Base price in Canada for the 2022 Ford Bronco 4-door is $46,249 in Canada, $33,450 in the US.
The Bronco has so much to live up to, and it does.
The Ford Bronco, the real Bronco, had so much hype surrounding it that it could have all gone wrong. In a way, lots went wrong but the majority had nothing to do with the actual truck. Almost universally, the all-new Bronco is loved and appreciated for everything it is and I’m not about to change that.
Simply put, the Bronco is amazing. No matter how one slices it, Ford went all-in with the new for the simple reason that they had no choice but to do so. And in doing so, they’re going to charge a fair sum of many for their latest adventure vehicle. The tested 2021 Bronco Wildtrack with Sasquatch package retailed for $70,000 or about $3,500 less than a new Land Rover Defender 110 S P300 with the optional Advanced Off-Road capability package that includes the electronic air suspension.
It’s obvious that I’m looking for trouble, but the fact remains that the Defender 110 with this suspension is better on-road and about 4/5 as capable off-road than the Bronco. The real point that I want to make is that the Land Rover’s cabin is gorgeous and luxurious.
The cabin is plastic
In true Ford form, the new 2021 Bronco’s interior is substandard and bland. I get that 99% of the development budget went to the truck’s exterior styling and off-road abilities. Even so, when it can be said that the Jeep Wrangler’s dashboard looks high-end and tech-packed compared to the Bronco’s, there’s something amiss. The plastics feel extremely cheap to the touch and much of the fit and finish is amateurish. Let’s not forget that we spend more time onboard than outside the vehicle.
While indoors, the driver is treated to quite the forward view. The upright driving position opens up on a large windscreen that is framed at the lower edges by the hood’s extremities – it’s quite empowering. Looking around reveals a sizeable cabin, enormous by Wrangler standards, but it’s important to note that the rear bench is barely larger than the one in the Bronco Sport. Remember, this is a midsize SUV.
The standard 8-inch is replaced by a huge 12-inch unit further up the trim ladder. The included Sync4 infotainment system is intuitive. The same can be said about the familiar HVAC switchgear.
Designed by an enthusiast
From the very base Base model, the 2021 Ford Bronco is perfect. It’s the right-sized, holds all the necessary and desirable Bronco cues from the past including the circular headlights. The wheels are at the extremities, the approach and departure angles are severe and even when fitted with the steel wheels, the truck is the business.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Badlands and Wildtrack are simply to die for. They must be the brainchildren of a truck and off-roading fan. The Wildtrack, with the Sasquatch package, speaks to the nine-year-old me with its factory 35-inch tires on beadlock capable 17-inch wheels, among many other features.
It’s simple: The new Bronco is spectacular looking and puts a smile on everyone’s face when they see it.
One element that will put a smile on the driver’s face is the included-with-Wildtrack 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged V6. With 330 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the Bronco’s surprisingly and wickedly quick. Included with this engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission. A 7-speed manual gearbox is available with the standard 2.3-litre EcoBoost 4-cylinder mill and, for 2022, will be offered with the Sasquatch package.
The 10-speed is well adapted to the truck. It enables the V6 to hover in the fatter part of its powerband at all speeds, but it does little to improve fuel efficiency. I averaged just over 15L/100km and I suspect I did well.
Standard with the Sasquatch package and the Badlands and Wildtrack, the Bronco gets an advanced HOSS (high-performance off-road stability suspension) with heavy-duty Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers with End-Stop Control Valves. The latter gives the dampers either less or more damping control depending on the road’s surface. Essentially, they’ll enable the Bronco to nearly float over rough sections or firm up at the end of the shock’s travel when dune hoping.
The resulting ride is unexpectedly good. In town, the Bronco is civilized enough to almost be comfortable and off-road, it never falters. Overall, this chassis combination endows the Bronco with a smoother ride than the Wrangler but not quite as good as the Colorado ZR2’s and its flawless multimatic suspension.
Serious off-road chops
Challenging the Ford Bronco on an off-road course requires a driver that is fearless and willing to face the likely inevitable outcome that, should they get stuck, they’ll be good and really stuck.
The included Terrain Management System with its seven G.O.A.T. modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock Crawl, and Baja) mean that the Bronco is programmed to handle anything. Factor in the front locking differential, the available rear locking differential (fitted on the tester), the available sway-bar disconnect (also included), and 11.5 inches of ground clearance without forgetting the 33.5 inches of water fording capability, and there’s no stopping the Bronco until you’re truly “effed”.
My brief off-road adventure was a mere annoyance to me, to be honest. Despite the near 10-inch-deep muddy ruts, I never needed to lock any differential and was in 4-High. It was as difficult a test as driving a minivan in a Walmart parking lot.
Bronco: There is no substitute
I could have also written Jeep: There is no substitute. Same with Land Rover. Without having compared the Wrangler and the Bronco back-to-back, the only thing I am certain of is that the Ford might be a little easier to live with as a family vehicle.
The conclusion here is to pick your poison, including the Land Rover Defender, and go for it.