After a 25 year hiatus, the Ford Bronco is back! This 6th generation 2022 Ford Bronco is more than just a classic name on a run of the mill crossover SUV. This is a bespoke off-road SUV that also works on paved roads.
Engine – The Ford Bronco is available with one of three engines. A 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder, a 2.7L twin-turbo V6, or a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 in the Bronco Raptor. This Wildtrak Bronco comes with the 2.7L V6 engine. When it is running on premium fuel, this engine produces 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque (246 kW & 563 Nm). Using regular fuel will drop those numbers by 15 hp & 5 lb-ft. The Bronco Wildtrak tips the scales at 2,181 kg (4,808 lbs) and yet the engine feels as though it barely needs to strain to get the Bronco up to speed. Response is good and power delivery is gradual. If you’re going to buy a Bronco, this is the engine to get it with.
Fuel Economy – However, it is not the best engine if you want to save money at the pumps. This 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak is rated for 14.0 L/100km (16.8 MPG) in a city and 13.9 L/100km (16.9 MPG) on a highway. However, in the real world, you can get better fuel economy numbers. The rated city fuel economy figure is accurate but on highways, you can get much lower fuel economy numbers. During my time with the Bronco, I averaged a combined cycle of around 12.8 L/100km (18.4 MPG). Premium fuel is not required but it is recommended in order to get the aforementioned power figures.
Transmission – The Wildtrak Bronco is only available with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Other trim levels of the Ford Bronco are available with a 7-speed manual transmission. The 10-speed auto is smooth at changing gears and also quick when left to its own decisions. You can take over shifting with buttons on the side of the gear selector but the transmission does a good job on its own accord.
Braking – The Ford Bronco has strong but easy to use brakes. What I mean is that it doesn’t take much effort to bring the big Bronco to a stop. Brake pedal modulation is smooth which in turn makes for smooth and gradual stops on city streets. Just be aware that with the big tires and suspension travel, the car nose dives in an emergency situation. The Bronco also comes equipped with Trail Control. This is like cruise control but for slow speed trail use. You set the desired speed and the SUV will maintain it as you go up or down a trail.
Handling – On paved roads, the 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak is a very good driving SUV for what it is. It has independent front suspension which means that there is no steering sway or needing to provide input to the steering wheel on highways to stay in a straight line. This is the biggest and most noticeable difference between this Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler. Around corners, the steering is light and there is a lot of body roll but it doesn’t feel wayward or as though you’re out of control of the SUV.
However, this new Bronco was meant to be driven off the beaten path. The Wildtrak trim is equipped with the Sasquatch package which includes the massive 35” tires wrapped around the beadlock capable 17-inch wheels, there’s a front and rear locking differential with a 4.7 final drive ratio, Hoss 2.0 suspension with Bilstein position sensitive dampers (FOX semi-adaptive dampers are optional) and fender flares. All of that is in addition to multiple skid plates, 7 different drive modes called GOAT modes (Goes Over Any Type of terrain), rock rails, and heavy duty front and rear bumpers. It basically has every major feature that a true off-road enthusiast would add to make an off-road capable vehicle.
When you take the Bronco Wildtrak off the beaten path, you’ll find that it is very big. As in, it is very wide for some smaller trails and you’ll end up scratching the paint. The Jeep Wrangler is much narrower. As well, the Jeep has a front disconnecting sway-bar for better wheel articulation. This is available on the Bronco as well but only on the Badlands and Raptor trims. The Jeep also has a slightly better approach angle of 44 degrees in Rubicon 2-door spec vs 43.2 degrees for the Bronco Wildtrak 2-door. But the Bronco and the Jeep have nearly identical breakover and departure angles. The Bronco Wildtrak has 11.6-inches of ground clearance and 33.5-inches of water fording.
So while the Jeep Wrangler may be slightly better than the Ford Bronco on tighter trails, once they open up the Bronco has a few tricks up its wheel arches. If equipped with the automatic transmission, the Bronco can use Trail Turn Assist to take very tight turns. This will brake the rear inside wheel to turn the car. The upgraded Bilstein shocks are fabulous at absorbing the punishing bumps especially at higher speeds. In Baja mode, it’s almost as though the Bronco is gliding over the bumps. This Wildtrak version of the 2022 Ford Bronco was designed for higher speed off-roading but if you’re not into that, the Bronco Badlands may be a better option for you because it has the sway-bar disconnect and a Rock/Crawl mode.
