A Look at the Various Bronco Trim Levels
Can’t wait for the chance to put a new Ford Bronco in your garage? From the look of things, you’re not alone. Despite what might be an unparalleled number of setbacks that have delayed its arrival thus far, the Bronco is finally about to hit the market. As we’ve noted, the sheer number of orders Ford has received — more than 190,000 at last count — makes it unlikely there will be much in the way of available inventory anytime soon, so if you haven’t put your order in, the waiting game will continue.
There has certainly been plenty of time to ponder just how you’ll want your own Bronco configured — we recently listed a handful of what we believe to be the most fundamental points to consider. Coming to a conclusion on these items should help you arrive at which version of the Bronco will be best for you. There are no less than seven Bronco trim levels to choose from after all, although the top-tier First Edition, which holds the distinction of being the first version to have recently left the assembly line — it’s not titled “First Edition” for nothing, after all — is sold out and likely will be for quite some time.
That leaves six other trim levels to sift through. Ford was clearly focusing on making sure there was a take on the Bronco that would suit nearly everyone, as that represents more versions of a given model than the norm. And, while these models do share plenty of specifications, a number of questions still remain. What comes standard? What are the available options? What am I (the buyer) giving up in order to get exactly the features I want?
So, let’s take a look at this array of Broncos and see what sets each apart from the rest of the herd.
The base level Bronco comes in at right about $30,000, without figuring dealer markups into the equation — these Broncos are a very prized commodity, so markups are likely to become fairly common. Conventional wisdom often causes us to shy away from the base edition version of any car, largely because we don’t want the stigma of owning a lesser take of the model and we fear that we’ll eventually miss those features we’re foregoing in the name of frugality.
But there’s an entirely different perspective to consider. Do you plan on adding some significant upgrades to your Bronco and have a detailed idea of what the finished result will be like? The base Bronco might just be a good choice for you, as it offers a sort of blank canvas for the addition of aftermarket add-ons to transform it into your own signature ride.
On a “macro” level, the base Bronco comes with the features we’ve come to associate with the Bronco over the years, including 4-wheel drive, removable doors and roof, so it does check some of the most important boxes. It’s powered by Ford's turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four engine which, despite its modest displacement, puts out more than respectable power — Ford announced that its capabilities are significantly better than first expected, especially when premium fuel is added to the equation with new outputs now pegged at 300 horsepower and 325lb-ft of torque.
If you’re an off-roading traditionalist, the inclusion of this powerplant might be very good news, as its accompanying transmission is engine-specific and can’t be paired with the Bronco’s larger engine option. This 7-speed manual is a pretty compelling component and its featured crawl gear will give you the ultimate in torque control as you set off to conquer tough terrain.
If that manual transmission isn’t a priority for you — if you’re going to be doing a lot of weekday commuting in stop and go traffic, it may well not be — Ford’s larger and more powerful 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6, along with its accompanying 10-speed automatic transmission, is optional. This version of the Bronco will roll off the showroom floor on silver steel all-season tires and will be equipped with five different G.O.A.T. driving modes — that acronym stands for Goes Over Any Terrain. Inside you’ll find cloth seats — which is probably for the best if you’re going off-roading with any frequency — as well as an 8” touchscreen monitor. There are seven color choices to choose from.
The next rung up on the ladder is the Big Bend edition, which will set you back roughly an additional $4500. Despite its price bump over the base model, there’s not really a “night and day” difference made with this upgrade. The featured aluminum wheels on the base model gain an inch of size at this level and are wrapped in slightly stouter rubber, and there will be an additional driving mode at your disposal, bringing the total available G.O.A.T. modes to six.
This upgrade does bring enhanced aesthetics both inside and out. Inside, while you’ll still find cloth seats in the cabin, they’ll be accompanied by a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel, while darkened privacy glass adds a slightly more luxurious feel. Outside, the more distinctive front grille matches the featured set of 17” wheels and harbors a set of LED fog lamps that not only up the ante on curb appeal, but bring welcome functionality in less than ideal driving conditions. There are also three additional color options added to the palette, including Ford’s mysterious Area 51.
Just as is the case with the base Bronco, Ford’s 2.3 liter engine comes standard, along with the 7-speed manual and you can upgrade to the 2.7 liter V6 with its accompanying 10-speed automatic.
Ante up another three grand over the Big Bend, and you can put the Bronco Black Diamond edition in your garage — when it becomes available, of course. This is where you’ll really start to notice a variety of upgrades. If you’re a serious off-roader, you’ll definitely benefit from the added bash plates and rock rails that help protect the undercarriage and rocker panels from unseen road hazards, and the noticeably sturdier front and rear bumpers will also be welcome inclusions.
The number of available driving modes reaches seven and this iteration of the Bronco rolls on undeniably eye-catching black steel wheels wrapped with even beefier rubber. You’ll notice some welcome additions inside the cabin, as well — the Black Diamond brings with it a set of auxiliary switches that will really come in handy if you’re planning on adding aftermarket accessories, like a roof-mounted light bar or winch, for example. Also, the rubberized floor makes cleaning things up a lot easier after an overlanding session.
