2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 2-Door Review

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Jul 23, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford’s all-new 2021 Bronco is a rugged midsize SUV available in both 4-door and 2-door configurations. Six unique trims cater to the specific driving interests of different customers: Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, and Wildtrak. The 2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak is the most expensive version and has the highest level of standard content.

The Bronco was Ford’s first sport-utility vehicle and its restoration to the Ford SUV lineup after a quarter-century hiatus represents a significant challenge to the Jeep brand. With a design inspired by the first-generation 1966-77 Bronco, the 2021 iteration is slightly larger than its chief competitor, the Jeep Wrangler, but also considerably smaller, more nimble, and more capable than the last F-150-based 2-door full-size SUV to use the Bronco name until 1996.

2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 2-Door Red Front Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

The heroically named and ably-equipped Wildtrak is in many ways the spiritual successor to the original 1966-77 Bronco 2-door, albeit one that’s been treated to a full aftermarket equipment makeover. In addition to residing at the top of the Bronco lineup now that the more expensive all-boxes-checked First Edition trim is sold out, the Wildtrak is the Bronco you want for high-speed desert running, much as the Raptor is the F-150 pickup for kicking up sand with enthusiasm. It’s also one of the meanest-looking versions in the Bronco stable, perched high atop extra-wide, knobby-tread 35-inch off-road tires that give it impressive ground clearance, approach, breakover, and departure angles.

One thing it’s not targeted for, although it’ll do pretty well anyway, is rock climbing, for which buyers should look to the Badlands trim which has a front stabilizer-bar disconnect feature and a dedicated Rock Crawl mode in its Terrain Management System.

With a $48,475 base price including the $1,495 destination charge, the 2-door version of the 2021 Bronco Wildtrak is $4,885 more expensive than the Badlands series. For that sum, the Wildtrak upgrades to a standard 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, a 2-speed transfer case with automatic on-demand 4-wheel drive high-range engagement and a 67.8:1 low-range crawl ratio, and a long-travel suspension with the widest-available 315/70R17 Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires. With its standard Sasquatch suspension, the Wildtrack offers the maximum available 33.5 inches of water fording ability. 

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2021 Ford Bronco 4-door. This review focuses on the 2-door Wildtrak model, and how its features potentially impact the Bronco’s overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Midsize SUV Segment - Find the best Ford deals!

The new Ford Bronco is a midsize SUV, according to J.D. Power. Data collected from verified owners for the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study shows that 58% of midsize SUV owners are male (vs. 60% for the entire automotive industry), and the median age of a midsize SUV owner is 58 years (vs. 56).

Owners say their favorite things about midsize SUVs are (in descending order) the:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Interior design
  • Getting in and out

Owners indicate their least favorite things about midsize SUVs are (in descending order) the: 

  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Powertrain
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ford Bronco - Find the best Ford deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2-door Bronco Wildtrak equipped with the following options:

  • High Package (12-inch infotainment screen, 360-degree camera, forward sensing, side-view mirrors with LED approach lamp spotlights)
  • Lux Package (adaptive cruise control, 10-speaker B&O premium audio, voice-activated embedded navigation, heated steering wheel, wireless charger, evasive steering assist, HomeLink garage-door opener, two additional front USB charge ports)
  • Cargo area protector
  • Tube steps
  • Towing package
  • Keyless entry keypad
  • Roof rails with crossbars

The price of the test vehicle came to $53,650, including the $1,495 destination charge.

Standard 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6

2021 Ford Bronco 2-Door Wildtrak Red Front Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

Now that the Bronco First Edition trim is sold out, the Wildtrak is the only version of Ford’s new midsize SUV that comes standard with the twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is available on lower trims, but it will cost you. It’s a $1,895 option with all lower Bronco trims and it requires the 10-speed automatic (a $1,595 option). The V6 is not available with the Bronco’s standard 7-speed manual gearbox, which can only be paired with the Bronco’s base 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder.

With a bit of the sound and feel of the F-150 Raptor’s 3.5-liter, the Bronco’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is rated at 330 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque while burning premium unleaded fuel. That drops a smidge to 315 horsepower and 410 pound-feet when running regular unleaded, which won’t hurt the engine one bit. 

The 2.7-liter V6, shared with the heavier F-150 pickup, can scoot the 4,749-pound 2-door Wildtrack to 60 mph from a standstill in just under six seconds even with its 35-inch tall tires, thanks in part to the short Sasquatch-spec 4.7:1 final-drive ratio. More importantly, the EcoBoost V6 has the midrange torque to enable good throttle response regardless of road speed or gear selected. Unlike the peakier 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo, shared with the Mustang and the Ranger pickup, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is less rpm-sensitive. Maximum trailer towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.

The Wildtrak, however, does pay a price for its lively performance and off-road chops. In 2-door form, EPA estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city, 18 mpg highway, and (surprise) 18 mpg in combined driving. Efficiency is limited by the Wildtrak’s oversized tires, extra-short gearing, and less-than-optimal aerodynamics. But then again, it’s likely any buyer drawn to the iconic 4-wheeler’s off-road charms will be more than happy to top off the 2-door Bronco’s 16.9-gallon fuel tank every 275 miles or so in the bargain. 

