By Derek Price
For a brief moment, my driveway held two vehicles that are purpose built for totally different tasks.
On one side was the car I reviewed last week, the Toyota Supra. On the other was this week’s subject, the Ford Bronco Raptor, one of the wildest 4×4 speed demons ever created.
While they look almost comically different when parked side-by-side — the tiny, sleek, low-riding, two-seat sports car next to the boxy, massive, lifted off-road beast — I couldn’t help but notice some weird similarities, starting with the bright blue paint they both shared.
They both have 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbocharged engines. They both draw attention everywhere they go. And they both have some serious drawbacks that didn’t bother me a bit because, unlike most cars, they’re not meant to do every job under the sun.
They’re built to do one thing amazingly well.
In the Bronco Raptor’s case, that’s making high-speed runs over sand dunes, across cow pastures and up rocky trails.
With 418 horsepower, about 10 percent more than the exotic-looking Supra makes from the same size engine, this massive
Ford gallops away from stoplights faster than one would expect from something that looks like a cinder block with wheels. In Motor Trend’s testing, the Bronco Raptor sprinted from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds.
It looks wild and untamed, too, with extra-wide fender flares that barely contain its 37-inch all-terrain tires. It’s nearly 10 inches wider than the ordinary Bronco, which helps it appear aggressive and feel more planted when cornering but isn’t necessarily a good thing on narrow trails.
Ford did a good job visually differentiating the Raptor from other versions of the Bronco. It has unique quarter panels, fenders and door appliqués. Coupled with the massive vent in its furious-looking hood, it seems rebellious and intimidating.
If you want to be absolutely, 100-percent sure everyone knows you’re driving a Raptor, you can opt for a graphics package that adds flashy, modern-looking shapes and lettering to draw attention. It is a pricey checkbox, though, more than $1,000 on my tester.
I wish the Bronco Raptor’s exhaust sounded as crazy as it looks, though. It’s quieter and more muted than I was expecting.
You can adjust the exhaust sound at four different levels, including the Baja mode that Ford dutifully warns you is intended for “off-road use only” when you turn it on, but I couldn’t tell much difference between them. The adjustment seemed more for show than actually bursting anyone’s eardrums.
Fortunately, the suspension is legit.
Like with the legendary F-150 Raptor, Ford’s engineers worked with FOX to create a suspension that can withstand the brutal beating of off-road racing. Wheels can travel up to 13 inches in front and 14 inches in back as it blasts over terrain, and sensors work in conjunction with the racing shocks to adjust the suspension response hundreds of times per second.
Overall, it’s hard not to love a vehicle this audacious. It’s not a sports car, but for me, it checked a lot of those same emotional boxes as last week’s Supra, even though it couldn’t look or feel more different from the little Toyota.
While my press-fleet tester was a 2022 model, the 2023 Bronco Raptor is priced at $86,080.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2022 Ford Bronco 4-Door Advanced 4×4 ($68,500). Options: Raptor Series ($2,695), Raptor graphic ($1,075), keyless entry keypad ($110), 17-inch beadlock wheels ($1,995), code orange seat belt ($395), carbon fiber interior pack ($1,725), leather trim seats ($2,995). Price as tested (including $1,595 destination charge): $81,085
Wheelbase: 116.5 in.
Length: 191 in.
Width: 86.9 in.
Height: 77.8 in.
Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged six cylinder (418 hp, 440 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 15 city, 16 highway
Why buy it?
A unique suspension, powerful engine and unmistakable attitude make this Bronco the baddest one yet. It’s a spectacular off-road toy for those who can afford it.