The 2021 Ford Bronco is due on dealer lots and in customer driveways in just a few months’ time. By the sheer amount of hype surrounding its reveal, the Blue Oval’s answer to Jeep’s Wrangler and other off-road SUVs is a real contender. There’s just one issue with some enthusiasts, and that comes down to the powertrain.
Why doesn’t the 2021 Ford Bronco have a V8 option?
The reason the SUV’s chief engineer Eric Loefller recently gave Muscle Cars & Trucks is one we all expected. Emissions regulations — at least as they’ve been trending these past few years — are mostly why there’s no Coyote V8 in the new Bronco. “We have to manage the CO2 implications of the product,” he said. “If you look at the shadow area (footprint) of a small off-road vehicle, it has a pretty high target from a government perspective in terms of CO2.”
But don’t other Fords currently have V8s?
Granted, Ford’s F-150 pickup and Mustang still have V8 options. Smaller, turbocharged EcoBoost engines have largely eclipsed their large-displacement stablemates, however, as they strike a better balance between power and efficiency. Loefller says customers demand performance, capability and fuel economy, with less of an emphasis on sheer displacement.
Ford Global Program Manager Jeff Seaman brought similar insight to the conversation. “If the customer experience was significantly enhanced with a Coyote engine, it would have been under serious consideration. In all honesty, that EcoBoost motor is damn good and when you get out of it you don’t say, ‘I wish I had a bigger engine.” With 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, the current Bronco is down on power compared to the V8. However, Ford seems to be in the process of redressing that balance with a Bronco Raptor.
If that actually happens, we may see the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine that’s in the current Explorer ST. Performance figures there stand at 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, putting it on the same level as a V8-equipped F-150. The company is also working on a hybrid version to further compete against the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, so surely the performance won’t be lackluster there either.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost for V8 Bronco enthusiasts out there. While there likely won’t be a factory option for a large-displacement model, the aftermarket should fill the gap. One firm in particular is giving folks what they want by swapping the Coyote V8, then cranking the power up to boot.
As for Ford’s cross-town rival, the Jeep Wrangler will most likely get a V8 option sometime next year. The writing has been on the wall, though, and these sorts of cars are likely living on borrowed time, even here in the United States.
H/T to Muscle Cars & Trucks for their reporting and insight.