The Bronco is back and better than ever. Ford revived the iconic SUV in 2021 after a 25-year hiatus, bringing it back just in time to capitalize on the growing appetite for off-road-ready SUVs. The Bronco fits the bill to a T, offering a robust lineup of trims that can hang with some of the most rugged SUVs around. In addition to its considered off-road resume, the 2022 Ford Bronco has a distinctive look that immediately sets it apart from the crowd, with two-tone styling, rounded edges, and sporty styling.
Ford has long sought an SUV that can compete with the off-road reputation of the category-leading Jeep Wrangler, and they might have just found their champion in the 2022 Bronco. The Ford builds on many of the features that have made the Jeep so popular over the years - endless customization, removable windows and roofs, and add-ons galore - to produce its own version of an adventure-ready 4x4 that operates just as smoothly on city streets as it does on the dusty trail. Even going into its second year, there’s still a lot of buzz around the 2022 Bronco, so let's take a closer look and see what all the excitement is about.
Thanks to Ford’s innovative EcoBoost engines, the Bronco is able to deliver plenty of power even without a V8 option. The 2022 Bronco comes standard with a 2.3-liter, I-4 engine that’s capable of pumping out 300 horsepower and 325-pound feet of torque. While this setup is fine for drivers who don’t plan on getting too wild with their Broncos, those seeking a little more power for off-road antics should consider upgrading to either the 2.7-liter or Raptor-only 3.0-liter V6.
The 2.7-liter is a noticeable improvement over the base engine, offering the sort of instant acceleration that’ll come in handy when trying to pass other vehicles thanks to its 330 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Those looking to truly max out their Bronco experience couldn’t do any better than the uppermost trim level, the Bronco Raptor, which transforms the SUV into a high-performance off-road machine capable of hanging with today’s new breed of so-called supertrucks. The Bronco Raptor is truly its own beast, so we won’t spend too much time focusing on it here, but suffice it to say the 400 horsepower V6 won’t leave drivers disappointed.
While many SUVs offer all the looks of a capable 4-wheeler without delivering where it counts, all Broncos come standard with 4WD. Drivers seeking a manual transmission will be limited to the smaller 2.3-liter engine, but a smoothly-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission is available on all engine sizes. The suspension is another area where Ford has managed to beat Jeep at its own game, with an independent front suspension that makes the Wrangler’s front stick axle look a little old-fashioned by comparison.
Independent front suspensions (IFS) allow each wheel to move on its own, providing a smoother ride with more responsive handling. A solid axle might work well when it comes to activities like rock-crawling, but assuming you’re not using the Grand Canyon as a shortcut to get to work, the improved ride quality offered by the IFS is the clear winner. Truck-based SUVs are always going to offer a slightly bumpier ride than their unibody counterparts, but the IFS goes a long way in closing the gap.
Auto brands have been having a lot of fun with acronyms lately (see GM’s W.O.W. mode), and Ford is eager to get it on the action. In a move that goes a long way in improving the Bronco’s off-road functionality, Ford’s included a new terrain-management system dubbed Go Over Any Type of Terrain (G.O.A.T.) modes. These eight distinct modes allow drivers to tackle a variety of surfaces with confidence, whether it be rocks, snow, sand, or mud. The system adjusts a number of components within the SUV, from disconnecting the front sway bar and locking differentials to disengaging or engaging traction control, giving drivers the ability to tailor the Bronco to whatever conditions they might encounter.
In Normal mode, the Bronco is a well-rounded everyday driver, though any driver seeking to save a little cash can easily switch to ECO mode for improved fuel efficiency. In Sport mode, the Bronco gets an extra kick of power, and Slippery mode is ideal for rainy, snowy, or otherwise slick conditions. Sand mode is perfect for navigating sand and other loose surfaces, but if you really want to step it up, it’s an easy switch to desert-racing-inspired Baja mode. Mud/Ruts mode is a must-have for any off-roading, and with Rock Crawl mode, the Bronco can navigate some steeper surfaces with ease. The base model Bronco has five G.O.A.T. modes, while upper times offer as many as seven options.
True to its equine-inspired name, the Bronco is bucking all the trends when it comes to exterior styling. The SUV is an immediate stand-out on any highway or parking lot, with a blocky, angular look that’s a true throwback. This is no coincidence as the design team at Ford did their research, going to the archives and digitally scanning an original 1976 Bronco to serve as a reference for the modern iteration. The result is a retro-inspired SUV that integrates some of the best visual cues from the Bronco’s past while leaving some of the more regrettable late-'70s design flourishes behind.
The real headline here is the Bronco’s versatility. Drivers will have the option to drastically change the Bronco’s looks at a moment’s notice, thanks to the removable body panels and frameless doors. The SUV is available in both two and four-door models, with the two-door version offering a wider entrance that makes getting into the backseat a whole lot more convenient. While purists might appreciate the two-door configuration, those seeking something roomier will appreciate the family-friendly four-door model. The four-door Bronco also has a longer wheelbase with 50 percent more cargo room over the two-door model, meaning drivers don’t need to sacrifice when it comes to storage.
Two doors still too many? Well, thankfully, there’s also a no-door option as the Bronco’s doors can all be removed and stored in the cargo area. This stowability is a particularly useful feature, allowing drivers to make the switch mid-ride should the weather decide not to cooperate. Ford had the foresight to attach the rearview mirrors to the body instead of the doors themselves, which means no skimping on safety when riding doorless. Drivers who still want some level of security have no shortage of aftermarket replacements to choose from, with Ford’s Performance Accessories division offering some particularly striking matte black tube doors.
