Ford’s reborn Bronco has earned a fearsome reputation since it rolled back into showrooms last year. But the automaker is promising to take things to new levels with the new Bronco Raptor it unveiled today.
Like the Raptor versions of the Ranger and F-150 pickups, the new SUV just screams “badass,” and it’s more than just looks. With more power, more ground clearance and an amped up Fox suspension, the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is designed to take on anything you can throw at it, from rock crawling to desert racing, while still handling day-to-day chores and commutes.
“As the most badass Bronco yet, the Bronco Raptor design is extreme,” said Paul Wraith, Bronco design chief. “It’s muscular, while maintaining an underlying simplicity with performance-focused details added only for outstanding high-speed capability.”
By the numbers
You don’t have to look hard to see the Raptor isn’t your typical Bronco. For one thing, it boasts a ground clearance of 13.1 inches, nearly 5 inches more than a base Bronco. The new Raptor also measures 9.8 inches wider and, at 73.6 inches, it adds another 8.6 inches of track under those aggressive new fender flares. Add to that new 37-inch all-terrain tires.
Wraith and other members of the Bronco team offered a closer look at the new Raptor during a private background briefing on a frigid cold Michigan afternoon last week.
While the basic design of the award-winning truck is familiar, there are few details that haven’t been tweaked or outright transformed. Raptor’s grille features the Ford name molded in in big block letters. The LED running lights now glow amber. And the ute gets a new steel bumper with removable end caps and unique tow hooks. The skid plate has been switched to aluminum and extends further under the body to protect the ruggedized drivetrain.
Extensive revisions to the underbody and chassis boost torsional rigidity by 50 percent. You get a sense of just how far the development team took things when you check out the additional reinforcements to the tailgate. Beyond the Raptor badges, virtually everything new has an actual purpose. That includes the functional air vents on the sheet-molded compound hood.
A ute for all occasions
And, like every other version of the Bronco, the goal was to make it easy to customize the ute for every occasion, whether taking off the doors or Raptor’s new running boards — which bolt directly into the new rock rails.
A look at Raptor’s fully boxed platform revealed an array of enhancements, most designed to stiffen things up and, in the case of the new shock towers, deliver significantly more wheel travel than even the current Bronco Badlands edition.
The launch of the resurrected Bronco line was delayed for months due to production issues with the SUV’s removable roof. Even before then, the development team was pushing the truck to its limits with an aggressive motorsports program.
“All of our learnings we bak(ed) into this product,” said Bronco Brand Manager Esteban Plaza-Jennings.
Tow, tow, tow your boat
That includes a switch to “competition-level” axles and the Raptor’s unique take on Bronco’s HOSS, or High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension. Ford partnered with Fox on the system, which provides Live Valve technology that can adjust each corner to driver input and road conditions “hundreds of times every second.”
Power comes from a twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Final specs haven’t been confirmed but Ford expects the 2022 Bronco Raptor will make at least 400 horsepower, driving through a 10-speed automatic into a three-mode 4×4 system. With an upgraded transfer case and other enhancements, Raptor will be able to tow up to 4,500 pounds — 1,000 pounds more than the base model.
The Raptor badge has been around for a while at Ford. And the two pickup versions are serious competitors out on the desert. But the goal was to expand the list of capabilities with the Bronco edition.
“We built it to go highway speed out in the desert dunes,” said Tom Newhart, a program planning specialist. “But we also made it to tackle the most grueling rock crawling conditions you can get into.”
Like other Broncos, the Raptor will add features like Trail Control, Trail Turn Assist and Trail One-Pedal Driving. And it has the now-familiar GOAT Mode selector which lets you dial in the sort of terrain you’re facing — like snow, sand or mud-and-ruts — to configure a broad range of vehicle settings. That covers everything from the Fox shocks to steering input and transmission shifts.
Even where Raptor carries over features from the mainstream Bronco line-up — like the disconnecting sway bar — the development team made a number of upgrades.
The Raptor is designed to work hard and play hard. It adds high-bolster seats to keep driver and front passenger in their seats, whatever they’re bouncing across. And the digital gauge cluster adds a number of readouts unique to a truck that’s designed for sand and rock. There will also be a unique toggle on the steering wheel to instantly switch vehicle settings — like shocks, throttle and steering — to the way you like them.
Unlike some hard-charging utes, however, Raptor is designed with creature comfort in mind. At its most basic, the cabin is trimmed in marine-grade vinyl with wash-out flooring. But you can add leather-trimmed neo-suede seats and other niceties like a 10-speaker B&O sound system.
Ford is still working out final details, but it did confirm that pricing will start at $69,995. That’s compared with the more mainstream Bronco First Edition at $60,800.
Ford will begin taking orders for the new truck in March — but the automaker cautions prospective buyers to get in line ASAP. It’s way behind on deliveries of other Bronco models and customers who currently have advance reservations in place will get first crack at upgrading to Raptor. That likely would mean a wait well into 2023 for those who don’t put down a reservation soon.
Look for the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor to show up on U.S. dealer lots sometime during the summer. With initial supplies likely to be limited, don’t expect them to sit in showrooms for very long.