First Drive: The 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Is a Well-Composed On-Road Rig
As I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, a lady in a dark green Ford Bronco was driving toward me. As I drove closer to her, I could see that her eyes were as wide as the Bronco’s headlights; she had a big smile on her face as she excitedly waved to me as if I were a long-lost friend.
I smiled, gave her a thumbs up, and waved back to show my support for our like-mindedness. But little did she know, I was driving the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor. The high-performance version of her car that exudes the same on-road civility but with an added touch of raw performance.
What’s the difference between the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor and the other trims?
The 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is purpose-built for taking on the roughest and toughest roads. Whether you’re traversing the sandy terrain of the Baja or driving on snowy roads to your local grocery store, the Bronco Raptor will get you there. It does this thanks to an 8.6-inch wider track than the other Bronco trims, as well as 4.6 inches more ground clearance (13.1 inches total).
Let’s not forget about the beefy and tall 37-inch tires that are tucked underneath the protruding fenders tacked onto the body. Underneath the sheet metal, the Bronco Raptor’s frame is stiffer than the others, and it can tackle more roads with its seven different G.O.A.T (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) modes.
The main difference lies under the hood. The 2022 Bronco Raptor is powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, which is about 90 hp more than the standard 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine. That engine is mated solely to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the power is routed to all four wheels when four-wheel drive is selected.
Lastly, the Bronco Raptor comes equipped with a HOSS 4.0 suspension with Fox live valve 3.1 internal bypass semi-active dampers, heavy-duty bash plates, and a revised front grille for better cooling.
What is it like to drive the Ford Bronco Raptor?
On the road, the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor feels surprisingly civilized and comfortable. When I first drove the car, I expected Jeep Wrangler-like characteristics as far as rattling plastics and a super stiff ride. However, I was amazed that the Bronco Raptor felt comfortable under normal driving conditions and on the freeway. It’s fairly well-insulated, too, considering it’s a hardtop convertible, and the roof panels can be removed.
The Bronco’s steering also feels nicely weighted, but its effort can be changed with the push of a button on the steering wheel. Near that button is one for the exhaust note – which can be made louder if you wish to impose your off-road toughness on other drivers on the road.
I mainly left it in “Baja” mode, which is the loudest setting, because the Raptor made me feel rebellious and patriotic when driving it. It made me want to tattoo an American flag on my face and drive over a pile of junked cars for no reason. It’s that awesome.
Even more awesome is the fire-breathing V6 engine under the hood. Anyone familiar with the Ford F-150 Raptors from the past will understand the power that this thing yields. The brute force comes on gradually but builds quickly all the way to the redline, which is complemented well by the raspy exhaust note.
The Fox suspension soaks up road imperfections about as well as any Lexus I have driven. But the stiff chassis doesn’t make it a full-luxury experience.
Parking in tight situations is easier than you would expect, thanks to a tight turning radius, front and rear sensors, and a gang of cameras around the car. And when it’s time to get out, you can do so gracefully with the side steps.
Admittedly, the whole package is a bit overkill for regular city driving. It’s a large tank of an SUV, but it feels well-composed and not too trophy truck-like for the streets.
Is the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor worth $80,000?
No, not really. Especially if you plan to buy one mainly to drive around town and only see dirt, snow, or rough terrain once a year. In that case, a lower trim level like the Bronco Badlands can easily suit your needs and your wallet – considering it costs around $40,000 less.
But if you live in the remote snowy mountains or spend your summer days playing in the sand dunes, then the Bronco Raptor could be for you. Just don’t be surprised when other Bronco drivers wave enthusiastically at you. Little do they know, you’re driving the baddest one of them all.