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Is the New Ford Bronco Off-road Capable?

Everyone is abuzz about the new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport but does it have what it takes to dominate the trail?

In this article, we’ll help you find out if the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a real 4x4er.

Release Date for the 2021 Ford Bronco Series

The 2021 Ford Bronco Series has been unveiled to the public on July 14, 2020 where jeepers and truckers alike can’t contain their excitement that mainly stems from the innovative features the new line brings and reconciling them with the tried, tested, and classic model.

However, while 4×4 enthusiasts are given the chance to make advanced customizations and orders, for their chosen style and model, they won’t get their hands on them until the Summer of 2021 due to a delay in stock delivery, caused by COVID-19.

2021 Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler

There’s an on-going competition between the 2021 Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s 392 V8 version. This is because many are surprised that Ford has finally decided to level the play field with Jeep in the off-roading arena, from the body trims to crawl ratio capability. Check out some specs below to see why.

2021 ford bronco vs jeep wrangler

Different Types of 2021 Ford Broncos

types of 2021 ford bronco

We know you can no longer wait to test what this off-road bae has to offer since its 1996 counterpart. But it’s important you don’t lose yourself in the new models found in the 2021 Ford Bronco Lineup and to choose wisely.

  • Base Model – refers to the original or default model with standard/entry level 4×4 features.
  • First-edition Model – has the suspension performance of a Badlands model but boasts a vintage hood and body design.
  • Big Bend Model – with privacy glass on 2nd row windows and 17-inch silver wheels on 32-inch tires.
  • Outerbanks Model – with 18-inch wheels on 32-inch tires and lane-keeping system that tells alerts you when your going off the track.
  • Wildtrak Model – with 17-inch wheels on 35-inch tires and engine block heater to keep it running smoothly regardless of cold weather.
  • Black Diamond – 17-inch black wheels on 32-inch tires and has a reverse-sensing system to guide you when moving backwards.
  • Badlands Model – 17-inch alloy wheels on 33-inch tires and has a front stabilizer bar disconnect (similar to first-edition model)

What Are the Main Features of the Ford Bronco?

Let’s take a look at what makes the 2021 Ford Bronco a new member of the 4×4 lineup.

2021 Ford Bronco GOAT Mode

2021 ford bronco goat mode

When the breath of the wild’s calling your inner beast, give in with the 2021 Ford Bronco’s Going On Any Terrain (GOAT) Mode. This feature combines the benefits of the basic 4WD operations with the bonus of a 4WA, which lets the control system adjust the default 2WD option into a full-time 4WD setup, when sudden terrain shift proves to be challenging.

2021 ford bronco gear shifter

It can also go over some surfaces with the following selections. However, bear in mind that terrain types vary based on the latest Ford Bronco series that you buy:

  • Eco Mode – saves on gas and can be used for the regular or well-rounded type of driving.
  • Slippery Mode – meant for snowy or icy surfaces.
  • Mud and Ruts Mode – made for the sticky slightly rough spots where you could get stuck.

To switch to various features and select your preferred surface or environment, you need to manually adjust the GOAT mode by turning the dial at the center and pressing the four buttons on the sides, to choose how your locking differentials will interact.

Note that GOAT mode is the acronym or name given to the system in which the 2021 Ford Bronco operates. Under it are eight types of surface options on which the vehicle itself can go over; including the three mentioned modes above.

2021 Ford Bronco Sand Dunes Test

ford bronco 2021 test drive

There’s no such thing as being buried in the sands of time with the 2021 Ford Bronco because it’s really capable on the off-road aspect. How so? When you activate its sand mode, the rear differentials act with a mind of their own, which automatically take over the outer rear wheels.

This is where left-foot braking also comes into play. When you press your (left side) brake pedal simultaneously with your (right side) throttle pedal, more load transfer is moved to the front wheels, which makes turning quicker, especially during dune racing.

2021 Ford Bronco Ground Clearance

ford bronco 2021 ground clearance

Ground clearance refers to the space between your vehicle’s lowest point and the terrain surface itself. Generally speaking, vehicles that are off-road capable have at least a ground clearance of 8.3-8.5 inches. The good news is, 2021 Ford Bronco Series hits a home run on these statistics.