Ride Comfort – For what this SUV is, the Ford Bronco is actually a pretty comfortable vehicle. It’s obviously not the first name in comfort but the suspension is relatively smooth over potholes. Better yet, you can basically plow over bumps in the road without scrubbing too much speed because the tires and the suspension can handle it.
Interior Space – This 2-door version of the Ford Bronco has a little bit less interior space than the Jeep Wrangler. At least, that’s how it is on paper. In reality, it feels as though it has a little bit more headroom and legroom in the front than the Wrangler. The rear seats are tight for taller adults like myself at 6’4”. But then again, that’s what the 4-door version is for if you carry a lot of people often. The roof panels can be removed to create a “convertible” Bronco and the rear portion of the roof can also be removed. And just like the Wrangler, the doors can be removed and you won’t lose the side mirrors because they’re mounted to the frame of the Bronco. But the windshield cannot be lowered like how it can in the Jeep.
The trunk area opens in the exact same manner as the one in the Jeep. However, cargo capacity is not as generous as in the Jeep. The 2022 Ford Bronco has 634 L (22.4 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats up and 1,481 L (52.3 cu-ft) with the rear seats folded. Folding down those rear seats is a bit of a faff because the seat cushion has to be lifted first in order to fold the seatback.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – This is by far the worst thing about the new Bronco. It is a noisy cabin. Above you is a lot of wind noise, especially on highways. Below you is a lot of road noise from the tires. And behind you are squeaks and creaks from the roof panels as you drive over the smallest road imperfections. At least the engine is quiet when you’re driving around town or cruising on a highway.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The base 2022 Ford Bronco 2-door starts at $43,199 CAD ($30,800 USD). This Wildtrak 2-door has a starting price of $60,649 CAD ($49,780 USD) with this demo vehicle being equipped to the tune of $71,779 CAD ($59,550 USD).
Gadgets – For creature comforts, the Ford Bronco has heated leather & vinyl trimmed seats, a heated steering wheel, there’s a 12-inch touchscreen with Sync4 infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto connectivity, a wireless charging pad, surround view cameras, parking/proximity sensors, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, and a 10 speaker B&O audio system.
Interior Design – The interior is rugged and well thought out by Ford’s engineers. For example, the window and exterior mirror controls are on the center console rather than the doors because you can remove the doors. There’s a USB port on the dashboard so if you have a phone holder or GPS equipment on the dash, you don’t need to run the wires to the bottom on the center console. The floor has plugs which can be removed and you can hose down the interior after a muddy trip. This feature is only available on some Bronco trims. All of the controls are chunky and are physical. There are no dedicated touchscreens or capacitive touch controls anywhere. There are also big grab handles when the Bronco is tipping at some extreme angles.
Exterior Design – The exterior of the Bronco looks big and intimidating. This Wildtrak trim gives it the off-road look that it deserves with the wide fender flares, the 35-inch tires, and the bush guard at the front. In this Cyber Orange paint, the 2022 Ford Bronco gets long stares wherever it goes.
Safety – The Ford Bronco Wildtrak is equipped with standard blind spot sensors, forward automatic emergency braking, and lane keep. The Luxury package adds adaptive cruise control and evasive steering assist. The IIHS gave the Ford Bronco good scores in crash tests but only Acceptable scores for head restraints and Marginal scores for the headlamps.
Warranty – The 2022 Ford Bronco is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle warranty and a 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. In America, these warranties are 3 years / 36,000 miles and 5 years / 60,000 miles respectively. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – Overall, the 2022 Ford Bronco is a true successor to the one from the 80’s and 90’s. It is a rugged, go anywhere type of SUV that has not been neutered by the need to have a crossover SUV. It’s not perfect but this is a highly specialized vehicle for a specific task and it performs that task with ease and style.
Thank you to Ford Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Ford.ca