|Positives: True off-road and on-road performance, mad intimidating looks, comfortable and roomy cabin, great removable hard top, special interior appointments rank it higher than the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon HEMI.
|Negatives: Seriously intrusive wind and road noise, seriously thirsty, seriously expensive.
|Bottom Line: The Bronco Raptor is as good as they say. It's more SUV than an average human would ever need, and the joy it imparts is almost immeasurable. It's just too bad it's painfully pricey now.
The Bronco Raptor also has an even beefier suspension setup than the standard version to best handle powering over sand dunes or jumping through the air, and it has a much wider track that's set up for better high-speed stability. The Raptorized Bronco is equipped with Fox adaptive dampers from the F-150 Raptor as well as standard 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 all-terrain tires. It's rated to tow up to 4500 pounds too.
Ride Quality: The ride is very comfortable thanks to the forgiving suspension setup. It's not like a luxury car, mind you, but it can pretty much manage anything you throw at it without upsetting it. We went at full-sized speed bumps at 40 mph and barely noticed.
Acceleration: While the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 isn't as powerful as the F-150 Raptor's twin-turbo 3.5-liter, the Bronco Raptor was able to hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Braking: The brakes are strong and capable. We had no problem scrubbing speed, and there are no dead spots or mushiness in the pedal.
Steering: Steering is properly hefty with plenty of effort. It's accurate but doesn't have much feedback.
Handling: You feel the weight of it going into turns, but body roll isn't significant.
We like the upsized screen in the Bronco Raptor, as well as the Sync 4 iOS that's one of the best in the industry. The Raptor also comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. We love the standard six AUX switches located overhead. They come pre-wired for connecting lights, radios, etc.
Infotainment System: The Raptor version of the Bronco receives the larger 12.0-inch touchscreen that runs the excellent Sync 4 interface system. It's very responsive, easy to navigate, and attractive without being overly complex.
Controls: We quite liked the presence of the Bronco's no-nonsense physical controls for climate, audio, and drive selector. All of it is pretty intuitive and easy to use. The presence of Aux switches makes adding accessory equipment a breeze.
If you thought the Bronco was noticeable, then the Bronco Raptor just dials the head-turning factor up to 11. Sure, the same overall shape is there, but everything else on the Bronco Raptor gets exaggerated, but it's not all for show. From the beadlock capable wheels to the bigger fender flares and the vents, it's all meant to make the Raptor ready for anything.
Front: The Raptor's big black FORD grille is front and center with a huge bash-ready bumper and companion skid plate, there's a ton of menace in the front end.
Rear: The standard Bronco is wide enough as it is, but the back end shows off the huge fender trim and the wider stance of the Raptor really well. We also love the huge spare tire and the black trim all over.
Profile: The black fender trim and the huge tires are the most prominent aspects from the side view, followed by the Raptor graphics and the front fender vent. The graphics are a bit much for us, but we like the total absence of chrome and the intimidating overall look.
Cabin: Premium details like the red accents everywhere and the big perforated and heavily bolstered seats give the Bronco Raptor an upgraded look that befits the model. We love the optional Code Orange Seatbelts and the real carbon fiber trim, which is expensive but worth it.
The Raptor nicely upgrades the front seats to leather/suede versions that have a ton of bolstering. On the downside, because the doors are removable, Ford had to move the window switches to the center, but the fact that they're on the armrest and below the lid overhang makes them really hard to use. Big demerit for that choice.
Front Seats: The Raptor's seats are wide and accommodating, and there are huge bolsters and a good amount of cushioning. We had no trouble getting the seats in the right position
Rear Seats: There's room for three back here, and seat comfort is good in the outboard positions. The center spot gets shorted in the cushion, and the seatback bulges a bit too much.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The wind and road noise gets seriously noticeable at highway speeds with the huge mirrors, knobby A/T tires, and tall stance. We can't imagine taking this on a long road trip.
Visibility: The driving position is very good, and the pillar width remains good all around. Sightlines are actually very good for the Bronco, and that's not something we see often in the segment. It's better than the Wrangler Unlimited.
Climate: Overall climate comfort is pretty good. We didn't experience any difficulty getting it to temp. The real test is the heat in bitter cold weather, which we didn't get to test.
The Bronco does pretty well in safety tests, and even in its most basic form, the rugged SUV is more than adequate for families. The one issue we had was with the apparent lack of safety tech such as adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert. At least the Raptor gets Pre-Collision Assist w/ Automatic Emergency Braking.
IIHS Rating: Although the Bronco doesn't win any awards from the IIHS, it does very well in crash testing. Its demerits occur with headlights, LATCH ease of use, and headrests.
NHTSA Rating: It earns five stars overall from the federal government. It only gets dinged by one star in the rollover risk category.
Standard Tech: Aside from traction control, airbags, ABS, an individual tire pressure monitor, and a rearview camera, there's really only the Pre-Collision Assist w/ Automatic Emergency Braking.
Optional Tech: None.
The Bronco would be nothing without good interior storage and solid levels of cargo room. The four-door provides additional length and more than doubles the two two-door Bronco's cargo space.
Storage Space: Molle webbed door pockets and seat back pockets provide room and flexibility. A big center armrest, a binnacle and cupholder in the center console, and a small cubby in front of the shifter provide easy access for small to medium-sized daily gear items.
Cargo Room: The four-door Bronco provides 52.27 cubic feet behind row two and 82.97 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded flat. The cargo section also gets Molle grid webbing for easy gear attachment. It prevents gear from rolling around the back, a great addition for off-roading needs. Stock up on those carabiners.
Compared to the 470-hp Hemi V8 Jeep Wrangler 392, the Bronco Raptor is a tad better in the city but less efficient on the highway. It's by no means miserly, of course, and that's expected given the power, heft, high rolling-resistance tires, and the high drag coefficient.
Observed: 13.5 mpg.
Distance Driven: 162 miles.
The Raptor does not come standard with the premium Bang & Olufsen system, but the optional 10-speaker stereo is very good. The system is clear and without distortion, and there's a solid amount of bass thanks to the subwoofer.