2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Review Update

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Aug 16, 2022

Introduction

As Ford continues to expand its already extensive offerings in the Broncosphere, the new-for-2022 Bronco Raptor is the superhero of the lineup with off-road-racing-inspired hardware and capabilities. Its 418-horsepower 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, extra-wide stance, super long-travel suspension, and reinforced chassis impart high-speed desert-running and boulder-crawling capabilities similar to those of the F-150 Raptor but in a more compact SUV footprint.

Priced at $70,095, including the $1,595 destination charge, the Raptor marks the top of the theme-based Bronco range of rugged 4-wheel-drive (4WD) SUVs that includes the Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wildtrak, and new-for-2022 Everglades trims.

Available as a 4-door only, the new Bronco Raptor is the most powerful and capable street-legal version of Ford's iconic SUV to date.

It looks the part, too. Emphasizing the Bronco Raptor's wide stance, the automaker fills the SUV's grille with large "FORD" block letters, bracketed with amber daytime running lamps and accented by a trio of amber clearance lights. Muscular bulges on the front fenders and rear quarter panels constructed of sheet-molded compound help contain the massive 37-inch all-terrain tires, aided by even larger black wheel flares so big and imposing they have their own separate mud flaps.

The Bronco Raptor's standard running boards and the outboard sections of the steel front bumper detach for even better clearance from stumps, boulders, and the like. The front bumper includes tow hooks, removable Rigid fog lamps, and Rigid off-road lamps. Heavy-duty skid plates protect the Raptor's underpinnings from the front bumper to the rear of the 4WD transfer case.

Inside the cabin, Raptor-specific sport front seats feature increased lateral bolstering to help keep lower torsos planted in challenging terrain. The driver grips a thicker-section sport steering wheel and gets magnesium paddle shifters to work the Ford Performance-modified 10-speed automatic transmission. The Raptor adds a Performance view to the Bronco's standard digital 12-inch driver cluster that enables customization of the positioning of the tachometer and layout of other gauges.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2021 Bronco full lineup and the 2021 Bronco Wildtrak 2-door. This review focuses on the new-for-2022 Bronco Raptor off-road variant and how it potentially impacts the Bronco's overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Ford Bronco

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Red Front Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

Based on its interior volume, the Ford Bronco competes in the Compact SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2022 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 80 percent of new Ford Bronco buyers are male (vs. 51 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new Bronco buyer is 50 years (vs. 57).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Bronco in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences, from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Setting up and starting
  • Feeling of safety
  • Powertrain
  • Interior design
  • Infotainment
  • Driving comfort
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

In the 2022 APEAL Study, the Bronco ranks 17th out of 17 Compact SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ford Bronco Raptor

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a Bronco Raptor 4-door equipped with the following options:

  • Leather and suede-trimmed seats
  • Interior carbon-fiber package
  • Keyless-entry keypad

The test vehicle's price came to $74,425, including the $1,595 destination charge.

Widest and Tallest Bronco in the Lineup

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Interior Dashboard

Photo: Ron Sessions

Looks big and capable, doesn't it? That's the theme for the new-for-2022 Bronco Raptor. It's the strongest, most robust, and off-road-ready iteration of Ford's rugged truck-based SUV to date. It's the badass king of the Broncos. Largess is kind of the point, with giant, overarching, industrial-strength wheel flares encapsulating F-150 Raptor-sized 37 x 12.5R17 BF Goodrich T/A KO all-terrain tires ready to kick up some serious terra firma.

It's not quite Mad Max territory, but the Bronco Raptor runs big and tall. Add only one more inch of width, and the newest Raptor is as broad-shouldered as a new GMC Hummer EV or the full-size Ford F-150 Raptor. Ditto for vehicle height as the Bronco Raptor stands at about 6 feet, 5 inches road to roof, which is just 1.3 inches shy of the top of the towering GMC Hummer EV.

Keep in mind that the Bronco 4-door is more expansive in every major dimension than a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-door.

Yet, at just 191 inches long overall, the new Bronco Raptor takes up less real estate bumper to bumper than your mother-in-law's Camry. Despite all its capability, it will easily slip into your garage with room to spare between epic off-road expeditions and bad-weather trips to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner.

Enhanced Suspension with More Ground Clearance and Wheel Travel

Aside from its imposing look, the Bronco Raptor's numbers tell a compelling story. The new Raptor employs a wide track design that's an entire half-foot wider than that on the Sasquatch-equipped Bronco. The new Raptor rolls with 13.1 inches of running ground clearance—1.6 inches more than a Sasquatch-equipped Bronco like a Badlands or Wildtrak.

At 13 inches up front and 14 inches at the rear, the Bronco Raptor has 60 percent more front and 40 percent more rear wheel travel than a base Bronco model and roughly the same wheel travel as the F-150 Raptor with the jumbo 37-inch tires. The extra ground clearance and longer suspension travel give the Bronco Raptor the ability to maintain traction and ease over off-road obstacles and deep ruts that would upset lesser SUVs and jostle its occupants. It's more than just a body lift, as the Raptor's suspension uses unique control arms to accommodate the longer wheel travel while maintaining proper camber.

