Bad ideas and I have a rich history together.
I stuck $5 into my mom’s VW Beetle cassette deck when I was 4. At 16, I broke my curfew by a country mile, then stripped off my clothes and told my dad I was in bed all night when he found me in the kitchen getting a glass of water at 8 a.m. At 20, I tried to talk my way out of a second speeding ticket on my birthday in Wyoming. Also, at 20: I tried to pay those tickets with pennies. None paid off the way I expected.
There are more examples. Many more.
2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak
With caution from prior awful conceptions of mine, I mulled reserving a 2021 Ford Bronco last week. I live in Colorado where the state flag practically has a wagon on it. It's true. One of our cars is a high-mileage wagon with room for gear, dogs, and long-distance drives—we’re natives, after all. That car is perfect for the eastern half of the state. The western half? I hear it has a few more hills.
An off-road SUV appeals to me because my daily commute is 30 seconds or less: from the bedroom to the kitchen. I won't discuss my work outfit, either.
Our wagon trudges up Interstate 70 to the ski resorts without a fuss when the sun is shining, but on the real hairy days—the days I want to snowboard the most—it’s not ideal.
Maybe a 2021 Bronco is?
2021 Ford Bronco
One standing rule in my house is that I don’t make any rules. That duty falls to my girlfriend who has the patience of a saint and skin thicker than any skid plate. I suggest, she replies, I lose, the circle of life continues.
Last week, “Bronco” popped out of my immature mouth with all the tact of a Christmas gift “hint” in late November.
“It’s not the worst idea you’ve ever had,” she said, seeing right through my thin cover.
True. Mixing pennies and Wyoming state troopers is worse.
We talked: Is it the right vehicle for us? Can we afford it? What else should we consider? What do we have to lose on a deposit? Ultimately, and with more deliberation on her part than “12 Angry Men,” I got the OK.
2021 Ford Bronco
I was more than surprised. I couldn’t have been more shocked if I force-fed a penny into the nearest light socket.
With her initial signoff in hand, we talked about specifications. (In the interest of full disclosure: I had some of the Bronco details in hand before the public debut, but work and home stayed separate. We talked about our needs with another vehicle and ballpark prices without discussing details. Two hours before the reveal, I made up my mind on a specification based on early knowledge, although I’m not sure it matters much now.)
I picked a four-door Wildtrak based on my experiences driving the Ranger and F-150 pickups, and perhaps because I talked myself into it fast enough.
At 6 p.m. Mountain time Monday, with credit card in hand and lump in throat, I logged on to the Ford site to reserve my Bronco right when reservations opened.
After a couple clicks through the front page and into the Bronco area, I selected “Reserve Now”…and nothing happened.
Click again. And again. Bupkis.
Ford Bronco Reservation Screen
The same tempting reservation button appeared in the top right corner, which I furiously punched the third time. Bang.
Then, like a parent’s permission slip before jumping on a trampoline, Ford asked me to log in with my personalized account. I don’t have a Ford account. I didn’t know I needed one. Precious moments were wasted while I mused through passwords for an account. Luv4Ranchero? Fiesta4Eva? In2Pinto? And so on.
Ford login created, model specified, payment needed. Sixteen digits later my reservation was confirmed, 2 minutes and 53 seconds after the reservation page went live, which felt longer than getting a speeding ticket. Ask me how I know.
My emailed confirmation arrived about one minute later. Colleagues and friends reported difficulties that stretched into the night, although I had very minor issues comparatively.
The fine print reads that my deposit is refundable if I don’t want it, and that the dealer will ultimately set my price—not the one I was quoted. If circumstances change, my dreams of a Bronco won’t be realized; or if I’m asked to pay exorbitant amounts of dealer markup for my car, I’ll walk faster than a tour guide on his last day on the job. I’ll put more than $100 on that.
The idea of a new 2021 Ford Bronco in my driveway is appealing for the right price. I don’t think it’s a bad one, either.
Aaron Cole is Managing Editor of Internet Brands Automotive. Reach him at [email protected]