Ford has hit the ball out of the park with its all-new 2021 Bronco, a beautifully retro-styled 4×4 crossover that delivers every bit of off-road capability that its rugged appearance promises. While the decision whether or not to purchase a Bronco is a no-brainer, buyers are forced to decide between a 2-door or 4-door body style — herein lies the true dilemma.
Most shoppers (over 70 percent, according to Ford) have been choosing the 4-door, which is roomier and better suited for families. But, there are still very valid arguments for purchasing the 2-door Bronco — my personal favorite:
The 2-Door Ford Bronco is Better Proportioned
The original Ford Bronco, which debuted in 1966, was a compact 2-door truck with very simple styling offered in three different body configurations — 2-door wagon, half-cab pickup, and open-body roadster. The 2-door style continued through the second-generation until the last fifth-generation models rolled off the line in 1996.
Ford, targeting the Jeep Wrangler (and observing the success of the Wrangler Unlimited), decided to offer the new sixth-generation Bronco in both door configurations. The 2-door model is well proportioned and is visually correct in terms of being historically accurate. The doors are long, and they nicely fill the gap between the two wheels — nearly perfectly centered. The roof’s prominent three pillars are equally as attractive and add strength to the look. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the 4-door model, which is awkwardly stretched with the added fourth roof pillar, 50 percent more side glass, and double the number of door handles. Worse, the doors are shorter and the stubby second doors are forced into the wheel arch.
The 2-Door Bronco is More Agile Off-Road
Off-roading prowess requires much more than a capable 4×4 system. Vehicles need to be agile and have good approach, departure, and breakover angles — think of it as the maximum obstacle height that a vehicle can drive over without hitting the chassis between its wheelbase. This typically requires a short wheelbase.
The 2-door Ford Bronco has a wheelbase measuring 100.4 inches. That’s much shorter than the 4-door Bronco, which has a wheelbase measuring 116.1 inches. By the tape, the Bronco 2-door boasts a 43.2 degree approach angle, a 37.2 degree departure angle, and a 29 degree breakover angle. Although the 4-door matches the 2-door’s approach angle, its 37.0 degree departure and 26.3 degree breakover angle are worse.
It is imporant to mention that Ford offers the Sasquatch option on all Bronco models. This adds more aggressive 35-inch tires and the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) that improves ground clearance and breakover angles, but it doesn’t make the 4-door more agile off-road than the 2-door model.
The Manual Gearbox is a Better Match to the 2-Door
Manual gearboxes are becoming extinct, but Ford is offered a 7-speed row-your-own gearbox in the Bronco. According to Ford, only about 15 percent of buyers overall are opting for the manual gearbox, but that number climbs to 25 percent of 2-door owners — signaling that these buyers may be more passionate about driving. Opting for the manual transmission means that owners are also satisfied with Ford’s turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-4 engine, as the company isn’t pairing the manual with its more powerful turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6.
Climb behind the wheel of the 2-door Bronco with the 7-speed manual gearbox and its a joy to drive — whether on- or off-road. The shorter wheelbase makes the vehicle agile, and the larger side windows offer a more expansive view of the outside world. The Bronco 2-door with the 7-speed is the lightest variant in the model range, too, undercutting the 4-door model by nearly 200 pounds. This only improves the fun quotient.
The 2-Door Bronco is Less Money
The 2-door Ford Bronco has a base price of $30,800 — which is very reasonable when compared to its competition. The 4-door model costs about $5,000 more, which is a 15 percent pricing premium before adding popular trims or options.
That $5,000 will help those interested in the 2-door model bump up to a more premium Bronco grade, such as the Black Diamond (the model pictured in the images). Or, the savings may be used to upgrade to the 35-inch Mud-Terrain tires, which also adds the Advanced 4×4 system — my personal recommendation.
The 2-Door Bronco is More Exclusive
Considering that 70 percent of the sixth-generation Broncos on the road will be 4-door models, owning a 2-door will be unique — significantly more rare than the commonplace family model. While nobody can speculate on future values, low volume models have traditionally captured more money on the secondary market as they are more desirable to brand aficionados and purists, especially when they are fitted with rare components (e.g., 7-speed manual) or unique options.