As far as the drivetrain is concerned, things remain the same — Ford obviously has plenty of confidence in the appeal of its inline 4/7-speed manual combo, but the same optional status applies to the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 and its 10-speed automatic transmission should you want to upgrade.
If you’re looking to attract attention from behind the wheel, the available Cyber Orange Metallic paint that’s available at this level will no doubt help with that.
Whereas the Black Diamond configuration is directed at the more serious off-roaders among us, the next rung up the ladder, as far as price, has different emphasis.
With an MSRP that now hits the $40k mark, the Outer Banks’s focus is luxury and creature comforts, with some extra driver tech thrown into the mix. Climb into the cabin and you’ll be greeted by heated front row bucket seats that will be accented by LED interior lighting. The Outer Banks also includes Ford’s Mid Package, which will get you remote starting, dual-zone climate control, as well as Ford’s Co-Pilot360. This latter feature brings a number of driver-centric features to help keep you safe, including blind spot monitoring, a rear backup camera and automatic emergency braking, should a pedestrian suddenly come out of nowhere. If the standard 8” monitor isn’t big enough for your liking, you can upgrade to a 12” at this level.
On the outside, the door handles and fender flares will now match the rest of the body, the tube steps on each side arrive powder-coated for increased durability and the wheel size steps up a notch, to 18”.
At this level, the standard drivetrain remains the same — Ford’s compact but potent 2.3 liter EcoBoost 4, paired with the 7-speed manual transmission — but, of course, you can upgrade to the 2.7 liter/10-speed automatic configuration if you like.
Coming in at a few grand higher — about $43k — the Bronco Badlands is especially geared to off-roading. It rides on a specially-configured suspension that includes a hydraulic front sway-bar disconnect and while the coveted Sasquatch package is optional here, the included 33” all-terrain tires are pretty stout themselves and are wrapped around 17” aluminum wheels.
The added Rock Crawl driving mode is a nice feature if you’re planning on getting adventurous, and the included auxiliary switches are a big plus for any electrically-operated add-ons you might be planning. Inside the doors, the combination of vinyl seats and washable floors make cleanups a lot easier.
Take another step up the price ladder and you’ve arrived at the WildTrak level. At this stage, the MSRP now hits $50k, but there are a whole lot of useful upgrades included to justify that price leap.
We’ve talked previously about how the Sasquatch package really enhances the capabilities of the new Bronco, with its 35” mud terrain tires, high-clearance suspension, locking front and rear axles and Bilstein dampers teaming up to markedly increase the vehicle’s approach, departure and breakover angles, smooth out obstacles in the road and provide enhanced traction so that you can negotiate more unforgiving terrain.
Inside the doors, the included Mid package ups the level of comfort, with heated cloth seats and carpeted flooring. If you’re not going to be doing much off-roading and want more luxury, you can opt for the leather seating upgrade.
As far as the standard drivetrain is concerned, this is where things change. Ford’s 2.7 liter twin-turbo V6 and its accompanying 10-speed automatic transmission is standard and the number of G.O.A.T modes now total seven and include the Baja mode that’s especially suited to desert adventures. The 4-wheel drive system is a bit more advanced at this level and includes on-demand 4h to add traction on particularly unforgiving roads.
Bronco First EditionWant to get a look at what might have been . . . and may still be a possibility in the future? This limited run version of the Bronco was capped at 7000 units — which is double the number Ford had originally planned on — and has long since sold out for the foreseeable future. It’s unarguably the crème of the crop of the Bronco offerings — a sort of merging of the Badlands and WildTrak models, but with plenty of additional luxury thrown into the mix.
As we noted earlier, a substantial number of units of the First Edition Bronco were recently completed and it’s easy to see why Ford would make the completion of this version a priority — it’s always wise to put your best foot forward and the First Edition certainly qualifies as the Bronco at its absolute best. Assuming you could get your hands on one, it would set you back just over $60,000, but that sum gets you a truly singular vehicle — an SUV with outstandingly rugged curb appeal, bona fide off-road agility and an impressive area of creature comforts that will rival its luxury-centric counterparts, few of which can even come close to matching the Bronco First Edition’s capability off the asphalt.
With a distinctive presence that includes its own hood and side graphics, the First Edition comes in a small but high-impact selection of colors that are sure to attract attention — Rapid Red, Cyber Orange metallic, the aforementioned Area 51 — which is actually a dark teal — or Cactus Gray. Add to that a safari bar to protect the front end from unforeseen obstacles, along with the higher stance and beefier rubber that come via the Sasquatch package, and you have one impressive looking vehicle.
Inside, the Lux package brings adaptive cruise control, a great-sounding 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a leather interior not shared with any other levels of the Bronco line, voice-activated touchscreen navigation and much more.
As you’d expect, the featured standard engine is Ford’s 2.7 liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 and it’s mated with the 10-speed automatic transmission.
Again, the First Edition is currently sold out and is not likely to become available any time soon, but one can dream.