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2023 Ford Bronco Review

2023 Ford Bronco Review


The four-wheel-drive Ford Bronco is, perhaps, the most exciting off-roader since the Jeep Wrangler, and it can do anything from crunch through dense woodland trails to calmly idle up to a Wendy's drive-thru window. The Bronco is available in two- and four-door configurations and was made to perform all the tasks that the Wrangler is capable of, plus more. The Bronco's doors can be removed in the same manner as the Wrangler's, but the Ford keeps its mirrors. The Bronco, like the Jeep Wrangler, is a large SUV designed to handle the mud, but it has the advantage of being much quieter on the highway than the Jeep. It also boasts more standard horsepower, with options ranging from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four producing 300 hp to a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 producing 330 hp. A more powerful option is the Bronco Raptor, which has been reviewed separately and features bulging fenders. The Bronco's bewildering variety of models, trims, and extra equipment makes it highly configurable and thus suitable for a broad variety of uses, including those of us who insist on using a clutch while changing gears.

For the year 2023, what's new?

Ford revives the classic design of the 1960s with the unique Bronco Heritage Edition, available for both two- and four-door variants. The Bronco Heritage Edition is based upon the Big Bend trim with the Sasquatch package, and it features the same 300-hp turbo 2.3-liter engine and seven-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. The white grille, white roof, and retro-style wheels harken back to the '60s. Badging on the fenders reads "Bronco Script" in metal, and the leather-trimmed plaid seats and center console display the Heritage Limited Edition's higher price tag.

Prices for the Bronco's two-door base model start around $33,000, but the higher-end packages can soon exceed $50,000. For us, the perfect vehicle would have four doors, the larger engine, and off-road features befitting of its heritage. That leads us to the Bronco Wildtrack, which is equipped with massive 35-inch mud-terrain tires and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels as standard. Note that the two-door has plenty of space for passengers in the backseat if you can live without the extra pair of doors. This will save you money on the Bronco.

Drivetrain, Power, and Efficiency

I'm sorry to have to break it to you. There is no option for an eight-cylinder engine in the Bronco. Instead, a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder producing 300 horsepower is standard, and a 2.7-liter V-6 producing 330 horsepower is available as an upgrade. Both gas engines can be attached to a 10-speed automatic transmission, although the smaller engine also works with a 7-speed manual. Neither of the engines features a really upbeat music, unfortunately. All Broncos are equipped with a four-wheel-drive system with an independent front suspension that is more advanced than the front stick axle found on Jeeps. In addition, there are electronic locking front and rear differentials, a sway bar disconnect, and 35-inch mud-terrain tires. The Bronco's on-road smoothness wowed us after our initial drives. The Ford has greater handling than the Wrangler because its steering is more precise. Brake dip is noticeable, as expected, given the wide tires and supple suspension, and the body-on-frame structure is not hidden. The Bronco, however, is not limited to a single use; it can navigate difficult landscapes.

Energy Consumption and Actual MPG

The most fuel-efficient Bronco is the four-cylinder automatic, which achieves 20 city/22 highway mpg. The fuel economy drops to 17 mpg in the city and on the interstate if you have the Sasquatch package with the V-6 engine and aggressive, larger tires. On our 75 mph fuel-economy route, we've tested both the four-cylinder and V-6 versions of the Bronco with an automatic transmission, and we've seen 22 mpg from the four-cylinder and 18 mpg from the V-6. To learn more about the Bronco's gas mileage, check out EPA's website.

Roomy Interior, Plenty of Cupholders, and Plenty of Storage

The Bronco shares the same open-air capabilities that make the Wrangler such a joy for those who love the great outdoors by virtue of its two- or four-door configuration, soft- or hard-top option, and detachable body panels. The Ford's cabin features several further upgrades over the Jeep's. The Bronco, for instance, has a rack integrated into the top of its dashboard for mounting electronic devices like iPhones and GoPros. There are also frameless doors, which can be removed without difficulty. Their lengthy side glass, however, can become caught in the weatherstripping and lets in a lot of extra wind noise. The four-door variants with a longer wheelbase nevertheless have enough room for all four doors. The exterior mirrors can be used even without the doors because they are attached to the base of the windshield. Rubberized flooring and marine-grade vinyl upholstery are available for use in the cabin to protect against the weather. Leather upholstery is available for those who prefer a more upscale cabin, although the interior's large sections of cheap-looking plastic are noticeable even in the more expensive models. Two adults can ride in the rear of a Bronco, even if it only has two doors. The only difference between the two body styles is that the four-door has a third, middle seat in the back and somewhat additional legroom, but the bulk of the extra length is in the trunk, which is over 50% longer than the two-door.