The configurator for the 2021 Ford Bronco is now live, so fans of the SUV can now create and price their own ideal build. Count us among those fans, which naturally meant that productivity at Autoblog HQ slowed to a crawl as several editors worked up their ideal builds — a process that was more drawn out than it should have been due to the configurator repeatedly freezing up.
We now have our five preferred builds, which you can see below. Coincidentally, four of the five are the two-door body style. It’s clear that we’re also partial to manual transmissions. How about you? What does your dream Bronco look like?
Associate Editor Byron Hurd: I’ll spare you my “give me a Sticksquatch or give me death” tirade for now, but suffice it to say that I’m not too keen on dumping big money on a Bronco that isn’t in the exact spec I want, so this build is my form of impotent protest.
Yes, it’s barebones by design. I started with the Big Bend, which is quite reasonable, and added only a couple of options. One — the locking rear differential — appears to be free, at least in this version of Ford’s configuration tool. The shorter-ratio axles are still firewalled behind packages and higher trims, but this is a start. The sound-deadening headliner is $495. And, well, that’s it; adding anything else forces you into the automatic, and I just don’t want one. This build is measurably superior to my old two-door Wrangler in every way, and at $35,870, it’s even reasonably “affordable” for a toy. That’ll do.
West Coast Editor James Riswick: If I’m getting a Bronco, I’m getting the manual. It’s as simple as that, but it also eliminates a lot of possibilities for my build. I originally selected the Outer Banks because I’m fancy like that, but nope, the manual is not available. I sure like me some power, but nope, you can’t row your own with the 2.7-liter engine. Fair enough, the 2.3-liter sounds like it should be plenty, and I don’t need frippery, so how about I just stick with the Big Bend? It has enough equipment upgrades, and I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge I’ll never go off-roading to the extent that would call for the Black Diamond or Badlands. Sadly, I then discovered you can’t even pair the “Mid Package” and its perfectly reasonable equipment upgrades with the manual. So I guess I won’t be getting that either. I’m tempted to just say “to hell with it” and just get a two-door Big Bend with the manual, but then I’m a family man now, and plugging that damn car seat into a two-door vehicle isn’t ideal.
So, final build is: Big Bend, four doors, 2.3 liter, manual, Cactus Gray, 17-inch carbonized wheels, A/T tires, sound-deadening hard top, LED headlamps, black/gray/bronzey cloth interior, and a storage bag for the roof bits. Final price: $39,360. I suppose my imaginary bank account should thank Ford for limiting possibilities with the manual.
Managing Editor Greg Rasa: By the time you add a few options to a Bronco Base or Big Bend, you’re close to the cost of a Black Diamond, so that’s what I built. Plus, that’s the first trim where Cyber Orange ($595) is offered. (Though Area 51 and Cactus Gray are also interesting, at no extra cost.)
I went with the two-door because it better evokes the original Bronco, because I rarely have backseat passengers, and because I’m cheap. The four-door costs another $2,495.
This build sticks with stock black steelies, because one wheel option incurs the Sasquatch Package, thereby taking away the manual transmission (for now), and the other costs $995. Steelies work, this is a truck. The fact that a sound-deadening headliner ($495) is offered indicates it’s probably needed. Roof rails ($365) are a must. Heavy-duty bumper and bash plates are included, as are “marine grade vinyl seats,” which sound tough.
A rear locking diff is standard. Either engine is a great choice, but I’ll stick with the base 2.3 EcoBoost because above all, I want the seven-speed manual with crawler gear. And you can’t have it with the 2.7 V6. Finally, I want towing prep ($595).
All in: $39,595, including $1,495 destination charge.
News Editor Joel Stocksdale: For nearly the same reasons as Greg, I ended up with the Black Diamond trim. It offers more colors, which allowed me to pick the mellow greenish Cactus Gray hue that I really dig. It also offers a locking rear differential without needing to equip the Sasquatch Package. That means I get to keep the manual transmission and not pay a huge amount of money, even though I’m missing out on a front locker and 35-inch tires. But the standard 32-inch all-terrain tires should be more pleasant on the pavement anyway, where the Bronco will still be spending plenty of its time. They still look great, too, on the standard black steel wheels.
As for the options, I mostly picked little things that added up. I went with the hardtop insulation ($495), since I’d like the cabin to be as quiet as I can get it. I added the brush guard ($300) since it looks nice and will provide a great spot to mount the auxiliary lights that I’ll definitely add in the future. The rock rails ($595) were a natural choice since I fully intend to take it off road and a bit of protection from obstacles would be great. Along those same lines, I also added Ford’s basic off-road recovery kit ($149), just in case I do take the Bronco somewhere too far. All in, my Bronco came to $39,084.
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer: I can’t say I’m surprised by the selections so far. Everybody is under $40,000 and shifting their own gears. I will not be following the same path. Bathe in the glory of my two-door Antimatter Blue Bronco Wildtrak (somebody should really tell Ford how to spell “track”). It is $51,480, and that is perfectly fine. After having been off-roading a few times, I’ve come to learn that I prefer high speed off-road environments much more than I do rock crawling. Knowing this, I’m sure the Bronco that Ford describes as the “high-speed off-roading” version with a Baja mode and the 2.7-liter V6 is the right one for me. It’ll likely be the more fun Bronco to drive on road, too. Wranglers can eat my boosted V6 dust. Until Jeep releases the 392, then I’ll be screwed.
I’ll never say no to a manual in a sports car, but I’m no stickler for it in a vehicle like the Bronco or Wrangler. The Wildtrack trim also nets me the more advanced four-wheel-drive system, Sasquatch package and additional convenience features. Maybe you can blame the Gen-Z in me, but I also had to splurge for the 12-inch touchscreen that required selection of the $1,295 High package. I’ll take the best infotainment Ford has to offer, please and thank you. Other options I tacked on include the keyless entry keypad ($110), sound deadening headliner ($495), floor liners ($160), door bag ($350) and towing package ($595).