A year and a half after I first laid eyes on the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco, actually testing this Area 51-colored (the paint is alien-skin gray, get it?) Outer Banks model taught me enough. To wit: Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks grab the Jeep Wrangler by the scruff of its neck and shake it to death? No. Jeep has continuously built and improved the Wrangler since World War II, and no carmaker can best nearly eight decades of know-how after such a long layoff since Ford built the old Bronco. But is the four-door Bronco Outer Banks a good SUV, one you should consider purchasing?
Somewhat confusingly, Ford launched the all-new Bronco right out of the gates with seven trim levels, although there are only six if you don’t count the sold-out First Edition. The Outer Banks trim falls smack in the middle of the lineup, above Base, Big Bend, and Black Diamond, but below Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition. Jeep of course will sell you 17 different Wranglers (that’s counting three versions of the 4xe PHEV model). The four-door, 116.1-inch-wheelbase Ford Bronco Outer Banks starts at $42,945 and seems to slot between the $40,745 Wrangler Sahara and the $44,340 Sahara Altitude. Options, however, are a thing, and this Bronco Outer Banks had an as-tested price of $53,655.
While you can opt for an Outer Banks with Ford’s 2.3-liter turbo I-4, our test vehicle was equipped with the $1,895 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. MotorTrend contributor Basem Wasef simultaneously happened to be driving a two-door Bronco Outer Banks with the four-cylinder, and he felt that even in the smaller, lighter Bronco model, the little engine is weak sauce. Additionally, the Outer Banks trim only comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and since you can’t get any manual Bronco with the V-6, the big engine is absolutely the way to go. Unconvinced? For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.