The Bronco Raptor is also capable of fording water 37 inches (more than 3 feet) deep without swamping the engine, although the new Bronco Everglades with its windshield roof pillar-mounted engine intake air snorkel is the top version of the Bronco in that category.

Standard Fox Live Valve Shocks

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Fox Live Valve Shocks

Photo: Ron Sessions

The new Bronco Raptor gets the HOSS 4.0 (High-Performance Off-Road Stability system) featuring semi-active Fox 3.1 internal-bypass dampers with Live Valve tech. According to Ford, the shocks vary damping individually at each wheel based on the suspension's position in its vertical travel and adjust each shock's compression and rebound control up to 500 times per second. Large fluid reservoirs—integral with the front shocks and remote at the rear—help cool the fluid and minimize aeration that would otherwise occur and degrade vertical wheel control in aggressive off-road driving utilizing lots of suspension travel.

On-road and off, the Fox adaptive dampers and tall, flotation-like tires help take the edge off nasty potholes, coffee-spilling shopping-center speed bumps, and steep ramps.

418-horsepower 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6

Representing the most considerable dollop of power available in the 2022 Bronco is the Raptor's standard 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with 418 hp at 5750 rpm and 440 pound-feet of torque at 2750 rpm. It's an 88-hp (26 percent) jump in output and a 25-pound-feet (6%) increase in twist over the previous top Bronco power plant—the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6—that powers the Wildtrak model.

Compared to the Wildtrak 4-door, the Bronco Raptor shares the same 4.70:1 final drive ratio but must carry another 1,000 pounds of beefier componentry in the drivetrain, suspension, and structure necessary to rise to the level needed for high-speed desert running. Hence zero-to-60-mph times for the two are both around 6 seconds despite the Raptor's more potent power plant.

Adding a melodious soundtrack to the Bronco Raptor's added moxie is a new active-valve exhaust system. This complements the Raptor's already rapturous-sounding true dual-exhaust system with a driver-selectable feature that customizes the report from the dual exhaust outlets to Normal, louder Sport, and more brash Baja modes. There is also a Quiet mode for those Sunday-in-the-park times when discretion is the better part of valor.

The beefed-up Bronco Raptor drivetrain includes heavy-duty Dana 44 front and Dana 50 rear axles with oversized ring gears, uprated half shafts, and larger-diameter driveshafts to handle the drive torque from the 3-mode 4WD transfer case. The transfer case has an aggressive 3.06:1 Low range for slow going through challenging terrain with a maximum 67.7:1 crawl ratio. Driver-selectable electronic front and rear locking differentials add traction where needed to prevent a wheel from spinning.

Of course, Ford could decide to drop the F-150 Raptor's 450-hp, 510-pound-feet twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 into the engine bay. And beyond that, Jeep found a way to shoehorn a 470-hp 6.2-liter Hemi V8 under the Wrangler's retro hood, so perhaps Ford could do the same with the supercharged 700-hp F-150 Raptor R's 5.2-liter V8.

Independent Expert Opinion

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Red Rear Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

Tall and imposing, the new-for-2022 Ford Bronco Raptor gives the rugged, iconic SUV enhanced dune-hopping and boulder-crawling abilities inspired by desert-racing competition. It also marks an expansion of the Raptor sub-brand beyond the F-150 and soon-to-be-announced Ranger iterations.

Despite the new Bronco ranking dead last among Compact SUVs in the 2022 APEAL Study, Ford's iconic SUV has a strong fan base and was named 2022 North American Utility of the Year by a jury of 50 independent automotive journalists. Along with the Jeep Wrangler, the Bronco is the only rugged, truck-based utility with honest-to-goodness off-road chops in a segment populated by passenger-car-based SUVs and crossovers used chiefly for daily transportation.

Amid the joy, there are the expected drawbacks with this extreme-capability machine. The estimated EPA fuel economy for this fat-tired, aerodynamically challenged brick is just 15 mpg in combined city/highway driving. As with other removable-roof SUVs such as the Jeep Wrangler, air rush and ambient traffic noise combined with big sizzle from the monster meats are a constant companion on the highway. Getting in and out of this high-riding vehicle requires some physical effort, even with the standard running boards. And given that there is nowhere else to put it, rearward visibility is abysmal due to the necessary but unfortunately located full-size spare tire on the swing-out tailgate, further obfuscated by the center high-mounted stoplight (CHMSL) perched atop the spare.

In its first year of production, the Bronco faced supply-chain disruptions, as seen at so many companies. Some deliveries were late, and Ford built vehicles without features requiring additional microchips—a hot commodity then and now. Then there were the early-production fit-and-finish challenges that Ford has now mostly resolved.

In the 2022 APEAL Study, the Bronco's lower scores in driving comfort, ingress and egress, and fuel economy—important to soft-roaders—dragged down its overall score. Keep in mind, however, the Bronco's (and especially the Bronco Raptor's) authentic design, go-anywhere capability, and adventurous driving experience will draw a solid core of off-road enthusiasts.

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive and consumer websites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals, and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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