In the true 4x4 vehicle sector, there are few options. First, today people prefer virtual adventures, and many SUV-type trucks claim to be capable of taking the family on dirt trails. But for hobbyists who want to go to the remotest places, making an all-terrain vehicle is very expensive for car manufacturers.
Ford revived its iconic Bronco, and it appears, based on sales, that demand is higher than expected. And even though they are selling like hotcakes, now it launches a version that becomes the most potent Bronco in history.
The Bronco Raptor is the new addition to the range of vehicles capable of devouring everything that comes in front of it on the road. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine makes 418 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, as mighty as the best V8s.
The engine is matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission similar to the one used in other Blue Oval brand products. I realized that it works a lot. It makes constant gear changes to ensure the engine's power is used at all times. Both on the highway and over the most demanding trails, the transmission seeks to keep the machine around 2,000-2,500 rpm.
The GOAT (Goes Over Any Terrain) system is straightforward, requiring only the turn of a large knob on the center console. Its location allows the transition between 2WD and 4wd while one has the left hand on the wheel, and with the right, one turns the control to select between the options "Sand – Snow – Rocks- ."
What makes the Raptor different is not only the engine. It has substantial 37-inch tires that raise the car a couple of inches—giving it an aggressive stance and the ability to overcome obstacles on the most demanding trails.
The suspension is also notable in this model. FOX shocks with valves and reservoir chambers for the special fluid are the collaborative result of engineers from both factories. These dampers change the flow of the fluid according to the speed of the movement of the wheel. The front wheels can travel 13 inches from top to bottom, and the rear 14 inches.
The front suspension is independent, with A-Type arms up and down and mounted in a way that raises the Raptor two and a half inches. At the back, we find a straight axle that allows a lot of articulation to use the suspension to the maximum under challenging situations.
Once in the Mojave desert, I could verify the attributes that, on paper, promised a lot. This Raptor is made for this environment.
When riding on sandy trails, it takes on a unique personality. This is the only 4x4 that feels as comfortable on such loose ground. The Raptor calls for one to accelerate more, and the suspension finally begins to keep everything under control. I found that at 40MPH, the Raptor is unstoppable. The loose stones or the depth of the sand do not matter. This monster wants to go fast.
Mojave has more than sandy trails. There are also rocky sections and steep paths. I was surprised how it could change its character by pressing a few buttons on the steering wheel.
In addition to the GOAT system, this Raptor can change or adjust the steering system, the shock absorbers, and even the engine's sound. When shifted to 4x4 low, the Raptor can self-drive up or down thanks to an automatic speed control system. All I had to do was lock the speed to 5 MPH, and nothing could stop this 4x4. Awesome.
The digital screen allows you to see ahead and around, and when you travel in a 4x4 at low speed, it shows you where the tires will pass—something handy, especially on descents or ascents where you cannot see the road.
The Bronco Raptor impressed me with its versatility during my 200+ mile Mojave driving week. It confirms that Ford made a product that many others do not dare or think they can do.
I think it is one of the best 4x4 at the moment. But also for the same reason, there are certain compromises that one must consider if the Bronco will be used daily. Gasoline consumption seemed excessive to me. I was only able to get about 14 MPG average and expected more. The doors can be removed to offer a more adventurous experience when traveling in national parks. But they do not have a frame, meaning the windows do not seal well. The roof can also be removed, and this option means that its interior is not soundproof. I found the ride quite noisy on the highway at speeds over 55 MPH.
The easy-to-use FordSync 4 system has proven itself across the entire range of Ford cars. It meets all the needs of today's consumers. So the connectivity and apps are on par with any of today's cars.
I conclude that, like any vehicle made for a single purpose, the Bronco Raptor can provide a way to reach the most remote places where asphalt does not exist. That's where it excels and justifies its $70,000+ price tag. Only you know how you would use it and if the compromises in the city are OK with you.
The Bronco Raptor is one of the best options for true 4x4 fans today!