Overall, the minimum ground clearance for the different models under 2-door style is 8.4 inches and maximum is 11.6 inches. On the other hand, those under the 4-door style have 8.3 inches and 11.5 inches, respectively. Note that the max 11.5-6 ground clearances are only possible, if you’ll be getting the max tire size of 35 inches on all 2021 Ford Bronco models.

2021 Ford Bronco Crawl Ratio

2021 ford bronco rock crawling

What Is Crawl Ratio?

Crawl ratio is the highest gear ratio or the greatest chance for a vehicle to climb or ascend. In the case of the 2021 Ford Bronco, it comes with a seven-speed crawl ratio that’s about 94.75:1. The numbers on the left represent the amount of speed reduction via the engine movement while that on the right indicates the number of wheel turns.

Simply put, 94.75 increases the 2021 Ford Bronco’s wheels’ likelihood of making a single turn that’s effective for rock crawling because lower speed means more stability.

Trail Turn Assist

2021 ford bronco trail turn assist

Another thing to love about the new 2021 Ford Bronco is its brilliant feature on the trail turn assist which it probably got the idea from Toyota Landcruiser. This feature works in a similar way in which the vehicle’s turning capability is improved to turn seamlessly around tight spots.

Specifically, the rear wheels are locked in place and become a fixed point from where the vehicle twists, diminishing angular movement by 40%, as opposed to the usual when all wheels are spinning.

Electronic Locking Differential

2021 ford bronco locking differential

The 2021 Ford Bronco also has an electronic locking differential for its front and rear axles. It’s a valuable feature for 4x4ing because without it, either one or all wheels could move at different speeds which may cause reduced tire traction and lead to a rollover.

How Much Will a 2021 Ford Bronco Cost?


In terms of pricing, the 2021 Ford Bronco Series ain’t too shabby either. Honestly, the price ranges are fairly competitive for a brand new vehicle but reasonable enough depending on your particular preference, concerning the style and 4×4 modification. Prices below vary based on Alex on Autos and Ford’s official site:

2021 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Model Base Big Bend Outer Banks Badlands Black Diamond First Edition Wildtrak
Price $26,660 $28,160 $32,160 $32,660 $36,050 $38,160 $46,980

How to Choose a 4WD

Selecting a new 4×4 can be tricky for you whether you’re a beginner or a pro, especially when you’re offered with a variety of options. However, if you’re really into off-roading, there are some significant things to consider in eliminating unnecessary confusion.

Track Width

track width

Track width refers to the space measured between two wheels that stretches up to their middle tire treads. As a rule of thumb, the wider the track width, the more stable the vehicle is.

This is because load is evenly distributed on the sides as opposed to a narrow track width where there’s too much load concentration. For example, a 4×4 that has a track width of 79.2 inches possesses better grip than a 4×4 in 52.5 inches.

Wheelbase Length

wheel base length

Wheelbase means the measured space between the rear and front wheels that extends to the wheels’ fulcrum or midpoint. Basically, when the 4×4 that you prefer to buy has a wheelbase of about 147.3 inches but you happen to get across one that’s 180.9 inches, then the latter gives more convenience in ride.

Generally, when your 4x4s have a longer wheelbase than usual, you have less chances of encountering bumpy rides and rollovers, since vehicle weight and load are on equal terms.

Wading Depth

wading depth

If you’re usually into water fording or river crossing, you have to take note of your chosen 4×4’s wading depth. This indicates the water level that takes before the water itself enters into your vehicle’s vital parts including the engine and air intakes. It’s measured in millimeters.

Wading depth varies from 4×4 brand, model, and style. Some have a wading depth that’s 550mm, others at 700mm, or in special instances at 900mm. More on this when you read our Top 5 Vehicle Snorkels.


In terms of off-road capability, the 2021 Ford Bronco earns a resounding yes. However, due to its hybrid nature of being an AWD and 4WD at the same time, its features are meant for light to moderate 4x4ing levels only, which still isn’t so bad. Tell us if you’re interested in purchasing it by commenting below.

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