The Bronco Raptor Is an Off-Road Masterpiece, and We Put It to the Test
Looking at the Ford Bronco Raptor, you’d assume it’s great off-road. That makes perfect sense, obviously, as that is its intended use. That being said, I’m not entirely sure I can convey just how amazing it is to drive off-road with text. So, before proceeding, feel free to check out the above video for better context from my real-time reaction.
I took the Ford Bronco Raptor to a dry lake bed in rural southern California to put it through its paces. I say that, but there’s zero chance I’ve got the internal bravery or driving skill for that really to be the case. What I was doing was like the world’s lightest warm-up stretch for a Bronco Raptor. To me, though, I was living out all of my childhood dreams of sitting inside an RC car.
What is so special about the Bronco Raptor?
Before diving a bit deeper into the visceral experience of a Bronco Raptor with an unlimited off-road playground, let’s recap what makes this monster unique.
The most apparent outstanding features of the Raptor are its wide fender flares and 37-inch tires. Yes, 37-inch tires are in stock format. Additionally, Ford says the Raptor has 13.1 inches of ground clearance and much stronger drivetrain components (transfer case, diffs, axles, etc.) than Sasquatch package Broncos.
Most notable, though, is the Fox live valve suspension system. Ford says this setup gives it a whopping 13 and 14 inches of suspension travel in the front and rear, respectively. These off-road-ready features make a grown man turn into a giggling child the very moment he finds himself behind the wheel. That grown man is me. Though my speeds hardly scraped the low end of the 40 MPH mark, I could not keep the smile off my face for hours after my enlightening off-road experience.
Off-road champion of virtually all disciplines.
In exercising the Raptor on the dry lake bed, I didn’t ever need to put it in 4WD. So, to experience the drivetrain in its whole, I stopped at the legendary Cleghorn trail on my way into LA. As expected, the ground clearance and ferociously capable 4WD system made everything I threw at it a cakewalk.
Admittedly, I only had it in 4WD for about 45 seconds on the trail. I wanted to see what it could handle in rear-wheel only, and it does phenomenally well, thanks to those tires. Further truth-telling leads me to say I also don’t have a great point of reference for trail difficulty in the off-road space. Give me a break! I’m new here.
Coming from a drifting background and working on the little tire spin I saw in 2WD on the trail, I do have one complaint. You’re unable to use the locking rear differential without it in 4WD. Maybe it’s just the childish, wannabe Top Gear host in me, but that seems like a feature we need!
Is the Bronco Raptor a good daily driver?
The backend of my review is all about daily driving this thing. I went into it thinking little of its feasibility and came out thinking it’s not a bad idea at all. Of course, that’s operating under the assumption you’ve got all kinds of gas money. If you have the $86,000 to front for the Bronco Raptor, though, something tells me you aren’t too worried about the stops at the pump. For reference, though, my overall average was 16 MPG on the dot, according to the cluster.
The Bronco Raptor is over 85 inches wide and nearly 87 inches with the mirrors out. Sitting over 7 feet wide makes one nervous about a standard 8-ish-foot-wide parking spot. No worries, though! The 360, rear, and panoramic front cameras give you all the space in the world. It’s enormous; but pretty easy to drive, even in tight parking lots.
In terms of highway driving, the lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control make it a no-brainer. It has massive blind spots, but the blind spot monitoring system is there to save the day. There’s quite a bit of creeping in wind noise at higher speeds, but it’s a removable roof. C’est la vie.
Overall, the Bronco Raptor is now high on the list for one of my favorite things I’ve ever driven. What an absolute blast. It’s an absolute beast off-road and will handle just about any pickle you could put it in. Yet, it’s as practical as you want it to be. That is, as long as you don’t want it to be a vehicle that is affordable to drive.