Everyone expected the new Bronco Raptor to absolutely crush all off-road competitors. But even if Ford surpassed those expectations and nearly made the Wrangler obsolete, probably the most important question for potential Bronco Raptor owners was to ask whether an SUV was making big power gains and 37-inch tires would possibly handle well on the road. instead of out.
Of course, when? Ford lent me a so called “Braptor” for a week, I went straight into the dirt to test the four wheel capabilities. But the greatest revelation came in the city and on the highway, where the Bronco Raptor shines as a vehicle that does not have to sacrifice road dynamics, despite the obvious improvements in the terrain.
Ford’s new sports SUV
The Bronco Raptor arrives with a lot of pressure from Ford to topple the Wrangler amid Detroit’s escalating off-road wars. Ram took the F-150 up a notch with the TRX, Jeep unveiled the V8-powered Rubicon 392, and now Ford has brought out the big guns with a Bronco that essentially needs everything from an F-150 to a to create absolute monster.
The biggest tires on any SUV
For customers who really plan to go off-road with the Bronco Raptor, probably the most important detail comes under the huge wheel arches: a 37-inch set BFGoodrich All Terrain K02 Tires. Ford made sure everyone knew that no other SUV in history has ever left the factory with such huge shoes on – and yet, despite being 12.5 inches wide, the BFGs don’t really make much noise or dampen the dynamics. too bad.
At lower speeds there is a bit of tread noise when turning (especially with the windows down and thus presumably with the hood off), but overall Ford’s decision is to go with the A/T tires rather than legit mud terrains cater specifically to up to the large percentage of buyers who will spend almost all of their time driving in places not covered in grit and grime.
Twin-turbo torque from the 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6
Of course, a big power boost helps too – and becomes almost necessary due to the diameter of those 37’s. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 may not move as much as the F-150 Raptor’s engine, but it still pumps out a hefty 418 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. We know a V8 will fit in that engine bay too, so maybe Ford plans to pull a fast one and release a Bronco Raptor R to match the upcoming F-150 Raptor R sometime in the future.
10-speed automatic with GOAT modes
The EcoBoost’s low-end grunt fits perfectly with the 10-speed automatic that Ford and GM have developed together. At least it does in town – when off roading I have absolutely grown fond of the gearshift paddles for controlling the gearbox as it tends to want to change gears way too often in low traction situations leading to even more slippage and swing.
Even with the 10-speed, however, the Bronco Raptor gets terrible fuel economy. Buyers just have to settle for about 11 or 12 MPGs in real driving, as I have experienced.
Suspension upgrades all around
Aside from the drivetrain, of course, all of the shock absorption from Fox emerge as the real star of the show who together make the Bronco Raptor such an absurdly capable off-roader for a truck with independent front suspension. Ford also used a ton of parts from the F-150 Raptor to bolster the suspension, except for the LiveValve 3.1-inch shocks in steel spring coilovers.
Best of all, the shocks can be firmed or softened via buttons on the Bronco Raptor’s handlebars, in addition to using the GOAT dial to select Sport mode. And even in the canyons, this 5,733-pound rig that rides as high or higher than pretty much anything else on the road somehow manages to get closer to a sports car than a pickup truck, despite that he weighs just nine pounds less than his F-150 sibling.
The driver’s perspective
The controls for selecting individual settings on the handlebars also include throttle response and exhaust valves, plus handlebar weight. And a series of large piano-style buttons atop the dash give the Bronco Raptor off-road goodies like a decoupling front sway bar, locking differentials and the handy cornering aid.
None of those things really come to the fore when driving around town, although seeing over the large hood and high dashboard does prove to be one of the Bronco Raptor’s challenges. Where I could use the retro-style handles on the lower spec Broncos as a sort of flag for the corners of the square body, the Raptor version gets huge wheel arches that create an even bigger footprint in tighter city environments. I ended up moving my seat up and forward regularly—not just while off-roading—to get a better view of the entire truck throughout the week.
No ventilated seats
The Raptor package also includes upgraded seats, which offer much more support and comfort than the base Bronco, although the lack of air conditioning vents comes out as a huge oversight and mistake. Apparently, Ford believed that the vents could become clogged with debris as they shot around with the roof off. But popping the roof off on a hot day sounds so much more fun with ventilated seats!
Want more storage
Another odd detail that struck me when I lived with the Bronco Raptor is its sheer size. Because the aggressive design includes both a metal body flare and the plastic fender flares – both needed to cover the huge tires, in addition to the styling – the squared-off interior feels particularly small. On a base Bronco, the rear seats seem decent and the trunk adequate, but on such a large Raptor, the proportions make for a cramped feel.
And yet, all things considered, the Bronco Raptor will undoubtedly compete with a number of other luxury SUVs, especially the Mercedes-AMG G-Wagens and Land Rover’s new Defender. As dealer markers create simple six-figure price tags for this monstrous off-roader, the number of trucks that end up taking groceries to Whole Foods only grows. While that may seem like an embarrassment to anyone (including me) who likes what the Bronco can do off-road, Ford definitely built the Bronco Raptor to serve as an excellent mall crawler—and to some degree, the on-road driving dynamics actually. more impressive than the possibilities on four wheels.
Sources: ford.com, youtube.com, bfgoodrichtires.com and ridefox.com.