“And the fight begins!”
That’s how TFL’s own Andre Smirnov responded upon Ford’s news Tuesday morning that it brought custom builds of the Bronco and Bronco Sport to Moab. Right now, Red Rock 4 Wheelers is putting on the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari, and Stellantis had its opportunity to show off new Wrangler-based concepts after COVID put the kibosh on proceedings last year. A perfect time, then, for Ford to jump in by saying in their official statement, “off-road enthusiasts can drive various trails and see the all-new 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport rugged SUVs in person, along with the unveiling of several new custom builds by Ford and aftermarket suppliers.”
So yeah, the game couldn’t really be any more obvious here, could it?
Ford Bronco (and Bronco Sport) builds)
So what all did Ford and the aftermarket builders bring along? Perhaps a bit disappointingly, we’re looking at all four–door Broncos here. That makes sense as that will be the lion’s share of actual Bronco sales, but it would have been fun to see some two-door versions here. In fairness, Ford has shown off the shorter Bronco with off-road accessories in the past, and we’ll no doubt see more of those in time. For now, though, the Easter Safari sees builds from RTR — yes, that RTR — as well as ARB 4×4 Accessories, 4 Wheel Parts, and Ford decked out their own Outer Banks (without the doors) as a mix of luxury features with Ford’s own OEM off-road accessories.
Ford Bronco by RTR
RTR is a common name in Mustang circles, so it’s a partner that translates well to the Bronco. This particular build takes a Badlands model and adds a 3D-printed RTR grille with “simulated accent lights”, custom rock sliders, and a custom rear bumper. There’s also a roof-mounted Project X light bar, custom graphics and a 12-volt Type S Blizzard Box refrigerator/freezer in the back. For tires, the RTR build uses 35-inch Nitto Ridge Grapplers.
Ford Bronco by ARB 4x4
ARB’s build also builds on the Badlands, and adds heavy-duty rock sliders and airbag-compliant front and rear bumpers to the mix. A custom skid plate, differential cover and, naturally, an ARB twin compressor round out the substantial changes. In terms of creature comforts, you get a Zero refrigerator, as well as more camping and recovery gear in the back.
Ford Bronco by 4 Wheel Parts
The 4 Wheel Parts Bronco forges a slightly different path to the others. It’s based on the Black Diamond model (as evidenced by the grille), to which they’ve fitted custom suspension and a modular front bumper and winch platform. This is the only one of all four Broncos to actually carry a winch, in this case a Warn VR Evo 8S. Add in light mounts, a custom roof rack and Smittybilt overhead tent, and you have a pretty sweet looking overlanding rig. The 4WP Bronco rides on 37-inch BFGoodrich mud-terrains, wrapped around 17-inch Method alloy wheels.
Ford Bronco Sport by 4 Wheel Parts
Ford doesn’t go into much detail on the Bronco Sport, but 4 Wheel Parts did it least consider it worth the effort to bring one along. This model (again based on a Badlands) adds in a rooftop tent, beefier BFGoodrich all-terrains and a hitch-mounted carrier for a spare tire.
Beyond what looks like growing aftermarket support, Ford also committed to at least 200 available accessories for the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport. While supply chain constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic in general have delayed product launches to a frustrating extent, the Blue Oval’s still obviously sticking to its guns in taking on Jeep. More competition is great news in the off-road space, so we look forward to seeing more from both Ford and Jeep, and all the aftermarket suppliers that will support its SUVs.