2024 Ford Bronco Review

2024 Ford Bronco - 37" A/T Tires, Fox Suspension, GOAT modes, and more.... Yet still refined on the road.


The Bronco officially returned as a 2021 model and is available in nine trims for 2024. The Big Bend, Black Diamond, Heritage Edition, Heritage Limited Edition, Badlands, and Wildtrak are all available in either two or four door configurations. The Outer Banks, Everglades and Raptor are exclusively four door vehicles. Beyond the doors and trims, the Bronco can further be built to your desires with a soft or hard top variation, a wide variety of wheels, and plenty of accessories.  Four door models accommodate five passengers while two door versions seat four.

Under the hood are three different powertrains. The most powerful is the Raptor's 3.0L EcoBoost V6 10-speed that pumps out 418 horsepower. The more common options are the 315 horsepower 2.7L EcoBoost V6 or the 275 horsepower 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder on regular grade fuel. Fill it up with premium fuel and the horsepower will increase on each to 330 and 300. Broncos are available with either a 7-speed manual or 10-speed automatic depending on trim. Prices start at $39,630 for a 2-door Big Bend model and climb up to a starting price of $90,035 for the Raptor. Competition is primarily the Jeep Wrangler as it is currently the only other off-road vehicle that is available with 2 or 4 doors with a removable top and doors like the Bronco. Prospective buyers may also look at other off-road oriented vehicles like the Jeep Gladiator, Land Rover Defender, Lexus GX, or Toyota 4Runner & upcoming Land Cruiser. I had the opportunity to spend a week in the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor and here's what stood out for that model specifically...

Style (+)
There is no doubt that Ford nailed it with the design of the new Bronco. It is a modern-day design with plenty of cues from the original version, especially if you opt for the new Heritage models. The overall size is comparable to the Jeep Wrangler in both configurations. Bronco Raptor's feature round headlights with amber LED lighting and FORD spelled across the grille. Its boxy shape gives it a prominent silhouette and around back are rectangular with differentiated lighting signature from the rest of the lineup. New for 2024 is the Code Orange appearance package that includes orange and gray graphics that run up the rear fender and onto the rear-most window. It also comes with orange tow hooks, hood graphics, orange seat belts, and 17" bead lock wheels with orange details. Raptors come standard with 37" All-terrain tires that are covered by widened fender flares that add 9.8 inches to the overall width of the Bronco. Other standard exterior elements include heavy-duty modular front bumpers with integrated Rigid fog lights, steel bash plates, rock rails with removable running boards, and the rear mounted full-size spare tire.

In addition to all the accessories available to customize your Bronco, there are also a wide variety of colors available. The Raptor adds two new colors for 2024 that include Shelter Green and Velocity Blue. The rest of the palette includes Shadow Black, Oxford White, Cactus Gray, Iconic Silver, Hot Pepper Red, and Azure Gray...whatever you choose, the Bronco is the type of vehicle that can pull them all off.

Powertrain: (+)
Under the hood is a 418-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0L V6 that makes 440 pound-feet of torque. It pairs exclusively to a 10-speed automatic transmission with an advanced 4WD system. With a reinforced trailer hitch, towing capacity  increases up to 4500 pounds. Power is good for a 0-60 MPH time of around 5.6 seconds. It comes with a much more robust suspension compared to the standard Bronco to give it better capability for high-speed off-roading adventures.  It has Fox adaptive dampers and the 37" all-terrain tires that both affect its performance. I was impressed with how stable it felt on the highway for everyday types of driving. I had previously driven a 2-door Wild Trak model with the Sasquatch package that felt loose and bouncy at higher highway speeds. The Raptor was much more refined and grounded. The biggest challenge for driving it was its sheer size and width on tighter roadways. The exhaust delivers a nice rumble that can be adjusted at the touch of a button to a few different settings. Steering was balanced, but on the loose side to accommodate off-road type of driving. Road noise was more prominent (but expected).

Off-Road Ability (+)

The Bronco Raptor is highly capable off-road with 60 percent more travel in the front (13 inches in total) and 40 percent more in the rear (14 inches there.). G.O.A.T Modes (Goes Over Any Terrain) can be adjusted on the fly through a dial in the center console and  include Normal, ECO, Sport, Slipper, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Baja.  It comes with a HOSS 4.1 System with Fox live valve 3.1 internal bypass semi-active dampers. Multiple sensors work to continually monitor changing terrain conditions and adjust accordingly. Ford Performance-designed control arms at the front and rear also help deliver maximum wheel travel.  For extreme rock crawling, the front stabilizer bar disconnect feature helps your front tires move up and down independently from one another. So, to move freely over rugged, uneven terrain, the system (when engaged in Rock-Crawl Mode or manually), disconnects over uneven terrain - providing maximum balance. It has a maximum departure angle of 40.5 degrees, offers a maximum breakover angle of 30.8 degrees and an aggressive 47.2-degree approach angle with the standard 37-inch tires.

The underbody is protected by steel bash plates to protect critical hardware and additional skid plates are also available for reassurance when taking on rocky terrains. Depending on trim or options, just a push of a button engages the front locking differential, the rear locking differential, sway-bar disconnect or the Trail Turn Assist. Maximum water fording is 37-inches with 13.1" of ground-clearance. Other off-road  features include washout vinyl flooring, hill start assist, trail control, train turn assist, 360-degree cameras, and trail one-pedal drive.

Fuel Economy (-)
When the Raptor arrived with a full 21.2-gallon fuel tank it offered a driving range of around 300 miles. EPA ratings are 15/16/15 MPG city/highway/combined. These numbers are slightly better than the V8-powered Jeep Wrangler 392, but it is still a thirsty vehicle. After a significant amount of highway driving, I never achieved more than the rated 16 MPG and required a couple expensive fill-ups.

