Attention, Ford Bronco owners: please go get your vehicle dirty. There are enough mall crawlers out there without adding to it, and the Ford Bronco is undoubtedly one of the best off-road SUVs on the market. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best. It certainly has my vote, at least when it comes to that title. While plenty of drivers will stay loyal to their Jeep Wranglers, there’s no denying that the Bronco has given it a run for its money. Part of this is because of how Ford has designed this beast, but a lot of it comes down to the engineering and capability it delivers.
Whether you’re interested in a 2024 Ford Bronco or simply like to know what different off-road SUVs can do, you owe it to yourself to take a good look at this trail-dominating monster. The smaller Bronco Sport is great for folks who want a compact crossover that can easily fit into their lives and take them to the trail. For everyone else, the standard Bronco is the way to go, but you don’t have to take my word for it—I’ll show you why I think the Bronco is the best off-road SUV out there right now.
Thing #1: Powerful Engines Ready to Deliver
Engines might not be the most important factor in a great off-road SUV, but they certainly matter. I’m so happy to see that Ford has given the Bronco two impressive powertrains designed to get you anywhere you want to go. For starters, the Bronco’s 2.3L EcoBoost Turbo I-4 engine delivers 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. If that’s not good enough, then Ford follows it up with an available 2.7L EcoBoost Turbo V6 that offers 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque.
You really can’t go wrong with either of these engines; they both come with four-wheel drive standard, of course. One particularly nice feature is that the standard engine is available with either a 10-speed automatic transmission or a seven-speed manual, depending on the trim level and options you’re looking at. With manual transmissions becoming such a rarity, it’s nice to see an off-road SUV that can hand over total control to its driver.
Thing #2: Amazing Clearance, Water Fording, and Design
An off-road vehicle is only as good as its ability to tackle varied and challenging terrain. Otherwise, any old SUV with all-wheel drive could get the job done. One of the main ways the Bronco lets you go anywhere you can imagine is thanks to the incredible work Ford’s engineers have put into ensuring it can tackle anything. Most models offer 11.6 inches of ground clearance and 33.5 inches of water fording capability; the impressive Everglades model goes even further with 11.7 inches of clearance and 36.4 inches of water fording. With the Ford Bronco, you’ll also find an approach angle of 43.2 degrees, a breakover angle of 29 degrees, and a departure angle of 37.2 degrees. Altogether, this lets it climb over just about anything, clear big obstacles without scraping its underside, and splash through just about any creek or stream and keep on going. In case things get rough, standard bash plates for the front section and full underbody protect the fuel tank, engine/transmission, and transfer case to keep important components in one piece.
Thing #3: High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS)
You simply can’t talk about an off-road SUV without talking about its suspension; not only does the suspension help keep you more comfortable when the going gets rough, but it allows for greater articulation and wheel travel to ensure you can successfully tackle anything the trail throws at you. The Ford Bronco goes above and beyond other off-road SUVs thanks to its HOSS system that has evolved to offer numerous versions. Standard HOSS 1.0 gives you twin forged alloy A-arms with long-travel coil-over springs plus heavy-duty dampers in front and back. At the same time, HOSS 2.0 brings in Bilstein Position-Sensitive dampers for a smooth ride and superior articulation. With select models, you’ll find HOSS 3.0, which features Live Valve Internal Bypass Semi-Active dampers, Ford Performance severe-duty steering rack and tie rod ends, and those same front steel bash plates that help make the Bronco the king of the trail.
Thing #4: Goes Over Any Type of Terrain (GOAT) Modes
Alongside the incredible HOSS system, the GOAT modes found on the Ford Bronco elevate its ability to handle the trail and anything you encounter. GOAT modes are Ford’s terrain management system for the Bronco, featuring multiple modes you can choose from to control acceleration, handling, traction, and more, depending on your driving conditions. You’ll find Sport, Eco, and Normal modes for everyday driving, Slippery mode for slushy and wet conditions, and Sand/Snow for drifts that require more robust traction to maintain control. Some trims, like the Wildtrak and Badlands, have additional modes such as Mud/Ruts for particularly sloppy, uneven conditions where you need extra power to maintain momentum and Baja (replacing Sport mode on some models) for high-speed off-roading on loose terrain and sand.
Thing #5: The Off-Road Hero Switches
On the dashboard of the Ford Bronco, you’ll find switches that let you easily engage and disengage different off-road systems. These include front-locking and rear-locking differentials to let each wheel spin at the same speed and with the same torque for extra traction when needed. Certain trims even let you flip a switch to disconnect the front stabilizer bar, so you don’t have to crawl under the Bronco if you’re in a tough spot—it’ll automatically reconnect once you go over a certain speed. Such controls make it easy to adapt to whatever the trail throws at you on the fly.
Thing #6: Advanced Off-Road Technology
Those impressive GOAT Modes aren’t the only advanced technology you’ll find in the Bronco. Ford has gone all out with more systems such as Trail Turn Assist, which applies the brake to the inside rear wheel while maneuvering at low speeds to deliver a tighter turning radius, or Ford Trail Control, which acts like cruise control while you’re on the trail, maintaining a steady speed so you can focus on steering. Similarly, Trail 1-Pedal Drive lets you use the accelerator pedal exclusively for off-road driving, so you can focus more on maneuvering in tough situations without switching your foot between pedals.
Thing #7: The Ford Bronco Raptor
Ford fans already know the premier name in off-road power and performance is “Raptor”—by bringing this legendary option to the Bronco, Ford has entirely taken things to another level. The Bronco Raptor features six GOAT Modes, 37-inch all-terrain tires, and an incredible 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. This thing is an absolute monster with an exclusive HOSS 4.0 system, FOX Live Valve Internal Bypass Semi-Active dampers, and much more. This is more off-road SUV than most people need, but for anyone looking to go where other vehicles fear to tread, the Bronco Raptor can’t be beat.
What More Are You Looking For?
It’s pretty easy to see why Ford fans have been so excited about the Bronco ever since it was first revealed—with improvements year after year, that excitement has only continued to grow. For drivers looking for the ultimate off-road SUV, the Bronco is unsurpassed, and it empowers us fans of the trail to go further and challenge ourselves more than ever before. It feels almost sinful to see a Ford Bronco that’s sparkling clean, without a spot of dirt or mud on it. The Bronco was born to go out and play far beyond where the pavement ends, giving drivers the tools to leave civilization behind and drive past where other vehicles have to call it quits. This SUV is seeking the bold and adventurous— those are exactly the sorts of drivers who have found it.