Ford testing 2021 Bronco with Sasquatch package and manual gearbox?

Shortly after the 2021 Ford Bronco debuted, enthusiasts playing around with the configuration tools unearthed a somewhat troubling detail: The attractive Sasquatch package — which adds 35″ tires and locking differentials and is ostensibly available on every variant of the new 4×4 — is only available with the 10-speed automatic transmission. Even with the 2.3-liter engine, which can normally be mated to the seven-speed manual, adding the Sasquatch package required selecting the auto.

But according to Bronco Nation (the new Ford-supported Bronco community), Blue Oval engineers have been spotted testing a manual-transmission prototype with all of the Sasquatch package goodies. 

Bronco Nation was on the ground for durability testing in Moab, UT several weeks ago where a 2.3L manual Badlands Bronco was used. We were able to ride in that Bronco, but at the time it was running on 33-in., non-Sasquatch tires,” the community post says. “Since then, Bronco Nation has obtained additional photos of this same testing unit now equipped with 35-in. tires and what appears to be the Sasquatch package. We are able to confirm that it is the same unit based on the vehicle I.D. (Vehicle 301W412) number found on the yellow sticker at the top of the windshield.” 

There’s not much to see in the photos apart from what is noted here, but you can check them out at the above link if you want to see this re-jiggered prototype in the proverbial metal. 

Until Ford confirms otherwise, we’re still operating under the assumption that, like the 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, if you want the Sasquatch package, you’re stuck with the 10-speed. So, it’s possible to get the locking differentials, Bilstein off-road shocks and 4.7:1 gear ratios (along with the aforementioned monster tires) without opting for the larger six-cylinder. For those who are looking for the Bronco’s “Rubicon” equivalent, the Badlands model is your ticket. Regardless of engine choice, you can select locking differentials, big tires, extra height, and much, much more.