Ford rocked the automotive world when it brought the Bronco back in 2021 after a 25-year absence. However, rather than go for a retro look or slap the name Bronco on a run-of-the-mill midsize SUV, Ford decided to do something special with the resurrected Bronco. The decision was to make this SUV an off-roading marvel with more trims, options, engines, and available features than most other midsize SUVs being offered by other brands.
So, if you see a Ford Bronco for sale, you know you are getting something completely different from the usual SUVs and crossovers that seem to be popping up all over the road. As a result, this may be the right model for you. But, you need to know the things that make this special that may also give you pause. Keep in mind that this is not an SUV for everyone. It has specialized equipment and a design built for off-roading, so it may not appeal to many suburban family drivers and commuters. On the other hand, if you are ready for adventure, then a Ford Bronco may be right for you.
The Pros of the Ford Bronco
There are many things to recommend the Ford Bronco. Here are a few for you to consider in no particular order.
A Standard 4X4 drivetrain
Every Bronco model comes with standard four-wheel drive. This means that you don’t have to pay extra for this enhanced performance. It also means that the Bronco was designed from the wheels up as a 4X4 model. This is in contrast to most SUVs that are designed with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive offered as an option. As a result, these other models need to have an all-wheel drive retrofitted onto a different design. There is also a crucial difference between a 4X4 and all-wheel drive. The 4X4 delivers power to each wheel evenly. This makes four-wheel drive models like the Bronco ideal for off-roading. In contrast, all-wheel drive delivers power to each wheel independently, which is better for improving on-road traction.
Standard and Available Off-Road Equipment
Ford has equipped the Bronco with standard equipment for off-roading. This starts with a HOSS suspension system specifically designed for trail conditions. This stands for “high-performance, off-road, stability suspension,” and there are different levels and equipment depending on which trim level you choose on the Bronco. For example, some come with FOX internal bypass dampers or Bilstein position-sensitive dampers, some of the best shocks for off-roading. Together with the standard all-terrain or mud-terrain tires on the Bronco, you get exceptional ground clearance.
The Bronco also has items like front and rear tow hooks that will help if you get stuck on the trail. Depending on the trim level, you also get bash plates included or available as an option. These will help shield your undercarriage from rocks, logs, and other debris you may traverse. Many models also come with an electronic locking rear axle for improved traction. This works by locking the axle so the wheels can spin in unison, getting you out of some slippery situations.
Three Engines to Choose From
Ford offers three different turbocharged engines on the Bronco. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 may be small, but it is fierce, producing 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6 is larger, providing up to 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. However, the most powerful is the 3.0-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6 featured on the Bronco Raptor model. This provides an insane 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, allowing you to simply blow past the competition on or off the road.
G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any type of Terrain) Modes
No, it doesn’t stand for “greatest of all time,” but it should. The G.O.A.T. modes were first conceived as an idea back in the 60s, meaning “goes over any type of terrain.” However, this idea wasn’t realized until the Bronco was reintroduced in 2021. The G.O.A.T. modes are part of the Bronco’s standard Terrain Management System for its 4X4 drivetrain. These are six settings for normal, tow/haul, eco for improved fuel economy, sport for better acceleration, slippery for inclement conditions, and sand for greater traction. The higher trims also add other G.O.A.T. modes like Mud/Ruts, Baja for sand dunes, and Rock Crawl for getting up and down steep, rocky inclines. Once you’ve tried these on your Bronco, you will be convinced that it does mean “greatest of all time.”
A Choice of Four-Door or Two-Door Models
Most trims on the Bronco give drivers the choice of a two-door or four-door model. The two-door Broncos seat up to four passengers, while the four-door models have room for five. Ford leaves it up to you to decide which one you prefer.
Removable Doors and Roof
You can choose a number of different roof styles on your Bronco, including a soft top, a hardtop made of carbonized molded-in-color, a modular hardtop, and even a dual top that combines a soft top with either a modular hardtop or carbonized molded-in-color. Each of these is removable, as well as all of the doors. This allows you to let the outdoors inside when you are out trail running. You can even add tube doors to increase safety and shield your passengers from any stray brush when you are off-roading. Best of all, there is room in the Bronco’s trunk to store them when you are riding with the roof and doors off.
Ample Cargo Room
Speaking of the trunk, the Bronco provides a surprising amount of trunk space. The two-door model will give you up to 23.6 cu.ft. of space, while most four-door Broncos provide up to 35.6 cu.ft. for your belongings. With the rear seats down, this opens up to 52.3 cu.ft. of space on the two-door model and 77.6 cu.ft. for the four-door model.
The Sasquatch Is More Than Just a Legend
The Sasquatch is not just a crypto-zoological beast but a package available on all models of the Bronco. This adds 35-inch mud-terrain tires on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels. This will not only give your ground clearance a nice little boost. It will also provide incredible grip and traction. The Sasquatch also includes electronic-locking front and rear axles and high-clearance fender flares. This package is included on the Everglades, Wildtrak, Heritage Edition, and Heritage Limited Edition models.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Bronco
Before you buy a Bronco, there are a few things you should be aware of in making that decision. As already mentioned, this is not an SUV for every type of driver. While the Bronco is as much at home in the wilderness as it is in the city, you need to think about what you will be using the Bronco for, as it is more than just a vehicle to get you from point A to point B.
Depending on which engine you choose, you are not going to get exceptional fuel economy on your Bronco, but for off-road enthusiasts, it’s a fair trade. For example, models with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 will give you up to 20 MPG in combined fuel economy, while those with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6 are slightly less. Meanwhile, the Bronco Raptor gets 15 MPG in combined fuel economy. Interestingly enough, the city driving fuel economy numbers are almost identical for the highway gas mileage. This is due to the standard 4X4 drivetrain on the Bronco. So, if you are a commuter looking for exceptional fuel economy numbers, then the Bronco may not be for you.
The Base Model Has Been Discontinued
For the 2024 Bronco, Ford has discontinued the aptly named Base model. This means that the entry-level model is now the Big Bend. While this increases the number of standard features on all Bronco models, it also means the base MSRP of the 2024 Ford Bronco sees an increase of almost $5,000 simply through the elimination of one trim level option.
The Manual Transmission Is Only Available on One Engine
All three engines on the Bronco come with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is a very responsive transmission that comes with Trail Control, a form of cruise control designed for off-roading. However, some drivers prefer a manual transmission, giving them better control over the performance of their vehicle. Unfortunately, only the Bronco with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 features an available 7-speed manual transmission. This means your Bronco will not have a manual transmission option if you choose one with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6 or the 3.0-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6.
The Bronco Is a Great Investment for a Certain Type of Driver
The Ford Bronco may not be for everyone, but it may be the one for you.
Ford has brought the Bronco back as an off-road marvel. This packs so much into a midsize SUV that it is impossible to cover all of its aspects in one article. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that the Bronco is not for everyone. But if you are looking for an SUV that is built for adventure and ready to take on the off-road trail right off the dealer’s lot, then the Bronco may be your next ride.