The long awaited modern-day Ford Bronco has been a hit. So what could make it better? Make it faster, better off-road, and look more bad-ass. That’s the Ford Bronco Raptor.
Like the first F-150 Raptor from a decade ago, the Raptor nameplate on the 2022 Ford Bronco brings with it a truck-load of high-end suspension, chassis, engine, interior, and exterior modifications that muscle it up by almost a factor of two compared to a base model Bronco. Most importantly, the Raptor nameplate brings an iconic and legendary status paved way by said F-150.
Available only in a long-wheelbase 4-door configuration, the Bronco Raptor comes with an entirely unique frame and suspension that features a taller ride height and ground clearance of 13.1-inches. Suspension travel front is 13-inches, rear 14-inches. Approach, departure and breakover angles are all vastly superior. Bigger tires! 17-inch alloy wheels are wrapped with 37-inch meats.
Making it all bang like a drum corps are a set of constantly adaptive 3.1-inch diameter Fox Shox that tame the rough when it’s needed and give high-speed stability both on and off-road at the other end. They are constantly adjusting depending on drive mode and what you’re up to. It has a disconnecting front sway bar, front and rear locking differentials and skid plates galore.
Powering its 5,733 pound heft around the planet soft and hard is its high-output 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission good for 418 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. It all flows through a transfer case that can step down to a 67.7:1 crawl ratio in 4L.
How does it work? Awesome. Power and torque are just right for slow speed maneuvering with a throttle tip-in and off-line grunt that is well befitting of an off-roader. It’s impressive given the small displacement nature of the engine, but a feat aided by its 4.7:1 axle ratios.
At speed the engine winds out with passion and assertion in a way that tells you that it’s working hard, but not too hard. It never feels over stressed. It sounds beautiful, aided by an adjustable exhaust beat that can be quiet to loud in four different levels. Nice.
In the rough, it handles amazingly agile and is more maneuverable than one might think for its size. At 9.8-inches wider, it’s big but that’s all wheels. It’s narrow body helps it get into and out of spots easily and its turning circle impressively tight.
The chassis never makes you wonder. It’s solid as a rock over this and that slow or fast, no noises and no creaks. This is a tool for off-roading that feels good in the hand for both a novice and a pro.
Sitting behind the wheel is nice too with leather and suede sport seats that made us feel like hanging out there all damn day. They are supportive and comfortable, at least up front. The rear seat is no fun. We did like the trim and treatment details inside, especially the carbon fiber package and its thicker sport steering wheel.
At $74,425 it’s the most expensive showroom Bronco you can get, and you can still spend more. It sounds like a mint but compared to other options on the planet for off-road toys, it’s not that nuts. What’s nuts is what dealerships are tacking onto them – another battle for another day.
At sticker, we’d buy it today. It makes our “Id Buy It” list for 2022.