In the animal kingdom, a raptor is defined as a bird known for taking down prey that is large relative to its own size. This type of predatory dominance is achieved with a body and mind fine-tuned for hunting. All things considered, Raptor is a fine name to designate Ford’s thrilling line of off-roading vehicles. The 2022 Ford Bronco is the latest in Ford’s lineup to join the Raptor family, predated by the F-150 and Ranger pickups. The Bronco Raptor captures the spirit of a bird of prey, with each and every detail carefully designed to optimize performance in grueling conditions. From the wheels to the ECU, every bit of the newest Raptor is working together towards the goal of being the wildest Ford yet.
It Starts With the Wheels
Of all the technology found in cars, none is more elegant or ancient than the wheel. It serves as the connecting force between a vehicle and the ground it traverses. Simple as it may be, the wheel is truly what makes the car world go round. Ford understands the importance of the wheel, a fact illustrated by the Bronco Raptor. While many off-road models are content to use moderately-sized all-terrain tires on standard wheel designs, Ford went all-out.
The Bronco Raptor dominates the competition with its colossal 37-inch all-terrain tires. They’re the largest of any production vehicle in the United States. They’re paired with 17-inch beadlock-compatible wheels, meaning the tires can be fastened to them for a foundation that’s extra sturdy. The Bronco Raptor’s resulting ground clearance of 13.1 inches is nothing short of impressive, giving it the ability to crawl over larger obstacles. Even the spare tire carrier is more heavy-duty than the standard Bronco’s to accommodate the added weight of the tire.
A good suspension is key for successful off-roading. It needs to be able to absorb heavy shocks in order to prevent the damage most vehicles would suffer when thrown several feet into the air. The Bronco Raptor’s suspension is the result of sophisticated design work and has the chops to accommodate 1,000 lbs of damping force per shock. To make the Bronco Raptor the desert-soaring racer that it is, Ford Performance collaborated with FOX––the authority on shocks built for high-speed off-roading.
The High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) 4.0 system is paired with FOX’s Live Valve technology to actively monitor terrain and adjust damping accordingly. Several sensors located in different areas detect road conditions hundreds of times per second. FOX gets that, in the case of the Bronco Raptor, bigger is better, which is why they included supersized 3.1-inch shock bodies, which help the vehicle drive faster with more control during off-roading conditions. Ford Performance also developed the Bronco Raptor’s special front and rear control arms, allowing for 13 inches of travel at the front and 14 inches of travel at the rear, an increase of 60% and 40% from the standard Bronco, respectively.
A Roaring Engine
The heart of any vehicle is undoubtedly its engine. It’s the driving force behind any vehicle’s strength, contributing heavily to more muscular endeavors, like maximum speed and towing capacity. The base Bronco comes standard with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-4 that can turn out 300 hp. The Bronco Raptor, on the other hand, is powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that is slated to get over 400 hp with the help of two turbochargers. It’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Raptor’s towing capacity is increased to 4,500 lbs––up 1,000 lbs from the 3,500 lb towing capacity of the standard Bronco.
Bright Off-Road Lighting
Visibility and lighting are hugely important for off-roading vehicles. It’s crucial to be able to survey your surroundings, so you can maneuver around and over obstacles safely. Easy enough when you’re on a paved surface with street lamps lighting the way for you, but these luxuries are not afforded when you’re off the grid. When behind the wheel of a Bronco Raptor, you’re sure to be able to keep a sharp eye on your surroundings, thanks to ample lighting.
The front of the vehicle is equipped with four LED fog lights, two of which have removable caps to keep things street legal. It has LED headlights with amber daytime running lamps, which help the driver see in dark conditions and tie the vehicle to the Raptor family and distinguish it from the rest of the Bronco lineup. Like the F-150 Raptor, the Bronco Raptor has additional orange lights on the grille and side mirrors. There is also extra red lighting on the rear. This is government-mandated due to the vehicle’s extreme width––85.7 inches with mirrors folded.
A Beefed Up Body
The Bronco Raptor’s last line of defense is its body. You don’t want to take a hit, but if you do, you need to count on your vehicle to be able to take it on the chin. The standard Bronco is already sturdier than the average vehicle, but the Bronco Raptor ups the ante with added protection. For starters, it’s offered as a hardtop only, although the top––along with the doors––are removable for drivers seeking an open-air experience. Further reinforcement was added to the Raptor, adding 50% more rigidity. The underbelly is protected by heavy-duty steel skid plates that run along the undercarriage. It also has two tow hooks each on the front and rear, in case a recovery effort is necessary.
A Smarter Raptor
A car’s ECU is like its brain; it’s a critical part of any modern vehicle’s performance. The inclusion of ECUs has allowed for smarter driving and a vehicle that can adapt to different conditions. The Bronco Raptor is tuned straight from the factory to tackle unsavory terrains at high speeds, fly over obstacles, and crawl over boulders. Smart as it is, the Bronco Raptor also has different driving modes and driver assistance systems that can be activated for an even more intuitive ride.
For example, there’s Trail Control, which is like cruise control only tailored specifically for off-roading conditions. Trail One-Pedal Drive allows the driver to accelerate and brake using just the gas pedal, so they can focus more on the path ahead instead of the pedals below. There’s also Trail Turn Assist, which will tighten up the vehicle’s turning radius for finer maneuvering, as well as Hill Start Assist, which helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when stopped on a slope. In addition to these features, the Bronco Raptor is equipped with a terrain management system called G.O.A.T. Modes, which stands for Go Over Any Type of Terrain. It has seven different modes: Normal, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja.
Top of the Food Chain
The fastest animal on the planet is the peregrine falcon––a raptor. When doing a high-speed dive, it has been recorded to reach speeds surpassing 240 mph. No matter how it’s applied, the word raptor is sure to signify excellence. Since it was first announced that the nameplate was being exhumed, the Bronco has been making waves. Never has the vehicle been more diverse and accessible while offering performance that surpasses that of the beloved classic Bronco. The new Bronco Raptor tops any other Bronco as far as capability goes and continues the legacy of greatness the Bronco and Raptor names have become synonymous with.