Good choice of engine, Ford, but make sure you plonk in a manual gearbox too

Update 7-13-2020: The Ford Bronco Family has finally made its debut. Two engines will be available at launch: a 2.70liter EcoBoost V-6 with 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque or a 2.3-liter EcoBoost that’s good for 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. There will also be a seven-speed manual transmission available with 6 normal gears and a crawling gear when you opt for the advanced 4x4 system. If you want to learn more, check out our debut article: The Ford Bronco Has Arrived and We can Smell Fear from Jeep Dealers Everywhere

The Ford Bronco is all an off-road enthusiast can talk about these days. There is a lot of news out there about it that have given us enough detail to speculate and talk about.

Recently, we learned that the 2021 Bronco will be launched much earlier than the expected date. We also got to know that it will come with 150 accessories at launch. Now, there’s news surrounding its drivetrain options.

According to Ford Authority, the 2021 Bronco will be powered by Ford’s 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine. The same is found in the F-150, the Edge ST, and the Lincoln Nautilus as well. But, will it be offered in a slightly more powerful state of tune?

The 2.7-liter V-6 Is The First Choice Of Engine For The Bronco

2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label - Driven
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Ford Authority stated that the “sources familiar with this project” said the Bronco will come with the 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost mill under the hood. It will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In the F-150, the engine makes 325 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. In the Edge ST and the Lincoln Nautilus, it makes 10 more horses. At the onset, the power figures seem adequate for the Bronco.

If you connect the dots, the 2.7-liter V-6 is almost certain of making the cut. A few months back, Off-Road.com reported that they spotted a listing on a Canadian Tire’s website that featured a 2021 model year "Ford truck" named Bronco with an engine size listed at "4-140 2.3L DOHC."

Considering that the Jeep Wrangler comes with a six-cylinder engine, Ford could also offer the 2.7-liter, V-6 mill. Now, knowing Ford’s propensity to offer multiple engine options and the king’s treatment that the Bronco is receiving, you will be left spoiled for choices. There will be at least a couple more mills that will power the SUV.

We Need A Manual Transmission As Well

2021 Ford Bronco Engine and Specifications
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Although a 10-speed automatic transmission is said to be the gearbox choice, we also know that the Bronco will be offered with a manual transmission. In fact, a 2018 report by Jalopnik suggests that Ford is also working on building a manual gearbox for the Bronco. This shouldn’t come as surprise because the Bronco’s primary rival, the Jeep Wrangler, is also offered with a manual gearbox on the Rubicon trim. According to the outlet, Ford has specifically asked Getrag to build a manual transmission for the new Bronco.

Dubbed the MT 88, it will most likely be paired to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine because the transmission company’s website lists that the new gearbox is rated for 405 pound-feet of torque and is capable of use in all-wheel-drive configurations.

In all likelihood, it will be sport seven gears. Getrag has been working on a new manual gearbox since 2015, codenamed the 6/7MTI550. If this news of the 2021 Bronco getting a seven-speed manual gearbox does indeed come true, it will join a very small group of cars, like the Porsche 911 and the Chevrolet Corvette, that currently offer the same amount of ratios and three pedals. To say the least, Ford has answered the prayers of many purists.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost Can Also Make An Appearance

2019 Ford Ranger Drivetrain
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Under the hood you’ll find a 2.3-liter
No word on specs yet... BUT...

The all-new 2021 Ford Bronco will be based on the new Ranger. Although the SUV will be manufactured in the U.S. at the Michigan plant together with the new Ranger, it is developed in Australia. The Bronco will share the new Ranger’s T6 platform that was developed at Ford’s Asia-Pacific Engineering Center in Victoria. There’s no confirmation on this, but all points lead to this theory.

Since the Bronco will share its underpinnings with the Ranger (and knowing Ford’s propensity to offer multiple drivetrains), the reincarnated SUV could receive a 2.3-liter EcoBoost mill as well. The Ranger already got it and we can be almost sure of it making its way inside the Bronco as well. In the Ranger, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine makes 270 ponies and 310 pound-feet of twist.

2.3-liter EcoBoost specifications
Engine 2.3-liter EcoBoost
Horsepower 270 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 21/26/26 combined
Transmission 10-speed automatic

We’ve mentioned it on numerous previous occasions that Ford has aimed the Bronco directly at the Jeep Wrangler. The "270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque" power figures of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost are squarely aimed at the Wrangler’s 2.0-liter version, albeit slightly better.

Jeep Wrangler’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine churns out 270 horses and 295 pound-feet. Pound-for-pound, the Bronco holds the baton here for its extra 15 pound-feet of torque, but a lot will depend on a number of factors like the weight, drive setup, and other drivetrain components.

2021 Ford Bronco Engine and Specifications Exterior
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This EcoBoost engine will also take on the Wrangler’s 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar mill. The most popular FCA engine develops 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The extra horses cannot make up for a significant 50-pound-foot deficit when compared to the Blue Oval’s 2.3-liter mill. And, when you’re off-roading or taking off from a standstill, the extra torque will matter more than the 15 fewer horses.

How Does A Hybrid Bronco Sound?

2021 Ford Bronco Engine and Specifications
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Speaking of the 2.3-liter mill, it features a twin-scroll turbocharger that extracts exhaust gas from two pairs of cylinders in alternating sequence in order to enhance pulse energy and reduce lag. It also features an Auto Start-Stop function that shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and restarts it immediately when the brake is released. This feature improves fuel economy. Some people find this extremely annoying, but it’s a small sacrifice to make it a “greener and cleaner” car. Not to mention, this directly falls in place with the hybrid news we’ve heard about.

Although the company did not mention this explicitly, the Bronco could come in a hybrid avatar. On an earlier occasion, Ford mentioned the Bronco as a “part of Ford’s new strategy that includes going all-in on hybrids to bring more capability to customers of our most popular and high-volume vehicles.” What better way to market a hardcore off-road beast that also cares about the environment!

A Bronco Raptor Could Be In The Making

2021 Ford Bronco Engine and Specifications
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Apart from this, Ford will also be introducing the Raptor badge on the Bronco. And it gets better. The Bronco Raptor could feature a V-8 mill! But, given that the 5.0-liter, V-8 Coyote will be retired soon, the new 7.3-liter, V-8 mill will certainly not feature in here, and neither will the 5.2-liter V-8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500.

We are not sure how this will play out, since the $850 million allotted for the Bronco cannot cover the research and development costs of a new engine. Anyway, that’s another story for another day because Ford won’t be launching the Raptor trim right away and kill the hype. It could come along with the Bronco pickup truck sometime down the line.

Final Thoughts

2021 Ford Bronco Engine and Specifications
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The Ford Bronco was scheduled for a spring launch at the Detroit Auto Show, but it will debut earlier than expected. A new report surfaced that the Ford Bronco will actually debut in April of 2020 at the New York Auto Show. The reason for this, you ask? I believe Ford doesn’t want a clash with the launch of the next-gen 2021 F-150. Perhaps, that is reserved for the Detroit Auto Show.

What other mills do you think will make an appearance under the 2021 Bronco’s hood? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Source: Ford Authority

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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