It most certainly does, and from what we know so far, it is very impressive!

After a 24-year hiatus, the Bronco moniker has returned to the auto scene and has everyone’s attention. The off-roader comes with retro styling and cues, much to the please of the purists. However, one other thing that made the Bronco exciting was the prospect of a manual gearbox mated to the drivetrain. The initial leaks had suggested the presence of a seven-speed manual transmission, and now that the Bronco has made its debut, the same is confirmed - as long as you don’t go with the Bronco Sport, which is only available with an automatic transmission.

The all-new Bronco (the boxy one) will be offered with a choice of two transmissions – a seven-speed manual gearbox and a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

A Seven-Speed Stick Shift Will Grace The New Bronco

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission? Interior High Resolution
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Ever since the Bronco’s production was confirmed, rumors and news about it featuring a stick shift and third pedal were doing rounds. As time passed, more information about it came to light, and now that the SUV has debuted, we know for sure it’s present. Back in 2018, Jalopnik had reported that Getrag had been working on a manual gearbox for the Bronco since 2015. Dubbed as the MT88, this seven-speed gearbox was said to be paired to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. The new gearbox is rated for 405 pound-feet of torque and is capable of use in all-wheel-drive configurations.

Well, part of it is true.

Yes, the transmission is sourced from Getrag and it is a seven-speed box, but it will be available only with the smaller 2.3-liter, four-cylinder mill offered on the Bronco that makes 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque.

This is a bummer because the gearbox is rated to handle up to 405 pound-feet of torque, and the other engine on offer – the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 – makes 310 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque, so it would have been close, but possible.

There Is One Gear Specially Dedicated For Off-Roading

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission?
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Out of the seven gears, six are the standard gears whereas one is a crawler gear.

This crawler gear, when mated to the advanced four-wheel-drive system that Ford offers, generates a ratio of 94.75:1. This will work well in tandem with the other off-roading equipment offered on the Bronco and will be fun to use while tackling rough terrain.

Ford Bronco’s Seven-Speed Manual versus Jeep Wrangler’s Six-Speed Manual

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission? Interior High Resolution
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The Bronco’s gearbox is equally comfortable on the higher gears as it is on lower ones. To draw you a comparison Car and Driver reported that when you pair the shorter 3.06:1 low gear of the optional two-speed transfer case and the shortest 4.70:1 rear axle with the Bronco’s first gear 6.588:1 ratio, it tops out at 7 mph in low range and 21 mph in high range. The Wrangler, on the other hand, is also good up to 7 mph in the low range but can go up to 29 mph in high range.

Cruising in the Bronco will be a tad bit more relaxing. Ford’s latest off-roader can cruise at 80 mph all day long in its top gear with the engine spinning at 2,400 rpm; 150 rpm lower than the Wrangler. There was also news of Ford engineering a lockout mechanism that would prevent you from going into the low gear unless you’re in four-wheel drive mode and have the transfer case in low-range, but we don’t have clarity on this aspect yet.

Ford Now Has Three Manual Gearboxes In Its Lineup

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission? Exterior
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This seven-speed manual is part of Getrag’s new set of six-speed and seven-speed manual boxes which it calls MTI550. The 550 stands for the torque in newton-meters, which is 406 pound-feet of torque when converted. Ford, however, calls it the MT88 internally.

The gearbox is built from the scratch and doesn’t share its architecture with the other Getrag manual gearbox that Ford sources – the Getrag MT82 six-speed seen in the Mustang, for example.

Apart from these two gearboxes, Ford has one more manual in its lineup – Tremec-sourced six-speed manual gearbox that’s plonked in the Mustang Shelby GT350.

There’s a 10-Speed Automatic Gearbox Available As Well

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission? Interior High Resolution
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Speaking of the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, it will be offered on the 2.7-liter, V-6 EcoBoost mill as standard, and most likely even on the smaller 2.3-liter engine. When paired with the advanced four-wheel-drive system, even this gearbox offers an impressive maximum crawl ratio of 67.8:1.

Final Thoughts

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission? Exterior
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With manual gearboxes fading away, this is a nice offering from Ford. The fact that Ford got this seven-speed specially developed for the Bronco speaks volumes of the sales numbers they’re expecting. The long-term reliability of this gearbox will be under scrutiny because the Mustang’s Getrag six-speed manual isn’t a fuss-free unit. Also, it seems highly impressive on paper, but we’ll reserve our opinions until tested in real-world conditions.

Ford’s decision to offer both, a manual and an automatic gearbox, makes sure no potential customer turns his head away. In terms of engine specs and mechanical equipment, the Bronco is versatile and caters to a wide audience. Even if you take the crawler gear out of the equation, you still get six gears for cruising on the tarmac, which is more than sufficient for a vehicle that won’t do very high speeds. For off-roading, that one dedicated gear for low speeds will make the experience a lot better.

Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Have a Manual Transmission?
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My only grouch with Ford is that the manual gearbox is not available with the more powerful 2.7-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engine.

The only consolation is that the gearbox’s 406 pound-feet of torque rating falls in line with the engine’s power output, so the Blue Oval could offer it sometime in the future based on the feedback it receives.

Hypothetically speaking, do you think Ford would have faced some heat if it had launched the Bronco without the manual gearbox? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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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