The 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is the SUV designed by your 7-year-old inner child. And we drove it as hard as we dared for this review.
It’s 106 degrees and I’m roaring across the desert, plumes of dust trail brownish red into the blue sky. But inside the 2022 Bronco Raptor, the temperature is a cool 68 degrees and the tunes are thumping. And, things are getting rowdy.
I stomp the gas pedal to the floor and feel the 5,731-pound machine claw at the dry lakebed. I accelerate — 60, 70, 80 miles per hour. Passing a set of cones, I mash the brakes as hard as I can to trigger the anti-lock braking system.
My chest heals forward into the seat belt as I prepare to stomp the skinny pedal and rocket into the next turn. And one huge grin spreads across my face.
The Bronco Raptor is one heck of a toy. And it’ll misbehave with the best of us.
2022 Bronco Raptor Review
More Fun Than A BMX Bike
If you’re beginning to already see a theme in this review, well, you should. Over and over through the two days I tested the Bronco Raptor on windy roads, gnarly rock crawls, and high-speed desert runs around Palm Springs, California, I remarked that this truck speaks to the inner child. From the outside, it just looks cool. It’s the Hot Wheels truck everyone would have wanted on the playground.
And inside, well, it’s even cooler! From sharp, modern graphics and screens on the dashboard to utilitarian but catchy color splashes, this thing is just dialed. Any kid would be stoked to hop in the passenger seat and go for a spin. But it’s even better as a 40-something adult who gets to take the wheel!
So, let me get into some details as to why the Bronco Raptor, at least in a short two-day test window, is the most fun vehicle I’ve drivenmaybe ever.
Sport Mode Tour
While the meat of the Bronco Raptor is found off the pavement, let’s face it, most people will use this SUV 90% of the time on paved roads. And after driving it on a winding 50-mile course through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument on the Pines to Palms Highway, I’d say, right on!
Even with enormous 37-inch tires and Raptor HOSS 4.0 (High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension system) with FOX Live Valve technology suspension, this thing is amazingly good on paved curvy roads.
I pushed the Bronco Raptor as hard as I dared during the test drive. And I fell in love with the Sport Mode on the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Cruising along at about 50 to 60 MPH, the truck would cling to 4,000 RPMs even when I let off the gas.
Ford engineers told me this was a deliberate decision. In sport mode, they wanted to keep the turbos spinning and revs high when you let off the gas. That way, you’d get an instant response when you accelerate out of the corner. I did this a lot.
And to me, it worked very well. And I took note of the rev-matching engine blips as the transmission downshifted. While I am unsure how much the blips change performance, they sure sound great and give a bit of a sense of manual driving.
Speaking of manual — I did use the manual shifters, both on-road and off. But ultimately, the automatic transmission was just way better than me, at least during this brief introduction. So, yes, there are paddle shifters. They work well. But the automatic drive mode was even better.
By the end of my tour, I was confident in the Bronco Raptor on road. No, it’s not a sportscar. But for what it is — a big, capable off-road race truck — it is crazy good fun on a curvy paved road.
Bronco Raptor Driving Impressions Off-Road
This thing is a beast off-road. I spent a full day rock crawling and running high speed across the desert along portions of the Kings of Hammers course near Palm Springs. And, wow, I have never felt so confident in a vehicle.
Let’s start with the low-speed stuff. Rock crawling in the Bronco Raptor is remarkably easy. For most trails that the average driver would consider tricky, it navigates easily with onboard cameras that give the driver a clear view of the road ahead denoted with a path of the tires, which adjusts as you turn the steering wheel.
I found the system easy to use. As driving got challenging, the one-pedal driving mode came into play. It crawls like a champ with no need to cover and apply the brake. The truck simply does it for you.
When things got really spicy, we picked up some spotters to help with the trail. I’m sure pros could do it without spotters, but with them, I drove through and over boulders that would have had me white-knuckled in my own vehicle. In the Bronco Raptor, it was a cakewalk.
If I had any criticism of the Bronco Raptor, it would be that at times I had a little trouble seeing the shape of rocks in front of me while using the camera system. It was very effective to verify my course and place tires precisely. But without visually spotting rocks before they slid out of view under the tall hood, it was a little tough to tell how much they stood up via camera alone.
That said I was probably being a lot more than I needed. And given I’ve never even had the option to use such a camera before, I felt a little spoiled.
All in, I was blown away by the capability of the Bronco Raptor while rock crawling. In a short morning, I drove more aggressive terrain than I have previously in anything other than a side-by-side. And I felt very confident the entire time.
If you’ve read this far, well, this is probably what you’re coming for. Yes, the Bronco Raptor has a wild Baja Mode. Yes, you can jump it. And yes, I did jump it! It was incredibly smooth and easy.
Baja mode optimizes the Bronco Raptor for high-speed desert running. And that’s exactly what we did in testing.
Ripping around a course and over a dry lake bed, I was floored at how well this production machine handled a fairly rough trail at serious speeds. I drove a lot faster than I would even consider in most vehicles. And yeah, it really got my adrenaline going.
But overall, it was a smooth, easy experience. And after a high-speed lap, I wanted to go again, and go even faster.
2022 Bronco Raptor Specs
Yes, there are obviously going to be faster machines out there. But for something you can buy off a showroom floor, I cannot think of a more capable, exciting, and downright fun off-road vehicle.
For those looking for an SUV that can do pretty much any rowdy off-road thing you can think of, the Bronco Raptor should fit the bill. Your inner child will approve.
Find your local Ford dealer and head over to the official 2022 Bronco Raptor site to learn more.
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Specs
- Engine: 3.0-liter EcoBoost putting out 418 Hp @ 5,750 rpm; 440 lb. ft. @ 2,750 rpm
- Transmission: 10-speed SelectShift automatic
- Suspension travel: 13 in. (front), 14 in. (rear)
- Approach angle: 47.2 degrees
- Ramp breakover angle: 30.8 degrees
- Departure angle: 40.5 degrees
- Minimum running ground clearance: 13.1 inches
- Maximum water fording: 37.0 inches
- Terrain Management System with GOAT Modes: Standard – with 7 modes, including Normal, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja modes
- Trail control, turn assist, and one-pedal drive: Standard
- Tires: 37 x 12.5R17 All-Terrain