It depends what you want out of your Bronco.
It's been a long wait, but the 2021 Ford Bronco is finally arriving at dealerships with eager customers waiting to take delivery. Customers who pre-ordered their Bronco already chose their trim level and bodystyle, meaning we have some early estimates of the most popular configurations. Ford told us around 25-30% of customers opted for the two-door Bronco, while around 70-75% picked the more practical four-door. Just under 20% selected the seven-speed manual transmission.
Because there was such a pent-up demand following several production delays, Ford believes the two-door and manual take rates will decrease over time as the customers who crave these options have their pre-orders filled. Most Broncos you see on the road will be a four-door model with a 10-speed automatic transmission. But is that the best way to order a Bronco? We drove several different Bronco models to find out.
This is the first Ford Bronco ever to feature four doors, so it may take some getting used to. Some purists may object to Ford selling a more practical Bronco that deviates from the original design, but ask Jeep how well its four-door Unlimited model aided in sales; Ford made the right choice here by offering two models. We still prefer the iconic styling and tight proportions on the two-door model, but the four-door looks far from wonky.
As standard, the two-door Bronco will only ship with a hardtop roof, while the four-door model can have a soft top. Two-door buyers who want a canvas roof must look to the aftermarket. No matter which Bodystyle you choose, the doors and roof panels remain removable.
Both Bronco variants are highly capable off-road but strictly speaking, the two-door model is slightly superior. It's shorter overall with a shorter wheelbase, which pays dividends for off-road clearance. It offers a tenth of an inch more ground clearance, around the same in departure angle, and more than an inch (2.7 inches with the Sasquatch package) in breakover angle.
These minor measurement details make a major difference off-road, where the smaller two-door model felt more manageable and less cumbersome in tighter trails. If you are a diehard off-roader, we highly recommend the two-door model.
The two-door may shine on the trails but in the real world with families and children, the four-door makes its superiority apparent. Only four passengers can ride in the two-door Bronco and the rear seat riders aren't exactly in the lap of luxury. The two-door's back seat is tight with only 35.7 inches of legroom, 39.8 inches of headroom, 43.3 inches of hip room, and 51.8 inches of shoulder room. These dimensions grow to 36.3, 40.1, 54.8, and 56.5 inches, respectively in the four-door. Buyers who plan to use the rear seats frequently should get the four-door.
As with the back seats, the four-door Bronco makes a compelling case for itself in the cargo area. The two-door's measly trunk only houses 22.4 cubic feet of space with 52.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. Folding those rear seats is slightly challenging, as it requires a two-step process of pulling the seat bottoms forward before releasing the seatbacks. In the four-door Bronco, you get a much more usable 35.6 cubic feet, or 77.6 cubic feet, with the second row folded.
To give an accurate idea of this difference, Ford says the two-door Bronco can carry two roof/door elements in its trunk. For example, both front roof panels or the two doors. The four-door can carry four pieces total, meaning drivers can carry their front doors and roof panels on the go.
Ford lets buyers pair the manual to the two-door and four-door models, but selecting this transmission restricts your choice to the smaller 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. The larger 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 comes with a 10-speed automatic only. After driving both transmissions, we came away smitten with the manual. It offers crisp shifts with positive engagement and a clutch that doesn't feel tiresome or vague. This is a major contrast to the manual transmission in the Jeep Wrangler, which is sloppy and uninspiring. The manual's 67.8:1 ratio crawler gear is a neat inclusion that should please hardcore off-roaders too.
Most buyers will enjoy the 10-speed automatic, but we believe the manual customers will have a slightly bigger grin on their faces. The 10-speed is mostly smooth, but it exhibits some clunky shifts, and it can often struggle to pick the right gear when traveling up steep inclines. Jeep's eight-speed automatic feels more refined.
The price for stepping up from a two-door to a four-door Bronco varies depending on the trim level. The more practical four-door is a $4,700 upgrade on the base Bronco, while every other trim level only costs $2,495 more. Oddly, the limited-run First Edition four-door carries a significant $4,185 premium over the two-door version. We'd say roughly $2,500 for the four-door model's added practicality is a small price to pay, and it's worth it for most buyers. Personally, we'd take that savings and put it towards getting a nicer trim level, more features, the Sasquatch package, or aftermarket modifications. If you can sacrifice practicality, the two-door looks cooler and fits on the trails better.