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The 2023 Ford Bronco’s base MSRP of $34,890 is quite attractive considering its legitimate off-road chops, rugged looks, real-world practicality, and an on-road demeanor that is far more livable than some rivals (ahem, Jeep Wrangler).

However, telling a prospective Bronco buyer that they should only pay for a base model is like handing a seven-year-old a jumbo bag of chocolates and telling them they can only have one. That is, the temptation for more is just too tough to tame.

2023 Ford Bronco: so many trims from which to choose

Ford’s build and price tool for the Bronco puts into perspective just how easy it is to spend more than the Bronco’s base price. For starters, that starting MSRP is for the two-door, Base version. Tick the “4-Door” slider and watch the price shoot up $3,150.

Or, perhaps the desire to have a bit more off-roading prowess strikes. You’re buying a Bronco, after all. So, you opt for the Big Bend four-door with its 32-inch all-terrain tires, terrain management system, and some added goodies like its bolder grille. Throw in destination charges, and the price has crested the $40,000 mark.

Hmm, you think, if I’m going that high on price, the Black Diamond has heavy-duty bumpers, rock rails, and skid plates for just a few grand more. Oh, and having some easier-to-clean rubber flooring and vinyl upholstery would be nice, too. But wait, now the price is closer to $45,000 with destination and other fees.

That’s nearly five figures more than you wanted to spend. No, you think. I’ll settle for the Big Bend. It has all I need, right?

The Bronco offers accessories, options and packages galore

The Big Bend probably has enough capability for most needs, but keep clicking around, and many buyers will find out they need (read: want) a lot more.

The 2023 Bronco Big Bend can be had with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost replacing the standard 2.3-liter inline-four unit. And with premium fuel, it ups the horsepower by 30 ponies and increases the torque by 100 pound-feet.

“I’ll need that on the trails or to tow,” you tell yourself, watching another $1,895 added to the price tag. But wait, I have to add the 10-speed automatic transmission, which costs another $3,490? Maybe I’ll stick with the standard engine, you think. But hey, at least the rear-locking differential doesn’t cost extra.

Oh wait, if I want the Mid Package ($1,495)—it has some desirable features like heated front seats, remote start, and Ford Co-Pilot360—I have to get the 4.27 Axle that costs $2,290? Well, seems worth it.

Let’s just take a quick look at the…good Lord there are a lot of stand-alone options.

The retractable, full soft-top roof is how much? Over $2,400? Tube doors are $1,810? Rocker panels for $269? Man, I need to be sensible about this before I spend too much, you tell yourself.

Don’t believe the 2023 Ford Bronco actually starts at $35,000

After going back and forth for the better part of a day, doing more math, and exhibiting more self-control than you ever intended to do even when car shopping, you finally have it.

A Bronco spec-ed out your way with a particular emphasis on keeping the price as low to that $35,000 base price as possible. You’ve spring for the Big Bend—it’s the second cheapest out of 12 trims, after all—and some upgrades like the Mid Package.

You kept it sensible by springing for the soft top that’s only retractable in the front. Though, you had to tack on some more money for the hard top on top of that. You also need the $595 tow capability package and that 4.27 axle.

But that’s it. No more, you say.

And then you look at the “Estimated Net Price” which says your Bronco, built out with due attention to saving on costs, will now require you to spend just over $50,000.

“But I can get a base model for just about $35,000,” you had told your spouse earlier that week. “That’s not too bad.”

It is at this point you go ahead and exit out of that aftermarket page that lists hundreds of parts for your new Bronco, many of which you wanted to order but now cannot afford.

You were the kid with the bag of chocolate, and you couldn’t have just one.

So yes, the Bronco may start at $35,000, but if you’re thinking of springing for one, expect to pay a lot more—unless you have the restraint of a saint.


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