Open Air (+)
One thing that sets the Bronco apart from the Wrangler is the lack of a center bar across the roofline, which allows for a wide-open roof when the tops are off. The Bronco is available with either a soft or multi-piece hardtop, although the Raptor comes exclusively with the hard top. The soft top can be opened partially, fully, or completely removed. It functions manually by unlatching clips up front and folding it back. To fully fold it down, the rear windows must be pulled out which requires some effort and multiple steps before folding the top completely down and latching it down. It doesn't require much storage and is easiest if you intend to put it up or down frequently.

The alternative option is a hard top roof which consists of three or four panels depending on how many doors. Both versions came off easily by unlatching a couple hitches and locks that keep them in place, along with some bolts that could be taken out using the Bronco toolkit.  The four-panel version consists of two small panels over the front which can be conveniently stored in a case in the back. Across the back seats is the third panel and a fourth shell piece encompasses the back windows over the cargo area.  The back shell is lighter than the Wranglers and could be lifted off alone (carefully) but is easiest with a partner. The shell of the 2-door is heavier since it extends over the passenger area and will require a second set of hands to put on or off. Overall, the entire transformation to full open-air can be done in less than 20 minutes.

Interior (+)

Proof that sometimes simple is better. The overall interior layout is heavily focused on function with easy to reach controls and durable materials. This approach aligns with the open-air roof to maximize its weather proofing. Some buyers may be disappointed if they're looking for high-tech, glossy, sophisticated interiors as that is not the Bronco's forte... even on models like the Raptor. There are rubber grab handles at either end of the dash to assist with climbing in, standard  marine-grade vinyl upholstery, and an overhead set of auxiliary toggles. My Raptor came with optional leather-trimmed/suede seats that ran $2,995 along with a $1,725 carbon fiber package that added to the interior vibe. Orange accents throughout and Raptor badging further distinguish it from a standard Bronco inside.

Interior Space (+/-)
The Bronco Raptor comes exclusively as a four-door, five-seat body style. It has ample head and leg room for all passengers. The seats are available in cloth, a marine grade vinyl, or leather which are durable and comfortable.  Seats can be adjusted manually forward and back or up and down. The seats are generally comfortable but offer minimal side bolstering which would be a nice add for longer trips. A heated steering wheel along with heated and power-adjusted seats are also standard. Carpet or rubberized flooring is also available and include drain plugs should water get inside. Rear seats offer plenty of space, even with three kids across the back seat. On the back of the front seats is a MOLLE panel for added storage and clips which is particularly valuable with the doors off.

Cargo Capacity (+)
The 4-door provides up to 38 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 83 cubic feet with the seats folded. Space is a plus when compared to the Wrangler's 31.7 cubic feet. The back seats also fold down easily when needed. Note the back-end swings open to the side rather than up (or down) so you'll need to park accordingly when loading cargo in the back. There is room in the back to hold the front roof panels (and an available carrying case for storage) but keep in mind that they take up a significant amount of space.

Technology (+/-)

At the center of the Bronco's dash is a 12-inch LCD touchscreen that pairs with Ford's user-friendly SYNC 4 infotainment system. It includes a rear-view camera with backup assist lines, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto compatibility. The graphics are crisp and do feature nice start-up graphics. Other available features include a 360-degree camera, Bang & Olufsen sound system, and wireless charging pad. Technology is available in one of three packages from Ford: standard, mid, or lux. Most of Bronco's innovative technology is focused on its off-road capabilities rather than interior luxuries.

Easter Eggs (+)
Who doesn't love a good easter egg in vehicles these days. Ford offers up plenty in the new Bronco that are fun to show off... here are a few favorites:

* Headlights- the circular design is a reference to the original and hidden inside them is an etched bucking bronco
* Bolts- Look closely at the hardware in the dash and you'll see that the bolts read Bronco on them.
* Name Plate- A made in Michigan steel plate is mounted in the dash and resembles the front grille of a Bronco using two bolts as the headlights
* Fuel Door- Behind the door are images of three of the original body styled Bronco and their body codes
* Lighting - Bucking broncos illuminate in the rear cargo area between two LED cargo lights.
* Lasso- Also in the rear cargo area are printed lassos on each of the tie down loops

Safety (+)
Standard on all models is Ford Co-Pilot 360 driver assist features that include auto high beams, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, hill descent control, hill start assist, lane-keep assist and a rearview camera with back-up assist.  Other available features include a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera, forward sensing system, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist.

Final Statement (+)

Ford built the kind of Bronco that everyone wanted and did it well. There are seemingly endless ways to configure one to your personal preference and style, but the Raptor is the ultimate Bronco. Having had the chance to drive multiple versions that have each delivered different experiences, it's key to spend some time reviewing all the available trims, options, and packages to get what suits your lifestyle.  The Bronco turns heads and evokes conversations with strangers. It has risen to the top of the favorites list in my household ... especially in its full open-air form.

First Impression Summary:

2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

Powertrain: 3.0L EcoBoost V6 (Automatic)
Exterior Color: Code Orange
Interior Color: Onyx/Blue Leather/Suede
Options: Equipment Group 374A ($3,050), Raptor Graphic  ($1,075), 17" Bead lock Black Forged Wheels ($1,995), Code Orange Seat Belt ($395), Interior Carbon Fiber Package ($1,725), Leather trimmed/suede seats ($2,995), keyless entry ($110)
MSRP as tested: $96,720 (With Destination & Delivery)

Pros: Off-Road Capability, Refined Road Manners, Performance, Open-Air Freedom
Cons: Fuel-Economy, Highway Road Noise, Wide Fenders take up some lanes

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.