2023 Ford Bronco Raptor: The Jalopnik Evaluation

2023 Ford Bronco Raptor: The Jalopnik Evaluation
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor: The Jalopnik Evaluation

Ever for the reason that new Bronco was introduced again in 2020, folks demanded a Bronco Raptor that may embrace the desert-destroying ethos of the now-legendary F-150 Raptor. Now that the Bronco Raptor exists, it appears to be nearly precisely what everybody wished, at the very least on paper. However does an SUV so targeted on off-road efficiency actually work as a every day driver?

First, the fundamentals. The 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor is out there solely with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that produces 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. Certain, this engine is smaller and fewer potent than the three.5-liter EcoBoost V6 discovered within the F-150 Raptor, however the Bronco is smaller and lighter. The three.0-liter V6 is paired solely with a 10-speed computerized transmission and on-demand four-wheel drive with each a excessive and low vary.

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The excellent news about this drivetrain is that it feels at residence in nearly each driving scenario. On paved roads and on the town? Plenty of low-down torque makes the Braptor soar off the road. Off-road? You may simply throw big roosts of grime and sand. Sadly, nonetheless, as a part of the Raptor therapy, Ford added a multi-mode efficiency exhaust, and let me let you know, it makes that V6 sound like ass in the whole lot however Quiet mode. The mixed engine and exhaust noise is toneless, droning and unsightly, and the much less of it I hear, the higher.

The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 in the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photograph: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

After all, the drivetrain isn’t precisely the star of the present. That honor goes to the Braptor’s Excessive-Velocity Off-Highway Suspension System 4.0 suspension (aka H.O.S.S.). New {hardware} contains 3.1-inch internal-bypass Fox shocks in any respect 4 corners in addition to revised suspension hyperlinks and new shock tower mounts. This offers the Bronco Raptor 13 inches of entrance suspension journey and 14 inches of journey within the rear. Enjoyable truth: At 77.8 inches tall, the Bronco Raptor is definitely too massive for Ford’s meeting line. To repair this, Ford created additional bolt holes within the suspension to basically lock the Bronco right into a decrease experience top till it’s able to roll out the door.

The result of this comprehensive rework, along with a big set of 37-inch BFGoodrich T/A K02 tires, creates a mix of incredible off-road capability and remarkably good on-road manners. I say remarkably good because, thanks to the reasonably taut suspension, the Bronco Raptor is not only not-terrifying on a twisty road, it’s actually fun. Sure, this SUV is huge and so wide it requires three federally mandated central orange marker lights, but it also doesn’t feel as though it will lose its composure should I take it up a canyon road.

The HOSS 4.0 suspension on the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

In the dirt, the sense that I can go anywhere and do anything — so long as the trail doesn’t get too narrow — is almost overwhelming. The Bronco Raptor makes anyone look and feel like a superhero off-road, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s good in that you can get places you wouldn’t normally go, but you can also reach places you maybe shouldn’t go. For example, during my off-road day with the Raptor, I managed to pull an Austrian Pinzgauer out of a mud hole, which feels insanely impressive. Conversely, I constantly found myself threading the needle on tight trails trying not to rip the Raptor’s tacked-on fender flares off on a tree. With great capability comes great responsibility.

The rest of the Raptor experience is pretty normal relative to lesser Broncos. You can use it as a daily driver, though good luck parking anywhere in a busy city thanks to its size. The interior is rugged but comfortable, and the large 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system works great. I also like that wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. Being that the Bronco Raptor has a removable roof, wind noise is very noticeable, and a metric boatload of tire noise only exacerbates that unpleasantness. Then again, this is really a case of “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

A rear-three-quarters view of the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor in the dirt

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Tech in the Bronco Raptor is pretty good, as one would expect from a new Ford. A 360-degree camera system is standard, which is good because you’ll need it pretty regularly. The 12-inch digital dash is also nice, and the base stereo doesn’t suck, even with the boomy interior. Overall, cabin room is great, and since the Raptor is based on the four-door version of the Bronco, cargo space is reasonably plentiful for such a purpose-built vehicle, especially with the rear seats folded down.

Being the top of the Bronco trim stack, the Raptor’s option list is brief. There’s a $2,300 luxury package that includes features like steering assist, adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging, the upgraded Bang & Olufsen stereo and a heated steering wheel. This is a smart buy; all prospective Braptor owners should consider it. Then there are add-ons like forged beadlock-capable wheels, which look cool, but at $1,995, you might want to check out aftermarket offerings first.

The black interior on the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The only options on my test truck were the Hot Pepper Red paint, a keyless entry pad, those beadlock-capable wheels I mentioned and leather seats. The sticker on this vehicle – which is actually a 2022 model, not a 2023 – comes in at $74,690, including a $1,595 destination fee. Here’s the kicker: The same vehicle on Ford’s 2023 model year configurator commands a whopping $83,470.

I wanted answers, so I reached out to Ford. Mike Levine, director of North American product communications, confirmed that there are no equipment or option-package changes between the 2022 and 2023 Bronco Raptor, and offered the following statement:

“Bronco remains one of our most popular vehicles and we continue to sell every Bronco Raptor we produce.”

That’s a nice way of saying that Ford thinks it’ll sell all the Raptors it makes regardless of how much it charges for them.

The front seats of the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The truth is, even without that colossal price hike, the Bronco Raptor is a terrible deal. Sure, it’s an awesome SUV that’s unspeakably good off-road, but for significantly less cash, you can get something like a Bronco Wildtrak that will likely do 95 percent of the stuff the Braptor does, at a starting price that’s around $20,000 less.

The Bronco Raptor is an incredible machine that makes you feel like a hero while looking like a real world-class meathead. It’s more off-roader than all but the most hardcore desert pre-runners will need, and it offers a surprising level of comfort and refinement. Ford did a hell of a job with this one, and unnecessary as it might be, it’s 100-percent Raptor.

Side profile view of a red 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Front three quarters view of the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The front fender of a red 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Front grille of the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

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