central Connecticut.

We compiled our initial findings into this first-drive review. If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment is available to you below. Read our final test results on how the Bronco performed in the more than 50 tests we conducted at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

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@consumerreports At the #nyautoshow , #ford unveiled its new Bronco Raptor — a high-performance off-road BEAST. #offroad #fordraptor #fordbronco #cartok #carsoftiktok ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports

What we bought: 2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door Advanced 4x4
Powertrain: 310-hp, 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine; 10-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MSRP: $43,040
Options: Equipment Group 314A (Outer Banks series, 12-inch LCD touch screen, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, B&O/CNCTG built-in Nav, wireless charging pad), $3,590; Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat, $595; 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, 255/70R18 A/T tires, 4.27 rear axle, $1,895; hardtop molded-in-color, $695; sound deadening headliner, front axle open differential (no charge); Leather trim/vinyl gray/navy seats, $2,195
Total options: $8,970
Destination fee: $1,495
Total cost: $53,505

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