2021 Ford Bronco Gets a Manual Transmission, and We Say Amen

2021 Ford Bronco Gets a Manual Transmission, and We Say Amen

view 2-door photos marc urbano car and driver
  • ford's seven-speed manual transmission sourced from getrag is entirely new and making its debut on the 2021 ford bronco.
  • the new suv becomes only the third ford on today's market with a manual, and the other two are mustangs.
  • any new manual transmission is cause for celebration these days.

    any new manual transmission is a rarity these days, and that the new bronco includes this celebration-worthy bit makes us even more enthused about this suv's revival.

    the bronco's seven-speed manual is a getrag unit, part of the company's new family of six- and seven-speed longitudinal manuals that it calls mti550. the 550 stands for its torque capacity in newton-meters, which equates to 406 lb-ft. the turbocharged 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder, the only engine available with the manual, is comfortably under that, with a peak of 310 lb-ft and 270 horsepower.

    ford calls this new seven-speed transmission mt88, and it's an entirely new architecture, not based on the getrag mt82 six-speed that's in today's mustang. that's a good thing, as shift-quality issues with the mustang's manual have led to a class-action lawsuit.

    the bronco's manual becomes only the third available across ford's lineup in the u.s., the other two both being in mustangs: the previously mentioned six-speed, and the shelby gt350's tremec six-speed.

    ford insists on referring to this new manual's first gear as a creeper gear, going so far as to label it with a c on the shift knob and putting it in a dogleg position down and to the left, below reverse. however, the overall gearing in low range once the bronco's larger tires and the wrangler's shorter low-range ratio are factored are similar.

    the bronco's 6.588:1 first gear, paired with the shorter 3.06:1 low gear of the optional two-speed transfer case and the shortest 4.70:1 rear axle, means first gear is good for up to 7 mph in low range, same as the wrangler. in high range, it will take you to 21 mph, versus 29 mph for the wrangler, so it doesn't seem out of the question to use it in regular driving. we'll see if it's more advantageous to use it to extract the best acceleration runs once we get one to test. in its 0.646:1 top gear, the bronco will cruise along at 80 mph at roughly 2400 rpm, about 150 rpm lower than the wrangler.

    while we await the chance to flick the bronco's new transmission through its seven gears, let's just laud the fact that there's a new manual on the market.

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