Why 2021 the Bronco’s Crawler Gear Is Awesome

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One of the 2021 Ford Bronco’s most interesting features is the available seven-speed manual transmission. If seven gear ratios seem odd, it’s because it is. It’s remarkable that in a time when manual transmissions are going the way of the dodo, the 2021 Ford Bronco comes with a unique crawler gear in addition to the standard six forward gears and reverse.

This crawler gear, which has a deep 6.588:1 ratio, is accessed by moving the shift lever to the left and down. Accessing the reverse gear requires moving the shifter to the left and up. Both gears require pulling up on the locking ring below the shift knob. This ensures that, much like reverse, drivers aren’t likely to accidentally grab the ultra-low crawler gear.

We’ve explained what exactly the Bronco’s crawler gear (and the term “granny gear” in general) is in depth, so we won’t bore everyone by going down that rabbit hole again. However, we do want to answer the most common question we’ve been asked about the crawler gear, which is what exactly it’s useful for.

The biggest thing the crawler gear is useful for is allowing owners flexibility while still giving access to an ultra-low crawl ratio. Jeep achieves its lowest crawl ratio on Wrangler by offering a transfer case with a 4.0:1 low range gear in Rubicon models. Transfer case options for the 2021 Ford Bronco include a 2.72:1 and a 3.06:1 low range gear. By fitting the Bronco with the 6.588:1 crawler gear, Ford has essentially given owners the choice of both the crawl ratio of a vehicle with a standard 2.72:1 low range and one with a 4.10:1.

For example, a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a manual transmission has a crawl ratio that’s 86.24:1 in first gear and low range. A Jeep Wrangler overland, by contrast, with a 2.72:1 transfer case and manual transmission has a crawl ratio of 52.05:1 (with 3.73:1 axle gears). The 2021 Ford Bronco, on the other hand, can have a crawl ratio from 54.75:1 in first gear with the 2.72:1 low range, to 94.75:1 in the crawler gear with the 3.06:1 low range (a crawl-ratio of 61.60:1 is achieved in first gear with the 3.06:1 transfer case).

Depending on the situation, the Bronco can be driven with the crawler gear and transfer case in high range or with the crawler gear and transfer case in low range. The Bronco can also be driven, naturally, in low range with the full range of six standard gear ratios. For normal trail riding, high range and the six-speed should suffice well. For sand driving, many people opt to run in low range and a high gear, which a higher ratio low range (numerically lower), like Bronco’s 2.72:1 or 3.06:1, is often better suited for. Then there’s rockcrawling, where the lowest of low gears can be desirable, which, when using the crawler gear, gives the Bronco a better crawl ratio than a similar Wrangler Rubicon.

Essentially, the crawler gear gives 2021 Bronco owners a ton of flexibility in the type of terrain they off-road in, making the seven-speed manual transmission equipped Bronco a true jack of all trades.

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