Water-Ready Swagger

By Derek Price

After introducing the 2021 Bronco to wild enthusiasm, Ford created a new version that lets it go even farther off the trail this year.

Based on the Black Diamond package, the Everglades — as its name suggests — is equipped to wade through deeper water than other Broncos.

A snorkel air intake mounted high on the passenger-side front pillar and a big, noticeable Warn winch on the front bumper are the most obvious differences.

It also comes with the Sasquatch package, which means it has massive, 35-inch Goodyear mud tires and rock rails to protect the underside.

All that plus higher vents for the axles, transfer case and transmission help it ford up to 36.4 inches of water. That’s roughly three inches more than other Broncos.

Ford has a problem on its hands, though, releasing cool new Bronco flavors when it’s reportedly had long delays filling existing orders. That’s why Ford is first making the Everglades available only to people who already have a Bronco reservation on file.

A snorkel engine air intake, higher vents for mechanical bits and huge mud tires help the new Ford Bronco Everglades wade through more than three feet of water.

As I see it, the biggest reason to upgrade to the Everglades is the Warn winch up front. It’s rated for 10,000 pounds and comes with a 100-foot synthetic line.

It also has a purposeful look that’s in perfect character for the Bronco. Unique fender flares and map-style graphics on the front quarter panels grab your attention. There’s even a Sasquatch character on the map for fun.

In fact, fun is the whole reason the Bronco exists. It’s designed for serious off-roading, obviously, with its removable doors, convertible roof and long list of 4×4 hardware. But I found myself laughing out loud while splashing through puddles and driving over curbs like they’re mere suggestions in the city, too.

Despite the Bronco being very purpose-built for extreme off roading, it’s also surprisingly easy to live with for everyday driving.

The Bronco’s interior is designed to be highly functional and easy to clean, including drain plugs for washing the floorboard.

Yes, fuel economy is terrible. Yes, there’s wind and road noise at high speeds. Yes, the suspension is rough and bouncy. But if you can live with those tradeoffs, it’s impressively comfortable as an everyday driver. It doesn’t drive with the harshness its capability would imply.

My Everglades tester came with the base engine, a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower on premium fuel. If you fill it with regular gas, the output drops to a still-stout 275 horses.

Buyers can upgrade to a 2.7-liter turbo V6 that makes 315 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. You can also pick between a seven-speed manual gearbox or an excellent 10-speed automatic.

Pricing for the 2022 Everglades, which is only available with four doors, starts at $53,895. The base two-door Bronco starts at  $32,295, and the four-door version is priced from $36,445.

The new, high-performance Bronco Raptor tops the lineup at $73,780.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2022 Ford Bronco 4-Door Advanced 4×4 ($53,000). Options: Built-in navigation ($695), storage top and door bags ($350), slide-out tailgate ($600).  Price as tested (including $1,595 destination charge): $56,240
Wheelbase: 116.1 in.
Length: 198.9 in.
Width: 79.4 in.
Height: 78.7 in.
Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder (300 hp, 325 lbs. ft.)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 city, 17 highway

Style: 10
Performance: 10
Price: 5
Handling: 2
Ride: 5
Comfort: 4
Quality: 7
Overall: 7

Why buy it?
The new Everglades is a more extreme version of the already highly capable and attention-getting Bronco.

Posted in Ford