If the no-doors style still seems too stuffy, have no fear. Both hardtop and soft top versions of the Bronco feature removable roofs, with the hardtop version designed to be light enough to be uninstalled by one person. The Carbonized Gray molded-in-color hardtop actually has four distinct roof configurations: partially removed (exposing the first row), half-removed (second row), and fully removed (entire vehicle including trunk). The roof panels can be stored on-board in the trunk, which, like the doors, really up the game in terms of convenience. The soft-top model features a roof that can easily be rolled back to expose both rows and the trunk or removed altogether for those especially sunny, wind-in-your-hair kind of days. Drivers seeking an open-air experience with some of the hassle can opt for available accessory tops like the Mesh Bimini Top, which is both mildew-resistant and provides UV protection.
Rounding out the exterior features, the 2022 Bronco comes with raised black brackets on the edge of the hood. These not only aid in navigation in off-road scenarios but serve as handy tie-down points and accessory mounts. Speaking of accessories, the SUV’s available heavy-duty modular front bumper can be customized with a winch, safari bar, or pod lights and integrated end caps, which improve clearance while protecting the Bronco’s grille and fenders.
Available in six distinct trims, the 2022 Ford Bronco can be configured to meet any driver’s taste.
Slotting in one notch above the base model Bronco, the Big Bend trim adds a few styling and performance upgrades. These include 17-inch tires, as well as Carbonized Gray-finished aluminum alloy wheels. The interior gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear level, adding a touch of class to the SUV without a drastic jump in price. The base Bronco comes with five G.O.A.T. modes - Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand - and Big Bend models see the addition of a Mud/Ruts mode, a must-have for any off-road journeys.
Perfect for any driver who plans on making the most of the Bronco’s off-road capabilities, the Black Diamond trim features marine-grade vinyl-trimmed seats and rubberized flooring with drain plugs. With the doors or roof removed, the Bronco is especially vulnerable to the elements, but these features make post-drive chores easier than ever with surfaces designed for easy clean-up. The Black Diamond trim also includes 17-inch black-painted steel wheels, and a powder-coated steel front bumper with LED fog lamps and tow hooks add to the SUV’s off-road cred. The Black Diamond trim also features an additional G.O.A.T. mode known as Rock Crawl, bringing the total number of driving modes to seven.
The Outer Banks trim is here to prove that luxury and adventure aren’t mutually exclusive. The trim does see the addition of 18-inch tires, powder-coated side steps, and LED front headlamps and fog lamps, but most of the notable features can be found in the interior. The Outer Banks trim is packed with those creature features that truly set luxury-leaning vehicles apart, such as a remote start system, intelligent access with push-button start, and a SYNC 4 infotainment system with enhanced voice recognition.
This version of the Bronco sees a number of safety upgrades as well, including a reverse sensing system, land keeping system, and BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert. As this version isn’t really intended for heavy off-road use, Rock Crawl G.O.A.T. mode isn’t available on the Outer Banks trim, bringing the total number of modes back down to six. Those bold enough to take the Outer Banks model off-road will appreciate the inclusion of Ford’s Trail Turn Assist, which increases the Bronco’s maneuverability on tight trails by applying brakes on the inside rear wheel to improve its turning radius.
Another trim designed with the trail in mind, the Badlands trim features all the extras found on the Outer Banks trim while upping its game in terms of off-road performance. Rock Crawl G.O.A.T. mode is back in the mix, bringing the total number of customizable driving does back up to seven, but that’s not all. The Badlands trim includes an advanced 4x4 system with automatic on-demand engagement, electronic locking front and rear differentials, and Bilstein position-sensitive monotube shocks. These features should go a long way in upping any driver’s off-road confidence, and the upgraded bash plates and rock rails mean that even if you do get a little too ambitious, you have a nice safety net to fall back on. The Badlands trim also borrows the Black Diamond’s marine-grade vinyl-trimmed seating, which is well-appreciated on an SUV designed for serious off-roading.
The Wildtrax trim represents a step-up in performance with the inclusion of a 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. This trim includes all the features found on the Badlands model, with the most notable addition being the inclusion of the Sasquatch package, which is available on all trims but only comes standard at the Wildtrax level and above. This package doesn’t feature extra-large pedals but rather a host of off-road-ready performance upgrades such as a shorter 4.7:1 final drive ratio instead of 4.46:1 (manual transmission) or 3.73:1 (automatic transmission), Bilstein shocks, one pedal trail driving, locking front and rear axles, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheel and thick 35-inch tires perfect for tearing through some mud. The Bronco’s body gets a suspension lift kit and higher fender flares as part of the Sasquatch package, which, along with the inclusion of seven G.O.A.T. modes, has the Wildtrax ready for whatever awaits.
There’s off-roading, and then there’s leaving dry land altogether. As the name might suggest, the Everglades trim is ideal for drivers who expect to get a little wet and wild, packed with all the necessary upgrades to ensure a ride through swampy conditions doesn’t end in a swamped vehicle. Modeled on the Black Diamond trim, the Everglades sees the addition of the Sasquatch package along with a 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4 engine with 10-speed automatic transmission and Ford Performance heavy-duty modular bumper. These features, along with the molded-in-color hardtop roof with roof rack and crossbars, are a nice inclusion, but it’s the Everglades’ raised air vent plumbing and air snorkel that really help the trim stand out.
The raised plumbing allows the Bronco to gain almost 3-inches in safe-wading depth, and the air snorkel helps to keep dust, snow, and water from clogging the SUV’s air intake. This marks a first for Ford, as the brand has never before included a factory-installed engine intake snorkel. The vent can quickly be transformed to face backward, which helps to prevent it from collecting rain or snow when moving at high speeds. Bonus: the Everglades’ unique front graphic doubles as a depth meter to gauge how deep the water is before you go diving in. In addition, the Everglades includes seven G.O.A.T. modes.