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2021 Ford Bronco Will Feature 10R60 Transmission From Ford Explorer

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Several months ago, rumors started circulating that Ford intended to equip the 2021 Ford Bronco with the 10-speed automatic from the 2021 Ford Explorer, otherwise known as the 10R60. Until recently, The Blue Oval remained mum on the issue, but Bronco Nation was able to talk with Bronco Brand Manager Esteban Plaza-Jennings, who confirmed the earlier speculation while defending the company’s decision to utilize the transmission in a vehicle engineered for heavy off-road use.

2021 Ford Bronco

Members of several 2021 Ford Bronco enthusiast forums expressed dismay over the rumor when it first surfaced and wondered why Ford would install a “weaker” variant of the 10-speed automatic in the Bronco, when the company already puts the 10R80 in the 2021 Ford Ranger, a vehicle that is currently built alongside the Bronco at the Ford Michigan Assembly plant and one that utilizes an earlier version of the Ford T6 platform, on which the Bronco is based. Plaza-Jennings offered a robust argument in favor of the 10R60, stating that the unit is rated at a max output of 406 pound-feet of torque when paired with the Ford 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 and 424 pound-feet of max torque when paired with the Ford 2.7L EcoBoost V6. Both maximum ratings beat out the torque figures of both Bronco powerplants, which are rated at 310 pound-feet and 400 pound-feet, respectively. Additionally, he stated that the inclusion of the 10R80 into the Ford Ranger lineup was based out of necessity, not choice, since the 10R60 was not ready for prime time in 2018, the year when the current generation Ranger debuted.

There are other reasons why the 10R60 is a better fit for the 2021 Ford Bronco too. It’s newer, designed to be more efficient, and significantly lighter to boot, to the tune of 29 pounds. Ford engineered the 10R60 with less parasitic losses as well. Plus, it’s been tested extensively, both in the Explorer, where it’s rated to handle 415 pound-feet of torque in the ST, and more recently in the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally, where a Bronco equipped with the transmission finished third. In any event, the 10-speed automatic, in all of its various configurations, has been around for a while, as it first debuted in the 2017 Ford F-150. Chances are good that Ford has had plenty of time to solve any issues with the gearbox before putting it in the Bronco.

We’ll have more Bronco news soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford Bronco news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. Josh

    Wait till someone takes their 2.7 five star tuning and puts an sct tune on it. That transmission is going down the drain because just a tune alone will put a 2.7 over 450 lb-ft of torque.

    Reply
    1. Clam Juice

      Just trust Ford on this the research from the engineers was done already. Ford knows these vehicles will be tuned and it’s built for it

      Reply
      1. royl

        If the tune-any change to the ECU- in commifornia, they will fail the smog test.

        Reply
  2. commbubba19

    go check the Explorer ST FB groups and forums. Lots of complaints about the 10R60 failures. Many buy backs from Ford. Bummer.

    Reply
  3. Jason

    Thats a big letdown from ford. They already built the bronco sport to be like the explorer. Now they put in a lower quality engine into the full size bronco? No wonder the gas mileage is so abysmal. Smh, making me rethink if i want to get a bronco or not

    Reply
  4. John

    I don’t get why they don’t use the Ranger transmission. It’s a good one, the only have to have one type of automatic transmission instead of multiple at the plant, and it’s proven to work where as the Explorers has had nothing but problems. I’ll just wait until the 2023 or 24’ model year where they just have gotten rid of that transmission entirely or they have a electric model that doesn’t need a extremely complex transmission. Overall I don’t care if the Bronco is only electric since it doesn’t have a V8 and I think naturally aspirated engines are the best for off-roading.

    Reply
    1. royl

      Great post. I’m not sure the v6 (by all means the most popular option) can’t break the ranger trans–my guess, ford has spent a lot of money on this 10sp auto, and want to recoup their money (while making a pile at the same time). I’m not surprised, this bronco deal has been an abortion. Covid, covid, chips-chips, no roof, we’ll supply dealers in front of reservation holders-we’re changing the transmission, but wait, we’ll still be able to deliver in another year or so-with the expected price increase.
      I’m agree with your take, 2023/24 may be the time someone has sorted this crap out.

      Reply
  5. David Pickford

    Ford really haven’t had a reliable transmission since the turn of the century and especially so in the last 10 years. Even this one they can’t get right, the 10 speed fitted in the Chevy is reportedly a far nicer unit for its smoothness and reliability compared to the same unit in the Ford; Why? Are Ford scrimping on something? Here in Australia it’s suggested one of the problems is that Ford put barely capable cooling systems in, in testing not one Mustang model was able to survive a full days testing by our police forces to use the ‘stang as a pursuit car due to overheating causing the cars to go into limp mode so I’d hate to see how the Broncos will survive a few hours hard slogging in really heavy offroading.

    Reply
    1. royl

      David, do you remember the old 3sp C6 Ford automatic Trans? It was strong/light/ and lasted forever. It is still popular among those that race, it could handle almost 500ftlbs stock, it is easily beefed to handle twice that much. Many hotrod shops will still build/offer the C6 for those pushing serious HP. So, what is my point? Ford knows how to build them strong/ and they know to build them reliable and build them in the US.

      Reply
  6. royl

    I think your observation is a very valid one. The few hour of “hard slogging” as you aptly put it, will be the test. It will test both the 4 banger with the chinese made 7 speed manual, as well as this new 10 speed. In most off road adventures (NOT racing) the need for all those high, highway speed gears will be of zero use. It is a shame ford has not offered a big/strong American made manual that can be offered with both powerplants….we can only dream.

    Reply

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