The auto industry’s marketing mavens have consistently capitalized on the public’s unwavering appetite for retro-themed products, with Ford’s much-anticipated Bronco debut high on that list for 2021.

Absent from Ford’s truck lineup for decades, the Bronco returns late this summer with a mid-sized offering to rival Jeep’s Wrangler and Land Rover’s new Defender. Ford’s marketing team recently brought two new Broncos to Darling’s Ford in Bangor for a consumer event.

On a brilliant spring day, with other supporting new Fords like the Mustang Mach-E, Ranger Tremor, as well as the Bronco Sport also on display, the Bronco’s retro-stance and 35” off-road tires are sure to communicate the truck’s mission—steal customers from Jeep.

Available as a two-door or four-door (like the Wrangler), the Bronco comes with six trim levels and is very close dimensionally to its top-selling rival, with a wider track the main variant. The Bronco, starting at $29,995, will be available in two-tone paint in either soft-top or hard-top versions. Each features frame-less doors that are removable and storable in bags in the cargo hold, as well as removable fender flares.

Like the original Bronco from the 1960s, off-road prowess will be paramount, with Dana front and rear axles, electronic locking differentials, long travel shocks, sway bar disconnect at the front, elevated ground clearance, plus multiple four-wheel drive systems with numerous G.O.A.T. modes—goes over any terrain.

Standard power is supplied by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder making 270-hp running through a 7-speed manual transmission, or, a 10-speed automatic. The optional 2.7-liter turbo Ecoboost V-6 makes 310-hp and uses only the automatic transmission. Ford projects a hybrid-version Bronco for later in 2022.

As noted on several other recent lifestyle vehicle intros, the Bronco is blessed with several subtle “Easter Egg” insignias sprinkled around the body and interior. The Bronco includes substantial tow hooks and hood mounted latch points for various accessories. (The parts-and-pieces catalog for the Bronco is expansive, including 40-specific items for pets.) There’s also built-in mounts for GoPro cameras and cell phones.

Water repellant surfaces abound inside, while the textile seats are comfy. Buttons strategically atop the flat dash let you select 4WD modes, while a bank of toggle switches on the headliner accept optional accessories, just like in a Super Duty. Beefy grab handles on the console and dash perimeter will aid occupant comfort as you exploit the truck’s off-road capabilities.

Darling’s General Manager Otis Soohey said that the franchise has 21 committed orders for the new Bronco, with deliveries expected soon. He stated that production delays, some computer chip related, will cause distribution issues, but Ford will hold prices into 2022. Badlands trim, $43,590 is popular.

With dealership inventory levels the lowest they have been for decades, and retail sales very strong, Soohey claimed that the dealership has 35 committed orders for the new Ford Lighting electric-pickup, as well as growing reserve orders for the new Mustang Mach-E battery electric crossover.

Used vehicle prices have crossed unimaginable thresholds and dealers are confronting shrinking levels of inventory on many products. The upside, for dealers, is higher margins and steady revenue streams as they must prepare for the next generation of products as well as a strained workforce. Consumers on the other hand, are going to spend more but get new products enhanced by countless computer systems and electronic programs to aid driving safety and operating convenience.

With the average age of the American driving fleet surpassing 12 years, buyers stepping up to new products will be amazed at what is possible. Products like the Bronco bring fun and excitement to travel as well as exploration opportunities, and still can handle the daily chores of life. No longer a niche vehicle, (Jeep sells over a half-million Wranglers a year world-wide) these serious off-roaders are lucrative, essential offerings from the automakers.

Expect to see a growing representation of rugged looking Broncos in your neighborhood very soon.


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