In the ever-expanding world of the SUV, nothing has stood out more in the last two years than the Ford Bronco. Once thought extinct, the Bronco has kicked back into the automotive world with a vengeance and configurability to boot. There is one for every type of outdoor situation, and a trip down to your 2022 Ford Bronco dealer will more than confirm this as a fact.
With ten different trims, each loaded with its own set of features and functions, to choose from, the Bronco is truly proving itself to be one of the most adaptable SUVs in its class. Only the Jeep Wrangler, Bronco’s chief rival in the field, comes with a close amount of options that are similarly built for off-roading of any kind. If Jeep wasn’t concerned the Bronco was proving itself to be a serious challenger, they wouldn’t have released that commercial where a Wrangler is chasing away a herd of wild broncos. Subtle is never a word that’s been used to describe Jeep.
However, the Bronco has easily come back to the market in a top spot, and only just going into its third production year, it has released more trims to be excited about. We are, of course, talking about the new Everglades and Raptor trims that will be sure to dazzle any off-roading fan.
Stats Lead to Resurrection
First, though, we want to take a look at why Ford resurrected the Bronco for the present age. It’s an open secret that off-road capable vehicles are on an automotive trend heading steeply upward. A scroll through YouTube or any car magazine will further this point. Off-roading is cool, especially the illusion of it.
From a purely statistical standpoint, only about 10% to 15% of drivers will actually take their off-road vehicles off the road, while an astounding 40% of the market are those who will likely never take their more than capable vehicle off the beaten track. Despite the obvious lack of true off-roading enthusiasm, the mystique has led to massive sales. Ford, noticing the trend, wanted to get in on the game with a direct rival to the segment-leading Jeep Wrangler: a revived Bronco with styling cues from the original ‘60s model. That meant a square stance and round headlights, but that is about where the similarities end.
To great fanfare and anticipation, Ford re-released the Bronco on July 13, 2021. A new off-roader from Ford, with the availability of a 7-speed manual transmission and a removable roof, was too hard for buyers to resist. Sales for the Bronco’s first year closed at 35k, setting it on a track for amazing growth over the coming years.
What Makes a Bronco?
So what is it about the Bronco that makes it so appealing, besides its resurrection? Well, for one thing, it’s adaptability and capability. All Bronco’s come standard with 4×4 capability, Ford’s Terrain Management System with a base of 5 G.O.A.T (Go Over Any Type of Terrain) modes, 2/4 doors, and 30″ off-road tires. To this, you can add a swath of features such as the available Sasquatch Package, which upgrades you to 35″ tires, electronic front and rear locking differentials, fender flares, and advanced off-road suspension built by Bilstein.
Powering the Bronco are two different engines: a 2.3L turbocharged inline four-cylinder producing 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and a 2.7L twin-turbocharged V6 generating 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. There is a third engine option, but it’s exclusive to one trim that we’ll get to in a minute. The 2.3L is the standard engine on all Broncos except the Wildtrak, which comes standard with the 2.7L. It’s worth noting that the V6 is only available with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The 2.3L can be had with either a 10-speed automatic or 7-speed manual with a crawl gear for maximum power at low speeds.
These engines, with the available Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, and Wildtrak models, make the 2022 Bronco highly configurable to meet any kind of off-roading personality and taste. Speaking of which, let’s finally take a look at this year’s new models: Raptor and Everglades.
We’ll start with the Raptor since every Ford fan has been waiting for a Raptor Bronco since before they announced the Bronco would return. The Raptor, for those few of you who may not know, is Ford’s term for its high-performance package. First introduced with the F-150, the Raptor has made a name for itself as a very fast, very capable truck. Now offered on the Bronco, it’s proving to be a very fast, very capable off-road SUV.
Remember that third engine option we teased? That, friends, is a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 found only on the Bronco Raptor. It is estimated to produce over 400 hp, which should allow you to race through the desert with ease. This is mated to a 10-speed automatic select-shift and comes with a dual exhaust, which can be tuned to four selectable exhaust modes: Normal, Quiet, Baja, and Sport.
Backed by Ford’s pedigree for racing, the Bronco Raptor is set to be the world’s first Ultra4 Off-Road Racing inspired SUV. Ultra4 Racing is among the most grueling anywhere, taking specialized kit cars far beyond where any normal vehicle would dare to go.
In collaboration with FOX, an off-road suspension company, the Bronco Raptor has an upgraded HOSS suspension with Live Valve technology and FOX 3.1 internal by-pass semi-automatic dampers. This essentially allows for the vehicle to remain relatively level while going over steep or non-lateral terrain while also providing support to the 4WD system. Additionally, the ride height has been increased to 13.1 inches of ground clearance, and increased underbody protection can be found in the form of full vehicle bash plates and protection for the transfer case, fuel tank, and transmission.
Exterior wise, the Raptor sees Ford embossing across the two-piece rectangular grille, fender flares, LED and Rigid fog lights, body side head extraction ducts to encourage engine cooling, and an available Raptor Graphics package with an overlapping trapezoidal hood and splatter pattern along the rear.
Inside, you have your choice between marine-grade vinyl or Raptor embossed neo suede seats, a 12’’ digital instrument cluster, leather-wrapped sport contoured steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters, and leather-wrapped outer seat bolsters to keep passengers in place and comfortable over rough terrain. It also gets seven G.O.A.T modes, advanced locking front and rear differentials, a 360-degree camera, and a ten speaker audio system with Bluetooth capability. You know, the other stuff.
When faced between an alligator and the Everglades Bronco, you’ll likely want to choose the latter. Designed with “the deep” in mind, the Everglades comes with an available, fully integrated, factory-installed snorkel with quick-swap reversible air vents, which raises the engine air intake allowing for better power in extreme conditions, like wading through alligator-infested waters, for instance.
This special edition package does really deliver on its namesake in terms of styling. A special color, Eruption Green, evokes the feeling of tall, sharp aquatic grasses and staring eyes. Adding to the aquatic nature of this vehicle are the marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized flooring with washout plugholes for the inevitable mess that comes with outdoor adventuring. Urban Green accents can be found in the seat stitching, grab handles, and climate control air vents.
The carbonized, rectangular grilles, along with front and rear wheel arches, have been squared to provide a more aggressive stance, with matching fender flares. Up front, we have a first for the Bronco lineup: a factory-installed, 10,000 lb ZEON 10-S Warn winch for pulling either yourself or a friend out of a tricky spot. The Sasquatch off-road package and HOSS 2.0 suspension come standard on Everglades, as well as 35” Goodyear Tires on 17” alloy wheels and seven G.O.A.T modes make this special edition Bronco ready to take on anything the wild can throw at it.
Become an Off-Roader in the Ford Bronco
So, if you’re one of the 15% who will take your off-roader where they are designed to excel, the Bronco will be more than worth your time to examine. Now with these two special editions, the Bronco is as capable as it has ever been of taking you where others wouldn’t dare: into the wild. If the spirit of adventure truly calls to you and you’re looking for a great vehicle to quench that thirst, put down the Jeep brochure and take a look at the 2022 Ford Bronco