May 30, 2024
Wheels

New Bronco gets ‘Raptor’ treatment

Ford gives SUV 418 horsepower with twin-turbo V6

From looks to performance off road, the 2024 Ford Bronco Raptor is bold in every way possible.

Ford’s introduction of the Raptor treatment in 2010, an ultra-offroad Baja-style combination of big horsepower and extreme suspension modifications, turned plenty of heads when it was added to a standard F-150 pickup. While the cost to “go Raptor” was steep, there were plenty of enthusiasts willing to drop the cash to be seen in the ultimate off-road pickup.

Fast forward to 2024, and the Raptor has become a legend of sorts. With a price on the pickup that can get into six-figure territory, the notability of a Raptor was still mostly rooted in the amazing capabilities combining the high-output systems. Today, three Ford vehicles offer the distinction of being a Raptor: the F-150 Raptor; Ranger Raptor; and the Bronco Raptor, which I recently drove for a week as winter and spring were fighting one another for control of my patience.

Winning hearts

With a base price of $39,630, the Bronco is winning consumers over with its cool, retro looks, roomy cabin, and off-road capability. The Raptor, well, its steep price of admission ($90,000 base) promises plenty of added extras. The 2024 standard specs are unchanged for Raptor, but the optional features list has been expanded.

There’s nothing low-key about the Bronco Raptor. The boxy body and huge 13-inch ground clearance give it an aggressive stance, with the massive 37-inch all-terrain tires pushed to the far back corners, lined up directly under the rear bumper. Raptor branding is everywhere – and it has plenty of attitude.

Running boards help you climb aboard and the flat black color falls in line with the huge well-guards and squared-off black top. A full-size spare is mounted on the rear door, just like the old Broncos had it.

The Code Orange package, which applies the Raptor family’s distinctive orange hue as an accent color to the exterior and interior for items such as the tow hooks, wheel perimeters, and seatbelts, is the boldest of the exterior looks. My tester featured this one, and it was turning heads everywhere I went. Two new colors, Velocity Blue and a U.S. Army-inspired Shelter Green, are available, as well as 17-inch wheel options co-developed by Ford Performance and Method Race Wheels. At 8.5 inches wide, it comes in four colors.

Giddy-up

The Ford Bronco Raptor features a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo generating up to 418 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. This V6 turbo is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and an on-demand 4WD system. Part of the Raptor’s reputation is its “giddy-up” with a 0-60 time of about 6 seconds. As expected, fuel economy is lousy at 15 city/16 highway/15 combined.

While the Raptor is not built for pavement-pounding, speed, it can reach 114 mph. It offers an impressive towing capacity of 4,500 pounds. With the HOSS 4.0 suspension, FOX Live Valve 3.1 internal-bypass semi-active dampers, and a 13.1-inch ground clearance, the Raptor can go wherever you point it.

Utilitarian

Broncos have always been about getting the tough jobs done. Not too much attention was paid to comfort or lavish features, it was a workhorse vehicle. Today, while you can opt for either vinyl or leather upholstery in Bronco Raptor, the utilitarian rubberized flooring (with drain holes) and marine-grade vinyl seats seem to be a perfect fit.

The Bronco Raptor cabin feels very retro with its unassuming, flat dashboard. Scattered among the dash is the modern digital infotainment system handled through the two large digital displays. Big, old-school controls are easy to use and help when the cabin is bouncing about. Backup and surround-view cameras, as well as front and rear parking sensors, make it easy to maneuver.

My tester featured an amazing Bang & Olufsen audio system with 10 speakers. This system can be dialed back to either a 10-speaker setup or a seven-speaker layout. The cloud-connected Sync 4 infotainment system features SiriusXM, FordPass Connect Wi-Fi connectivity, connected voice-activated navigation (90-day trial), AppLink with App Catalog, a digital owner’s manual, adaptive dash cards, personal profiles, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and two 12-volt power outlets.

Some of the more notable standard features are keyless entry with push-button start, a heated manually tilting/telescoping steering wheel trimmed in leather, remote start, auxiliary switches, a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, seven drive modes, paddle shifters, and wireless charging pad.

The Broncos are not the roomiest in the segment, but the second row is accommodating for three adults with an abundance of headroom. Front-row seating is very comfortable. I was able to find a nice, elevated driving position with the available adjustments for the steering wheel and seat.

Storage is at a premium in the Branco. There is a total cargo volume of 73 cubic feet when the 60/40-split rear seat is folded down. The best part is the seats fold nearly completely flat! Making Bronco especially cool is the ability to remove the roof. A thick, vinyl roof bag is available for storing the hard top after you’ve removed it.

Only a small percentage of vehicles I test over the course of a year manage to get the kind of attention the 2024 Ford Bronco Raptor got. Is it worth $90,000? You have to decide that one, but the capability it offers to go anywhere means you are always in charge.

• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and new vehicles.