Those who aren’t willing to spend that kind of coin on gas might want to check out the Escape-based 4-door Ford Bronco Sport, a perfectly acceptable everyday compact crossover SUV with Bronco-ish styling and up to an EPA-rated 26 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Sasquatch Package

With the limited-run First Edition sold out, the Wildtrak is the sole Bronco trim that brings the SUV’s most aggressive wheel-and-tire, suspension, and drive-axle package (known as the Sasquatch Package) as standard fare. Adding the Sasquatch equipment to lesser trims ranges from $2,495 on the Bronco Badlands to $4,995 on the Base and Big Bend 2-door Broncos.

The Sasquatch treatment includes:

  • 35-inch tall, 315/70R17 Goodyear Territory mud-terrain light-truck-rated tires mounted to 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels
  • Electronic locking front and rear differentials
  • A shorter-geared 4.73:1 final-drive ratio
  • A high-clearance suspension with 11.6 inches of ground clearance (3.2 inches more than the stock 2-door 8.4-inches and more than the Jeep Wrangler’s maximum 10.8 inches)
  • Position-sensitive Bilstein high-pressure gas dampers that progressively increase damping with wheel travel so small bumps don’t upset the ride or feel jouncy but bigger events maintain vertical wheel control

The added ground clearance of the Sasquatch Package also improves the 2-door Wildtrak’s approach angle from the base model’s 35.5 degrees to 43.2 degrees, breakover angle from 21.1 to 29.0 degrees, and departure angle from 29.8 to 37.2 degrees. And any tender underbits such as the fuel tank, transmission, transfer case, and engine are ably protected by a phalanx of robust skidplates.

With its standard Sasquatch Package, the Wildtrak has a nearly 2- inch wider track than other Bronco trims, giving it a broader stance for Raptor-like high-speed desert running. The Wildtrak body is also wider than the rest of the Bronco lineup, thanks to larger, high-clearance wheel flares. Beadlock-capable wheels capture the outboard lip of the tire with a metal ring affixed with 12 bolts on the Wildtrak. This allows running the tires at low pressures to increase their footprint for improved traction while greatly minimizing the risk of the tire bead dismounting from the wheel.

One thing the Wildtrak doesn’t offer is the most wheel travel of any Bronco. That distinction goes to the Badlands version which increases wheel travel from just under the base 8 inches to 8.7 inches in front and from 9.8 inches to 10.2 inches out back. Also, the Wildtrak doesn’t have the front stabilizer-bar disconnect feature the Badlands has, which disengages the stabilizer bar from the front suspension lower control arms when the driver pushes the dashtop button. This feature allows about 25 percent greater front wheel articulation for crawling through steep, rocky terrain.

Its Terrain Management has a Baja Mode

2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 2-Door GOAT Mode Controller

Photo: Ron Sessions

One feature set all Broncos are born with is Terrain Management with specific G.O.A.T. (goes over any terrain) Modes for driving in various types of weather and surfaces. 

The base Bronco has five (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand). Big Bend and Outer Banks versions of the SUV add a sixth Mud/Ruts setting. Black Diamond and Badlands models add a seventh Rock Crawl mode. Badlands and Wildtrak include a Baja calibration. The mission of each of these modes is pretty self-explanatory, and each one customizes throttle progression, shift points, steering effort, electronic locking differentials, and traction/stability control settings for the driving task at hand. 

Perfect for the Wildtrak’s high-speed desert-runner persona, Baja Mode is akin to an off-road Sport Mode. As in regular Sport Mode, Baja delivers quicker throttle response and turbocharger boost while upshifting later to keep engine revs higher. Down at the chassis, Baja Mode allows engagement of the electronic locking rear differential up to top speed, backs off somewhat on traction control and stability control interventions, and lightens steering effort.

The Baja Mode enables the Bronco Wildtrak to more forcefully power through sand or play Raptor-style tail-out toss and catch with the rear wheels under the right circumstances. It’s that kind of SUV.

It has Standard Trail One-Pedal Drive

Among the features standard in the Bronco’s Trail Toolbox (when equipped) is Trail Control. Available with the 10-speed automatic transmission and 2.7-liter V6, and standard on the Bronco Wildtrak, Trail Control is akin to off-road cruise control while Turn Assist brakes an inside rear wheel to tighten the turning circle up to 40 percent. Both are helpful when traveling difficult trails with tight switchbacks.

Another Trail Toolbox feature standard on the Wildtrak is Trail One-Pedal Drive. When engaged, it gives the driver pinpoint control over braking and acceleration using nothing but the accelerator pedal. This is useful when slowly driving over rocky sections and other difficult terrain. The moment the driver lifts off the throttle, even just a little, the system applies the brakes. 

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak 2-Door Red Rear Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

The new Bronco Wildtrak comes out of the box configured the way a large number of first-generation Bronco owners have updated their vehicles over the years, with higher-output drivetrains, increased ride height, and significantly larger wheel and tire packages. It’s the most aggressive of the available Bronco trim iterations thanks to its standard Sasquatch Package.

The 2-door body style sacrifices practicality a bit. Its rear seat, while suitable for carrying two adults, is a fitness challenge to climb in and out of, especially in the lifted trims with the Sasquatch suspension like the Wildtrak. Also, the Bronco 2-door has significantly less cargo space. 

Not surprisingly, a Ford spokesperson said that initial production plans are for about 25 percent of Broncos to be 2-door models, likely dropping to 20 percent as the roomier 4-door gains momentum as a family hauler. That said, if high-speed desert running with Raptors and Ram TRXs is your thing, the 2-door Wildtrak is your ride. 

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive and consumer websites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals, and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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