2021 Ford Bronco Update: Infotainment System LEAKED, 7-Speed Manual Transmission Confirmed And More!

More information emerges closer to the car's official reveal

2021 Ford Bronco Infotainment System LEAKED, 7-Speed Manual Transmission Confirmed And More!
A tipster recently provided this photo showing a new infotainment system, possibly for the new Bronco. [Photo: TFLcar]

This infotainment screen is bespoke from Ford’s we’ve seen so far.

We’ve gone nearly three months since our last piece of 2021 Ford Bronco news, so here’s another update. We’re supposedly weeks (or maybe even less) away from finally seeing the production version, but we received this photo showing what is most likely the new Bronco’s center stack. Beyond that, though, the source (who will remain nameless for the sake of this discussion) gave a few more nuggets of wisdom on what we can expect from Ford’s resurrected Wrangler-fighter.

Starting with the center stack, we’re greeted with a large infotainment screen that looks like it measures roughly 12 or 13 inches diagonally. That would put it in the same league as the new Ford F-150, whose interior was spied back in April. Beyond that, the switch layout looks virtually identical to the F-150, which makes sense from a parts-sharing perspective. The bezel surrounding the infotainment screen is notably different here, however, as are some of the switches.

Our source did provide a clear enough image to make out some of the options you’ll get with the 2021 Ford Bronco by way of the buttons on the center stack. Immediately below the infotainment display (showing what is most likely Ford’s SYNC 4 system), there are buttons for a 360-degree camera system, automatic stop/start and a button to disable the parking sensors. Dual-zone climate control also makes an appearance, as does heated seats. However, ventilated seat buttons aren’t here as they were on the F-150. There does appear to be some blank space on either side for a button, so it may just not be an option on this trim level.

2021 Ford Bronco Infotainment System LEAKED, 7-Speed Manual Transmission Confirmed And More!

A 7-speed manual is happening, but it’s not quite what you think

We’ve reported several times in the past on rumors that the 2021 Ford Bronco would have a seven-speed manual transmission. Our source corroborated that rumor and said it is indeed happening, but it may not be what you originally thought. We naturally assumed the seven-speed meant seven forward gears for everyday driving — an arrangement like the Tremec gearbox used in the C7 Chevy Corvette.

Instead, we’ve gotten word that only six of those seven gears are meant for highway driving. If what we’ve been told is true, the seventh gear will strictly be a crawler gear for low-speed driving, such as rock crawling. So, we could see something like a dog-leg “granny gear” that’s down and to the left of first gear, followed by a normal set of six forward gears as is more conventional in row-your-own configurations these days.

Some manufacturers marked that gear with an “L” in the old days, so we may see that and 1 – 6 for the normal gears. What’s more, if this is true Ford may engineer a lockout mechanism that prevents you from going into Low gear unless you’re in four-wheel drive and have the transfer case in low-range. Or, as one of our viewers pointed out, that gear could be unsynchronized, meaning you wouldn’t be able to engage it unless you came to a complete stop.

Again, take this information with a grain of salt. While our sources says they have seen this with their own eyes, we don’t have any information on exactly how the manual transmission works beyond strictly knowing that it’s coming to the new Bronco.

These spy shots

Two versions of the Bronco (off-road and street)

This last piece of information more or less matches what we expected, in that we will see two distinct versions of the 2021 Ford Bronco. Our source says that Ford plans at least two tire packages with different widths. One will be a 285-millimeter setup, while the other will be a narrower 255-millimeter arrangement.

The larger, 285-width tires suggest an off-road package — either an FX4 package or a trim level that exclusively ships with beefier tires. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon also uses 285-millimeter tires, mounted on 17-inch wheels. The smaller tires are most likely for the street-biased trims, as the Wrangler Sahara also uses 255-millimeter tires, this time mounted on larger 18-inch wheels.

As for the exact tires Ford will use on these versions of the Bronco, there’s no word yet. The 2021 Ford Bronco with an FX4 package (or some sort of trim equivalent) could likely use Goodyear Wrangler or Wranger Duratrac all-terrain tires. BFGoodrich all-terrain or mud-terrain tires aren’t out of the question either, as they’re also used frequently on off-road trucks and SUVs.

How do you think the 2021 Ford Bronco is shaping up so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!