Ironhide is, as his name perhaps suggests, a tough guy. But while he shares Cliffjumper's penchant for action before words, Ironhide is far more kind-hearted, if a bit ornery at times. Perhaps that's because, of the original 1984 group of Autobots, Ironhide is said to be (in the words of his original Tech Specs) the "oldest" and "most battle-tested" among them, and thus Ironhide is able to allow some measure of wisdom to temper his aggressive impulses.
Ironhide isn't just "tough" in the sense of "ready to prove himself in a fight," but he's also "tough" in sense that his armor (his "Iron hide," if you will) is able to hold up against all but the most powerful of attacks. While Ironhide isn't stupid enough to just stand there and let his enemies shoot him before he fights back, he could almost get away with it.
While Ironhide may be one of the more memorable characters in the original cartoon (I can't say he did much in the comics), he has had the unfortunate distinction of not ever really having gotten a decent official toy representation of the character. The original toy (having been designed for a line where the robots were piloted mecha, rather than sentient beings in their own right) doesn't even have a head! Even the most recent toy, from 2008, is kind of a mess. I have therefore chosen to represent Ironhide by means of the 2005 BotCon toy, which wasn't even created with Ironhide in mind, although the fact that the mold shares characteristics with the original — most notably the detachable weapons platform — made the idea of an Ironhide version somewhat inevitable. Being one of the first BotCon toys produced by Fun Publications, even this toy is subject to some criticism, but honestly, it's the only G1-esque Ironhide toy I've ever bothered to own.