Old Bronco vs New Bronco

Old Bronco vs New Bronco

Last Updated January 9, 2023 | Bill Tumas

Today we're going to take a look at two different vehicles that are very similar but from very different time periods. These two vehicles, which are very popular among enthusiasts, are the classic 1968 Ford Bronco and the new 2021 Ford Bronco.

Both the classic Bronco and modern Bronco are trail-built off-road vehicles, but with such a large gap in production years, there are plenty of differences to compare. We're going to take a closer look at the new vs classic Ford Bronco and see if we can find a winner! Learn about their history, specs, and how they handle.

2021 Bronco Features and Benefits

The 2021 Bronco is an off-road rig that's designed for adventure. It has a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost engine that produces 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission makes it quicker than the classic Bronco, and it also has electronic lockers, 35-inch tires, and tons of technology. It’s designed for off-roading and it looks great. But the best part about the new Bronco is driving it. So, let's discuss how it feels on the road.

How Does the New Bronco Handle?

The modern Bronco is a very capable off-road vehicle. What's crazy about the new Bronco versus the old is you're getting so much technology. Modern Broncos have electronic locking differentials and remote sway bar disconnects on them. These are full-blown off-road rigs right from the factory, whereas on your classic Bronco you're going to have to add all that stuff.

Obviously, you can install mods to do almost anything, but what Ford gives you from the factory with the new Bronco is pretty amazing. Modern Broncos are comfortable on the highway, with a smooth 10-speed transmission. With options for heated seats and steering wheels, you can jump on the highway and cruise 70-80 mph all day long in perfect comfort. Take it to your local off-road track, air down the tires, and suddenly you've got a trail-ready vehicle that you can go out to have a lot of fun with.

If it comes down to off-road capability, there’s no comparison. Even in its stock form, the new Bronco is far better equipped than a classic Bronco.

2021 Ford Bronco Drawbacks

The complaint a lot of people have when it comes to new vs old Broncos is that the new ones are almost like an appliance rather than a Bronco. You could argue the new Bronco doesn't have that soul of a classic. They look cool and have some crazy off-road capabilities, but it's still a new vehicle. You can go out and buy one just like it. There's no heritage to it, and it's missing some of that "cool factor" of the classic Bronco.

Most of the time with a classic, you're not going to run into one like yours. Classic Broncos get a ton of attention because of their history and unique looks. Modern Broncos still get attention because they're new, but over time that will likely fade. The modern Bronco kept true to the roots of the classic as far as styling goes, but clearly, it was built first and foremost to compete with the Wrangler.

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Classic Ford Bronco Features and Benefits

For the classic Bronco, let's take a look at the 1968 model. Under the hood is a 347 Ford crate engine with a Holley EFI system on it. The engine produces 360 horsepower and around 400 lb-ft of torque. It's backed up by a 4R70 automatic transmission. It also has a 3-speed with overdrive, making it a ton of fun to drive.

Pop off the top and the ‘68 Bronco becomes an amazing summer vehicle. It's an absolute head turner and you just can't argue against the classic styling of the first generation Bronco.

A huge benefit of a classic Bronco is that the V8 engine sounds way better than an EcoBoost ever will. There are also a lot of opportunities to make it your own through modding. Adding modern features like power windows or air conditioning can make your classic Bronco stand out even more.

Classic Bronco Drawbacks

The first thing you'll realize when you're out on the highway driving a classic Bronco is that they weren’t meant for the highway. Classic Broncos were meant for dirt and gravel roads and off-roading. A classic can easily get up to 60 on the highway with 1600 or 1700 RPM. It can work as a daily driver, but the NVH is definitely noticeable in the cabin. It's not going to handle like the new Bronco does, but that's part of the charm of driving a classic.

Classic Broncos are also missing many stock features that come standard on modern vehicles like power windows, air conditioning, or power disc brakes. It’s possible to purchase a modified Ford Bronco or add these features yourself, but keep in mind extensive mods may significantly increase the price point for driving a classic Bronco.

1968 Classic Bronco vs. 2021 Modern Bronco Specs

1968 Classic Bronco 2021 Modern Bronco
Engine347 Ford crate engine2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost engine
HP360 hp310 hp
Torque400 lb-ft400 lb-ft

New Bronco vs Old Bronco: Which Is Better?

Both the 2021 Bronco and 1968 Bronco are a lot of fun to drive. Not to mention they both turn heads, just for different reasons.

Honestly, it’s impossible to pick a winner between these two. If you’re a fan of classic styling and the feeling and sound of driving a piece of history, a classic Bronco is the best choice. If you’ve got to have the latest technology and want to conquer the toughest off-road trails, a 2021 or newer Bronco is for you.

No matter which Ford Bronco you end up with, we’ve got you covered. Check out both our classic Bronco parts page and our modern Bronco parts page below to upgrade your ride and make it your own.


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About the Author

Bill is our resident Mustang expert with over 25 years in the auto industry. He’s produced hundreds of videos as the host of the CJ Pony Parts YouTube channel. Read full bio →

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.

Old Bronco vs New Bronco

Our classic vs modern Bronco comparison guide provides a detailed analysis of the features and drawbacks of a 2021 and a 1968 Ford Bronco.