2021 Bronco’s seven-speed manual will boast a low-range crawl gear

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Spied Bilde/Brian Williams

Based on photos snagged of the Bronco’s interior via an anonymous source, TFL-Car is confirming that the upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco will have a low-ratio “crawling” gear thanks to its seven-speed Getrag 7MTI550 manual. The leaked information backs up rumors from 2018, when we first speculated about a low-ratio gear for the upcoming 4×4’s seven-speed manual. Now, it appears that Ford is reintroducing the “granny gear” to tailor the Bronco for severe off-road usage, circumstances in which low-speed torque and finesse are vital.

Placed where you would normally expect to find second, the Bronco’s manual C-gear would be exclusive to its mid-size SUV segment and would be the first to use it since manual transmissions have disappeared 3/4- and 1-ton trucks in recent years. Currently, even off-road-oriented SUVs use six-speed manuals and various automatics, wholly relying on the low range of a typical two-speed transfer case to gain mechanical advantage on loose or steep surfaces.

The Fast Lane Car

The manual Getrag will be joined on the options list by the 10R80 10-speed automatic co-developed by Ford and General Motors. TFL-Car’s source also poked around the Bronco to look at other details, such as the familiar 2.3-liter turbo-four that powers the Ranger pickup (which shares its architecture with the Bronco). However, those photos turned up details even more interestingly for off-roaders: selectable lockers and electronically-disconnected sway bars. TFL-Car’s insider also took a peak into the cavernous wheel arches to find factory remote-reservoir shocks, possibly produced by Bilstien, based on the infamous yellow paint. Combined with some of the traction-control tricks we noticed last week, it seems that Ford giving the Bronco a solid suite of tools for battling off-grid unknowns.

With the unshakable Wrangler as its biggest competition, the Bronco cannot afford to enter the race half-cocked. The Wrangler’s options and overall design are the results of decades of evolution based on irreplaceable customer feedback. Years of trail experience have molded the iconic off-roaders into the practically unstoppable machines they are today. Ford knows that even within its own fanbase, the bar will be high for the Bronco, and the recent leaks have shown that the Blue Oval sees the Bronco in the hands of die-hard off-roaders. We can’t wait for the party to start.

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