2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks: Exciting, Luxurious, and Loud

2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Review

The arrival of the Ford Bronco was a highlight of 2021. But after a week-long test drive, I wasn’t sure it was the car for me.

There are a lot of things we could say about 2021. Perhaps it didn’t live up to our expectations of getting back to normal, but it did bring us a few good things. I’m choosing to name 2021 the Year of the Bronco because it was one of the most exciting automotive come-backs I’ve experienced. Even though I had to wait a while to actually drive one, this 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks proved that patience pays off.

Related: First Drive Review: Five Reasons to be Wild About the 2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco In Rapid Red

Get ready to fall in love with the Rapid Red Bronco! Photo: Erica Mueller

Rapid Red is My New Favorite Color

It’s not just the Bronco that looks good in this color. I had the Expedition MAX recently and it too was eye-catching in Rapid Red. It’s bright, but not stop-light red. And the glossy finish really brings out the candy-apple color. Yes, this color costs extra, but I think it’s totally worth it, don’t you?

Some other things I really loved about this 4-door Bronco was how easily it fit a rear-facing child seat in the second row, the ease with which the doors and side panels come off and store in their own bags (and all fit in the back!) and the confidence it gave me when I decided to leave the pavement.

Due to the weather, we weren’t able to take off the doors and side panels and enjoy the wind in our faces, but I have seen this done and I was so impressed with the thought and engineering that went into this feature. Specifically, the side-view mirrors are mounted on the pillar and not the door, so you can take the doors off and not worry about safety and legal requirements.

Related: The 2021 Ford Bronco Black Diamond Off Road SUV: Five Standout Features

The 2021 Ford Bronco Has Off-Roading Chops

Off-roading is one of my favorite pastimes. I grew up on 200 acres in the Appalachian mountains and spent a good deal of time on dirt trails and logging roads barely wide enough for something with four wheels. The Bronco put a huge grin on my face as soon as I pulled off the little gravel road just south of the Red River. It bumped gently down the bank and lumbered over boulders and through wet sand like it was out of a leisurely stroll on a Sunday afternoon. If only I had a more challenging terrain to really put this machine to work!

Bronco Outer Banks Interior

The blue accents on the dash, seat stitching and grab bars are part of the Outer Banks trim. Photo: Erica Mueller

A Closer Look at the Ford Bronco Outer Banks Package

The Ford Bronco Outer Banks edition is recognizable thanks to its body-color door handles, mirrors, fender flares, and powder-coated tube steps. This is a luxury trim for this off-road beast of an SUV with a starting price of $40,450. It includes six G.O.A.T. (Go Over Around or Through) drive modes, beautiful LED lighting, heated bucket seats up front, and the middle-of-the-line technology package, which adds features like dual-zone climate control, remote start, and Ford’s Co-Pilot360 active-safety features. This beauty rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 255/70 all-terrain tires.

The 12.0-inch touchscreen is optional and was included in the model we drove, as were a wireless charging pad, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise, and a heated steering wheel. These are all part of a higher-end technology package which adds a little more to the total price.

Related: How Two Novice Moms Are Off-Roading Through The Rebelle Rally With The Ford Bronco Sport

Ford Bronco Interior

Look how big and roomy that back seat is! And I love that these seats are just as soft and comfortable as the front seats. Photo: Erica Mueller

But is It Comfortable?

We found the leather bucket seats in the 2021 Ford Bronco to be exceptionally comfortable, and a lot roomier than the seats in the Jeep Wrangler, which is a big deal for a big guy like my husband. I, too, enjoyed the extra hip and shoulder room too and felt like overall, the Bronco definitely won our family’s title of the Most Comfortable in its Class.

But comfort isn’t only about what it feels like to sit in the seats and drive over uneven ground, it’s about the overall experience. The Bronco’s ride quality is significantly affected by road noise and the Bronco has lots of it. If you are shopping for a Bronco you must keep in mind that this is an SUV designed for off-road adventure first and highway driving second. For the first few days, I was completely enamored with the Ford Bronco Outer Banks. I told my husband he could skip the idea of getting me a minivan and just get me one of these.

By day six, I had changed my mind for one reason alone: road noise. The Bronco is really loud inside. All the time. I thought the hardtop version would make a big difference but it was still too much for me. After several days of having to turn the music way up or struggling to hear the passengers in the backseat, I realized I was going to be someone who needed to be reminded that the Bronco was loud because that’s what off-road SUV’s do. Do I still love it? Heck yes. It’s one of the most fun things I’ve driven in a while. But the noise is a lot, and buyers should consider this during test drives.

Related: What Drives Her: Jolanta Coffey of Ford on Building the New Bronco Everglades

2021 Ford Bronco

Goodbye river bottom. Goodbye Bronco. Photo: Erica Mueller

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Despite the road noise, I had a hard time letting this one go. It provided an excellent escape to the wilderness and made me want to pack the family up and go camping!

Related: Live the Bronco Life Without All the Bronco Baggage: Ford Bronco Sport Review

2021 Bronco Window Sticker

Click to enlarge for package details.

Disclosure: Ford provided me with this 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks to drive for a week. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and a special thanks goes to my sisters for helping me to get some of these photos.

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A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller