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Ford Bronco Reader Review: Mechanical Capability Wrapped In Utter Mediocrity

Editor’s note: We’ve decided to publish this Ford Bronco review from Ford Authority reader Jonathan, a Bronco owner with a very interesting point of view on the off-road SUV. This is a take that may not be in line with what you believe, all we ask is that you be respectful of Johnathan and others in the comments section. This review has also been lightly edited. 

Potential Bronco buyers should be aware of two things: the Ford Bronco is every bit the mechanically badass beast it looks like on the outside. It is also every bit the absurd Mattel toy car it looks like on the inside. A strange mixture of modern mechanical marvel and cheap, out of touch design was no doubt the result of very different teams at Ford trying to make two different vehicles. It’s as if their winning Raptor off-road team collaborated with their Fiesta team, and the result was Bronco. Driving it long term feels like a cross between Mad Max and Mr. Bean – a formidable mechanical feat fused with an undeniably dopey experience. Here are this owner’s thoughts after standing in front of both ends of the Bronco. This is the review I wish someone had written for me a year ago.

2023 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Europe - Exterior 001 - Rear Three Quarters

The Good

The Bronco is a mechanical beast that can take on moderate trails straight from the factory. The higher trims come with front and rear lockers and an electronic sway bar disconnect. One off-road advantage it possesses over other competitors, like Jeep, is the ability to lock the front without locking the rear. This can get you up steep, slippery inclines without the fishtailing that often occurs when the rears are locked. The electronic sway bar disconnect allows for more flex, adding traction to uneven environments, and can be disconnected while articulating. It can also keep you comfortable on uneven or rocky terrain.

2023 Ford Bronco Badlands Europe - Exterior 002 - Front Three Quarters

Even with the sway bar disconnected, the design of Ford’s independent front suspension isn’t quite up to par with that of more dedicated off-roaders like Jeep. Motortrend found that a Jeep Wrangler had a 20% higher ramp travel index (a measure of suspension flex) than the Bronco, and that’s with the sway bars disconnected on each. Lower trim Broncos without this disconnect are deeply castrated, with far less flex. The trade-off is drivability. By having an independent front suspension, Ford has made the Bronco a much better street car than the Jeep. Jeep may dominate the trails, but getting to them will require a lot more attention to steering and a less comfortable ride than the Bronco.

With IFS, Ford has positioned the Bronco as a more capable desert racer, and by desert racer I mean mall crawler or grocery getter, which is what it will be to the vast majority of owners. If you spend more of your time on-road than off, the Bronco will definitely be a more comfortable ride at the expense of off-road capability. Off-road, Jeep offers more articulation, and a proven solid front axle design giving consistent front end balance and weight distribution that will keep you firmly planted on the trail, without having to worry about snapping toothpick-size tie rods and without wondering just what your wheels are up to. On the other hand, IFS is far less likely to drag you into ruts or jerk you around in certain off-road conditions and will out-handle most (though not all) solid axle setups.

Ford Bronco

Bronco’s G.O.A.T. modes provide a much more fine-tuned experience tailored to your terrain than traditional 4×4 mechanisms alone. In addition to the lockers and disconnect, the various modes alter the truck’s throttle response and shift points to deliver the right amount of torque and pedal sensitivity needed for rock crawling, desert racing, or even just snow and ice. Its manners are much more refined than Jeep’s OffRoad+ mode, and while some hardcore Jeepers may argue that they’re all unnecessary features, these are the same guys who walked to school uphill both ways, and would also like you to get off their lawn. This modern tech makes tackling the trail a whole lot more manageable, ultimately making off-roading more accessible to newcomers and more easy going for the rest of us.

If you purchase the Sasquatch package, you get a nice lift straight from the factory, 35” tires, and better shocks. The Badlands comes with very (very!) firm Bilstein coilovers, while the Wildtrak comes with the more comfortable Fox coilovers. Unfortunately, the Wildtrak doesn’t include a sway bar disconnect, limiting its articulation. This seemingly stupid trade-off centers more around Ford’s marketing than common sense; their desire to separate the two trim levels for slow articulation vs. high speed racing is ill-conceived, and detracts from the potential either one of thee vehicles could offer. To get the full potential of your Bronco, you’ll have to either install your own racing coilovers on a Badlands, add a manual disconnect to a Wildtrak, or buy a Raptor. The Raptor may seem like an attractive upgrade until you consider the extra 10” of track width will be nothing but a hindrance off-road, not to mention the addition of Rubbermaid garbage cans for fenders. The Bronco is a purpose built vehicle, but the trim levels force you to narrow down even further on your purpose, taking an otherwise capable feat of engineering and crippling each trim level in different ways. Thanks, Ford Marketing.

In addition to the mechanicals, the Bronco delivers exceptional safety. The design of the Bronco cabin has bested many front collision tests with flying colors, and if you inspect front collisions on websites such as Copart, most Broncos look barely scratched, compared to absolutely decimated Jeeps. Forum users have posted photos of hitting deer (and even one cow!) at high speeds with only marginal front end damage. Passenger intrusion does not appear to be an issue, and with front and rear side curtain airbags, the energy of side impacts is well controlled. Certainly none of the Jeep-flipping nonsense is likely to happen in a Bronco.

The cabin is big and spacious, ideal for long trips with family or friends. The rear cargo area can handle an onslaught of camping gear and luggage. There is plenty of headroom. The seats are wide and deep. Much like the Ford F-150, the Bronco is like a living room on wheels. If you’re a lone wolf, this will all seem quite unnecessary. If you’re social by any means, you’ll appreciate the extra room.

The Bad

The cabin is so spacious, in fact, that it can often feel a bit like Ford built a station wagon on top of a 4×4. The Bronco has a feeling similar to how I’d imagine the Griswold family Truckster would feel like on a lift kit. The big, bulky body is far less nimble and more difficult to maneuver off-road than a Wrangler or an FJ. Ford had to add trail sights just to see where your tires should be. The Bronco also weighs around 500-1,000 pounds more than comparable off-roaders at the same trim level. It’s no surprise that their rock crawling packages include such stiff springs, as the truck is much more likely to rock back and forth with its extra weight and girth. To compensate for the Bronco’s bulkier body, Ford has added a 360 camera, allowing the driver to navigate obstacles off-road, and be able to park at the grocery store on-road. The wide angles provide a broad field of view, useful for navigating rocks on the trail and toys in the driveway. Unfortunately, lower trim models don’t include this feature, and Ford is only seemingly building low-end models this year, which is why none of the Broncos at the mall are ever parked straight.

The interior has an innately cheap feeling to it too. The doors echo a hollow and cheap sound when closed, and an old school rattle when opened due to their poor frameless design. Neither the dash nor the doors are wrapped, leaving cheap exposed plastic materials that scratch far too easily. Even a careful and clean person can easily scratch the inside of the doors by simply opening and closing them regularly. By contrast, other modern off-roaders are either wrapped, or at least use softer rubber-like materials that don’t scuff so easily. The Bronco, however is the cheap toy car interior you’ve always hated about Fords from the 1980s. Function follows form here, too: the auxiliary switches feel like cheap plastic, and have their own hollow feel when flipped. The top of the dash both looks and feels like Styrofoam, and it feels like it will break easily – please don’t throw your phone down on my dash or you’ll cause permanent damage. It seems Ford’s only attempt to make this thing look good was to rubberize some of the controls, but even that feels more like they stretched a condom across the buttons than took the time to think through the design.

The Sync 4 infotainment system tries really hard to be advanced, but is so incredibly buggy that it is frustrating to use, and one of the most miserable experiences to owning a Bronco. Certain trims, including my Badlands Lux, have multiple reports of forgetting even the most basic navigation system settings, such as the map’s orientation and full screen mode, the ambient lighting settings, or even the current XM station, requiring the driver to reconfigure the software every time they start the truck. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are often sluggish and choppy for many, or cut out completely while driving. Many of these bugs came with more recent software updates, suggesting the quality of their software is getting even worse. All of this makes that gorgeous 12” screen much less useful. Even if Ford did fix all of their bugs, the Sync software itself is very bland and void of the kinds of features you see in other manufacturers packages. Chrysler’s UConnect, by contrast, provides a feature rich, aesthetically pleasing, and highly customizable interface rather than Ford’s bland blue screen with only a few very basic screens. Sync offers little more than a glorified radio and a mediocre navigation system. Ford has been quite lax in pushing out software updates, and as a customer you have no way to find out when a software update might be pushed to your vehicle. Some recent updates were recalled due to unforeseen bugs, and some customers have reported in forums that receiving an update has left them stranded with a disabled vehicle.

You’ll definitely need to use that radio, as the Bronco is by far the noisiest modern off-roader I’ve driven. Wind noise is an order of magnitude louder than Jeep, where Ford’s hard top is even several decibels louder than Jeep’s Sky One-Touch Power Top. Ford’s frameless windows design, while it made sense for aerodynamic Mustang windows, doesn’t work so well for brick shaped vehicles. Wind noise that doesn’t make it in through Ford’s poor hard top seals or lack of soundproofing in the floor and doors is also likely to make it in through Ford’s poor choice of window seal materials. That’s when the windows close correctly. I often find myself having to perform a window retrain procedure once a month on average, or the windows will slam against the rubber seals when I close a door. During cold weather, the seals tend to shrink up and can even whistle (loudly!) when a cross wind hits the vehicle. At highway speeds over 65 in any climate, the noise is deafening. Don’t expect to carry on conversations on the highway unless you like to yell, and forget about calling anybody. At least at low speeds, it quiets down a bit and the only thing you’ll have to listen to is the clunky annoying droning of Ford’s underpowered Ecoboost engine, which is also a lot louder than it should be.

The Stupid

While we’ve already approached stupid territory covering the interior, there are several design decisions that cross the line into downright stupidity. The instrument cluster consists of a small screen poorly married to an analog speedometer, and positioned at the one leftmost place on the cluster that no normal person would ever look at it. I’ve tried to use the analog speedometer on several occasions, and due to its position, causes my eyes to be completely distracted from the road. What’s a casual glance on any other vehicle could easily cause an accident in the Bronco due to its poor placement. Ford would have done much better to just extend the screen to the left edge and ditch the analog dial altogether. Right next to the analog speedometer (that you’ll never look at) is a digital speedometer, which you will cringe every time you look at. You’ll cringe because the digital speedometer was designed as a giant, meaningless thermometer on your screen that slowly fills up as you accelerate – but without providing any meaningful information in the graphic. Ford didn’t add any labels or even tick marks to the readout, giving you absolutely nothing but wasted meaningless space. The tach was designed almost as poorly, with only meaningless tick marks having no labels. I’ve seen toy cars with better clusters, and would prefer a nicely designed sticker for a dash than what Ford has provided to look at.

Ford included power seats, but didn’t include one of the most basic features – seat memory. If you’re sharing the Bronco with another user, or take it in for service frequently (which you probably will), then you’ll immediately notice this feature annoyingly missing. I guess if I were a Ford exec, I’d spin it positively by pointing out that it complements their theme of forgetting infotainment settings.

Higher trims include a full set of steel bash plates, yet for all that money, Ford didn’t protect the transmission pan, which is literally a plastic pan on the bottom of the truck. What could possibly go wrong? Ask the people who have cracked their transmission pan, and they’ll be glad to tell you.

As a company, Ford has got it together far less than any of their competitors. Three years in, and customers are still unable to purchase a Bronco with dual OE tops, modular tops, or many of the other options and accessories they promised. Ford is still poorly managing their supply chain, too. Getting a Bronco built is a long and sometimes multi-year process, and ordering one with the options you want may be impossible. Ford recently warned existing order holders that they’d have to cancel their hard top, Sasquatch package, and luxury options if they had any hope of getting their Bronco built in 2023. Their customer support also continues to prove frustratingly unhelpful, and often times incompetent. It took several calls and emails to executives just to report the many software problems they’ve recently introduced, as their front-line support agents don’t have a process to accept bug reports. Ford still largely treats the dealers as their customers, rather than the people who actually pay for their vehicles. This has dramatically changed over the years with other manufacturers, and you’ll find that companies like Chrysler have excellent customer service that only leaves Ford the dinosaur in the room.

Conclusion

The Bronco is a mixed bag overall. Ford made a lot of trade-offs that make the Bronco a reasonable, though loud, family adventure vehicle with an impressive amount of off-road prowess from the factory, filling a niche Jeep has been missing out on. Unlike Jeep, though, the Bronco isn’t a comfortable or practical daily driver, and not what many would consider a dedicated off-roader. Given the steadily increasing pricing of the Bronco, it “ain’t no high-end vehicle” either; it feels like a cheap, ratty old pickup truck with a cardboard interior and an underpowered engine.

In spite of its shortcomings, the Bronco is still a lot of fun to drive, and will probably take you most places you want to go off-road. It’s less nimble and more docile than a Jeep but is designed to be more of a family SUV than an apocalyptic off-roader. You’re likely to be happier with a Bronco if you live in the south-west, where there’s a lot of open space for off-roading, given its wide body. If you are looking to do more technical work off-road, such as along the East Coast, a Jeep would be more suitable for the terrain.

Ford Bronco Off-Road Connect Experience - Front Three Quarters

Yes, Bronco is definitely selling well, but Ford should be concerned that there are a growing turnover of customers whose honeymoon is over and are less than enthusiastic about their Bronco after some time. First Editions aren’t even selling near sticker anymore. Dealerships are seeing more and more Broncos pile up on lots. What was the hot markup fad just a couple years ago is now getting harder and harder to sell. If Ford appears to be inundated with orders, it’s only because they’ve been unable to fulfill them for several years now. There is no telling how many of those orders actually connect with the original customers, many have simply given up and moved on. Nevertheless, there is definitely a cult of Bronco – those who love everything about the Bronco simply because it brings back the nostalgia of earlier generations, or because they love the Ford brand, and are willing to look past its many shortcomings. That same cult can be found in Jeep as well, and is largely the reason Jeep hasn’t had a reason to innovate for twenty years. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to Ford. At least Jeep seems to have woken up to the fact that their customers have grown up and expect more for their money.

2023 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Europe - Exterior 002 - SIde

In addition to some of the undesirable traits of the Bronco, Ford’s supply chain and factory process continue to be poorly managed. How embarrassing it must be for Ford to have to email their customers begging them to change their order. Problems continue to plague their manufacturing line as well, with recalls calling for complete engine replacements and problems with wheels literally falling off Broncos after customers take delivery. Such poor execution should make anyone want to run. Meanwhile, Chrysler is chugging right along with order fulfillment, and continuing to innovate with their 2024 MY by giving their apocalyptic off-roaders a quiet and luxurious interior. Warning shots have been fired.

Ford Bronco Raptor Off-Roadeo Front Three Quarters View

I’ve tried really hard to love it, but if I’m being honest, there is too much to not love about both Bronco and Ford. The company has long treated their customers with apathy, and it’s shown in their design choices with the Bronco. They could have, with a little more ingenuity, designed things differently and really nailed it, but just like an M. Knight Shyamalan movie, they did so little with so much. I wouldn’t count on Ford being able to fix the many supply chain and quality issues that have plagued them with the Bronco any time soon, quite frankly that would require a new CEO. They will have to do something to keep things moving though, as Ford’s competitors have fiercely throw down the gauntlet for 2024 market share.

Ford may innovate to something more impressive in the next redesign, but first I’d like to see them get the current model right.

Once again, a special thanks to Jonathan for submitting this review! Subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news, and for comprehensive Ford news updates.

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Comments

  1. Dmenace

    Good lord, was considering purchase of the new ranger. Waited 2 years now while the rest of the world got it. I know they want to build it on the same line as Bronco. Another disappointment?

    Reply
    1. Jacob

      I really think this guy and other people in the comments have forgotten the Bronco’s intended purpose: it’s an off-roader. It’s designed to have the top off with dirt, sand, mud, and water being flung everywhere. Do you really want a plush interior for that? The thing has drainage holes in the floorboard if you want to rinse it out, for crying out loud. And while the interior won’t ever be confused with something like a Bentley, it certainly isn’t nearly as bad as this guy makes it out to be. This thing was designed to crawl over rocks, go through mud, cross water, blast through sand, etc. You can’t expect a vehicle built for that purpose to be the height of refinement. Could they have designed certain aspects better? I’m sure. But I really don’t think the Bronco is the worthless heap of junk this guy seems to believe it is.

      Reply
  2. Joe Schmo

    Great review, but I do take issue with the idea that a change in CEO is in order. I am likely biased as I’m a huge fan of Jim Farley and think he is doing almost all the right things right now, but consider that in the auto industry, I imagine a lot of problems only manifest over many years. I think Farley has at least a year or two before he needs to own Ford’s shortcomings, as I attribute a lot of the recent troubles and disappointments to his CEO predecessors. But again, very helpful insights into the Bronco from an owner’s perspective and much appreciated.

    Reply
  3. Craig Strawson

    Interesting take on the Bronco. I would agree completely on the assessment of the dash. It’s still annoying and not user friendly. I own a 21 Badlands Sasquatch with lux package. I have another comment he missed. The Bronco is advertised as flat towable to compete with Jeep.
    Well it worked great until it either didn’t go into flat tow mode or came out during towing. I now have a destroyed transmission. Ford will not warrant it. Yet they can’t prove I did anything wrong or even say what happened. Customer service is non existent. They say it’s up to the dealer to determine if it’s warranty. The dealer tells me Ford will not warrant it because it was flat towed. I’m being spun in circles. Ford said I can take it to another dealer. But Ford has flagged it now so that doesn’t make sense to do. I have a new Bronco with 15000km that has been sitting at the dealer for over a month now, and a $7000 bill if and when the replacement transmission comes in.

    Reply
  4. C. Baum

    I’ve happily owned a Bronco Badlands with the Luxe package and V-6 since October 2021. I’m an also a magazine publisher. Please stop running amateur entries to your newsletter or I will stop reading it. This type of stuff is all over the internet from self proclaimed experts. I expect better from Ford Authority.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Being a Reader with his own mind I enjoyed what they wrote. I have over the years found many errors in many Professional Auto Reviews, and that includes Consumer Reports, and I should email them that some of their stuff is simply Wrong. Today, many of the Pros are picking on little things that do that mean much to someone that has been a Car Guy from birth to today at age 71. Now I own the Bronco Sport, named it BSi1, and so far it is fine for my purpose. Now you as a Publisher your saying you will stop reading here if they do not obey your rules is simply Funny. Truth is I skimmed the review and from years of experience I can see most of his points, again some of those are not important to me when it comes to The Big Bronco (at a fair price)! Enjoy your Big Badlands as I enjoy my BS Badlands for my needs, but I am thinking an old man’s Subi with an honest full-time 4-wheel drive makes sense for my highway cruiser up here in Great White North with 80 mph Ice Covered Interstates. The Big Bronco’s full-time system would require my investigation as I think it is reactive just like my BS is, and being 71 and an old Hot Rodder and Street Racer I am looking for something a little narrower for my aging eyes. Enjoy what you have.

      Reply
  5. Dan

    Well written review Sadly as a former Ford dealer (I sold out 18 months ago) I have to agree with the comments about Ford corporate. Yes they do treat the dealer as their customer, which we are, but they make it unnecessarily difficult for us to keep our retail customers happy! Even as an owner my personal order took over a year. I walked away from it. Minor detail for me compared to the challenge of apologizing to other customers weekly for the delays and lack of reliable information from HQ. Support staff is mostly kids fresh out of school that just repeat what Ford tells them. My wife is very happy with our Bronco Sport which is basically her grocery getter with some very light bush road use. I bought a Mercedes cabriolet:) I sincerely hope they get it together soon. “Car guys” at corporate are few and far between.

    Reply
  6. Lou Rahhal

    Well…….Glad to hear how capable off-road it is, I think the interior is pretty solid, but seriously, the back seat is SMALL! Ain’t no 4 people going up north with luggage in that Bronco! No leg room what’s so ever in back. Great vehicle for two people, dog and luggage, Bottom line, for $55,000 + i’ll take a F150 all day long. Can pull a boat ( over 3500 lbs!!! hello?) plenty of back seat space for 3, and 5.5” or more of storage/luggage space

    Reply
  7. Dan

    Is this a joke?

    Reply
  8. Al Jezowski

    I’m gets ready to order a Ranger Raptor, but I may wait for the 2024 Taco TRD Pro. Something more reliable!

    Reply
  9. Glenu

    Well, I thought the review was exceptional ( I too was surprised by the CEO comment (let’s give him a chance!). My first impression of the new Bronco when it first hit the market was the looks- it reminds me of a Matchbox toy. I just can’t get past that. Also least we forget- what are the gas mileage numbers.

    Reply
  10. Kevin

    So, having a wildtrack for 12 months now and problem free driving, and also meeting dozens of other Bronco owners at events since it was introduced, I’m glad I haven’t met anyone as critical as the obvious jeep lover that wrote the review. You mention several issues on the interior from hollow doors to the “cheap feeling aux switches.” I sit here and ponder wtf your talking about! I can be objective, but I really wish someone that is entitled to do a review wouldn’t be by someone that obviously has interests in something completely different.

    Reply
  11. Noclutch

    You need to look in to a Toyota Fj Cruiser for the ultimate 4×4 best from 2010 to 2014. It is a poor mans G Wagon, It is new school old school that is a lot of fun on road as off. I get a kick out of mine.

    Reply
  12. Kevin Wiggins

    I stay aware of auto industry news and views. If one has kept abreast of auto news in recent years, one would know that CEO Farley has struggled to rectify Ford’s mechanical / technical challenges. Johnathan’s review was honest and frank, but not scathing. Useful to anyone considering hard, or easily earned dollars on a Bronco / Ford product.

    Reply
  13. Jeff T

    I sold my wrangler and bought a 2022 outerbanks bronco and love it. In my opinion the bronco is by far the better of the 2. After 8 months of owning a bronco I would order another one.

    Reply
  14. Bill

    Honestly, after owning my Bronco for 6 months now I can say, he ain’t wrong in his review!

    Reply
  15. Carlos

    OK, is this April fools in May?
    The guy that wrote this review did not have to buy the Bronco, he could have stopped when he saw it at the dealer. I have a wild trak, just passed 7K miles and I love it on and off road. I know there are some issues that could have being improved.
    So far I have seeing more positives than negative.
    So far I love love my bronco, don’t know how I’ll in the future, but for now it’s all good.
    Peace. ..

    Reply
  16. Kevin

    Please show me ANY vehicle that could not have done “improvements”, whether it be in materials or design. Having said that, Ford is notorious for “less than deluxe” interiors, but this alleged “reviewer” has an extremely obvious pre-disposition for Jeep. Now, if you want to talk about EXTREMELY NOUSY vehicles, let’s talk jeep. Undeniably, the undisputed loudest vehicle I have EVER been in. You have to tell your conversation at ANY speed. Speaking of cheap materials? Jeep holds the crown. Along with hollow, cheap sounding door closures, along with pathetic fit and finish. Now, let’s talk about the pathetic fuel economy of jeep. You dss as men well better have an above average fuel budget to operate one of those gas guzzlers. Bronco is far from perfect, but jeep is in a deep hole that it has no hope of climbing out of any time soon. Also, the jury is out on how long stellantis sticks around. I, for one, have little faith in its longevity. But that’s me.

    Reply
    1. Jim

      My 2019 JL is very quite! I have hard top with 4 cylinder turbo. 17 in town & 22 on highway! 35 inch tires with 2 inch lift. Can’t say enough about how sweet a transmission it has. Always in right gear. No complaints except for no power seats. That’s just F/N stupid.

      Reply
  17. Kevin

    Please show me ANY vehicle that could not have some “improvements”, whether it be in materials or design. Having said that, Ford is notorious for “less than deluxe” interiors, but this alleged “reviewer” has an extremely obvious pre-disposition for Jeep. Now, if you want to talk about EXTREMELY NOISY vehicles, let’s talk jeep. Undeniably, the undisputed loudest vehicle I have EVER been in. You have to tell your conversation at ANY speed. Speaking of cheap materials? Jeep holds the crown. Along with hollow, cheap sounding door closures, along with pathetic fit and finish. Now, let’s talk about the poor fuel economy of jeep. You damn well better have an above average fuel budget to operate one of those gas guzzlers. Bronco is far from perfect, but jeep is in a deep hole that it has no hope of climbing out of any time soon. Also, the jury is out on how long stellantis sticks around. I, for one, have little faith in its longevity. But that’s me.

    Reply
  18. Walt

    Nice compilation of all the complaints and complements from the Bronco forums since 2020…nothing original. I’ve owned Jeeps and currently own a 2022 Outer Banks/SAS/Lux… and love the vehicle.

    Reply
  19. frank Manzare

    Sounds like Jonathan had all the answers? I have owned 8 Jeep Wranglers all the way up to a current JL. My wife drives a Bronco Outer Banks and we attended an Off Roadeo event sponsored by Ford/Bronco. I’d say Jeep needs to up their game! It’s not just about ride or plastic interior where I don’t see the new Jeep any better than the Bronco. The technology available in the Bronco far surpasses anything I have seen from Jeep in their Wrangler models. It’s good to have more choices now. Thank you Ford for bringing back the Bronco!

    Reply
  20. Mike

    Here’s a look at the reasons I’m driving a Bronco today after our ‘21 Wrangler Rubicon. We regularly drive cross country from Arizona to Michigan and back , lots of miles, back roads, some off road, and highway miles. We had the upgraded leather seats on the Jeep and I would describe them as punishment, poor padding and design, poor placement and little adjustment. If you’re not comfortable, what good is the rest?
    Then there were the episodes, pulled over on side of the road with dash warning lights flashing all over. One trip we pulled over 5 times and visited Jeep dealers 4 times. First one scanned and said we don’t have the part, things settled down and we made 200 more miles and engine would cut out periodically and restart, second dealer no part. We continue on with warning lights on sometimes and sometimes not, went through a restaurant drive through, Jeep wouldn’t start, finally got it going and into next dealership, no part, but dealer 200 miles away has the sensor. We drive there, get part, dealer drops our transfer case and installs new one. Great service, we drive 6 blocks, warning lights again, back to dealer, advises getting to our destination and having selling dealer work on it. We drive, sometimes it’s fine, other times it throws more codes and lights, starting to stall out as we’re driving, we finally make it to Arizona and make a appointment with our selling dealer.
    After 6 hours they finally find the cause, rear wiring harness too close to the exhaust melting wires and shorting out. What a trip, great dealers, they tried but couldn’t figure the problem out. That was fall of 2021. No episodes for awhile, ran nice.
    Fall of 2022, South Dakota, driving, warning lights again, oh shucks or something less nice. Pull over, check manual, says rear axle locker is locked. Call dealer, they say sensor is bad and if it doesn’t seem to be locked it’s ok to drive. Stop at next dealer, oh we’ve had over a dozen of these and we need to order a whole new axle, 3-5 months, but you’re safe to drive. Next dealer in Utah, service manager says Jeep has come up with a repair kit and he can get one overnight. He does and the kit comes with 6 sensors, the mechanics have to try each one to see what one works, it was the 4th one. Jeep didn’t even know what sensor was in the axle. Nice helpful dealer.
    We get back to Arizona and get our mail, recall from Jeep, high pressure fuel pump and no parts available if it goes. Talked to dealer, that’s right and also Jeep is dropping your engine soon, 3.0 diesel. That was probably the best engine and transmission combination I’ve ever driven out of the 60 plus vehicles I’ve owned, but with all the electrical issues it’s downright scary even thinking about driving off road into remote locations. We stopped at our selling dealer when trying to figure out our next step and talked to people we had gotten to know. One salesgirl showed us her new Wrangler 4Xe, that’s the plug-in hybrid, it was in the back of the lot sitting for over 6 months waiting for parts. I guess all brands and models have troubles, some more than others. So far my butt doesn’t go numb and I haven’t been on side of the road trying to figure out codes and going on trips where we only visited dealers and had NO FUN. Fingers crossed, hope you have good luck with competing brands.

    Reply
  21. Blackbelt

    I have to agree with a few points that the reviewer. Primarily about how screwed up Ford is compared to their competition. Let’s take the Maverick. Ford can’t find a way to push 90,000 Mavericks a year out the door. They don’t exist in any dealers inventory, and people have waited 18+ months. However, they can crank out 700,000 F150’s that are now sitting on lots because so few can afford the payments on a $75K+ truck. Why did Ford even bother to produce the Maverick if they don’t really want to sell them? Is it a CAFE thing? The Bronco spike is now over, as the reviewer has alluded to. Now the people with more money than brains are overpaying for flipped Rivians. This market truly does suck.

    Reply
  22. Shockandawe

    Sounds like a real TURD! I think I’ll pass and buy the Jeep!

    Reply
    1. Manny

      I sure all this is a very accurate article.
      I believe is on the internet right.
      Stop.

      Reply
  23. Henry

    Having owned my Badlands Sasquatch for a year now I can say I have never been happier with a new vehicle. It drives like a charm both on road and off. We live in DC during the week and on our farm in PA on the weekends where we take my son 4 wheeling almost weekly. The gas mileage is a surprisingly good for a box, (16.7 city, 19.6 hwy). It’s fast, easy to handle and just a joy to drive. I put about 500 miles a week on it. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the noise after coming from a Silverado, but I don’t notice it anymore. Overall an amazing vehicle that we all love!

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  24. Rick Pittman

    Well, the review was “interesting”. I’ve sold cars for 28 years and the Bronco is the 1st vehicle I have bought for myself in 25 years. The wife gets new cars and I am fortunate enough to get a “demo”. Having sold both Wrangler and Bronco there is NO comparison at all! The Jeep IS a strong off roader NO DOUBT but definitely NOT a “daily driver”!!! I have serious back issues and after a year I still LOVE driving my Bronco base 4 door (with a few upgrades).

    Reply
  25. Bronco Billy

    I read much of the review but eventually got tired of the author’s propensity to exaggerate his points. I have a loaded ’22 Badlands and the interior does have a lot of plastic but it’s not nearly as fragile or cheap as he states. The seat comfort and ride are far superior to Wrangler Rubicon. I don’t think the Wildtrak/Badlands divide is nearly as stupid as he implies either. The Wildtrak is designed to be a high speed desert runner where disconnecting sway bars are not useful whereas the Badlands is more of woodland trail runner / rock crawler so the disconnecting sway bar is handy. The differences in suspension between the two makes sense too. The optional FOX shocks are great for desert running and the Bilstein shocks are excellent for trail crawling. You can snap tie rods on extreme trails but you can do the same in Wranglers. Bronco is better powered than Wrangler (with the exception of the 392) and makes a much better daily driver – more comfortable, safe and larger capacity. It also rides better off-road than Wrangler in all but rock crawling conditions.

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  26. GB

    LOL… don’t feed the trolls.

    July 2020 order, Sep 2022 delivery of a ‘22 Badlands 4-door, and absolutely love it. are there things that I complain about and wish had come better from the factory? it’s a CAR, so yes. but “upgrades” seem to be half the joy for Jeep owners to begin with, and there is a quickly growing list of mods I wanna make. the Bronco is great both on- and off-road, pretty much everywhere except at the gas pump. as a daily driver it’s just ok, but that’s not the point, this vehicle’s MISSION is to GTFO and that it does incredibly well. I haven’t seen a trail yet in Washington that I’ve been afraid to tackle, even in my bone-stock, non-Sas Badlands. 33s w front and rear lockers doing just fine for exploring every inch of the forest and mountain trails through the state and national parks out here. and yes, the occasional trip to the mall. 😉

    haters gonna hate, and this review made me laugh. good luck and have fun, no matter what you drive. \m/

    Reply
  27. Jim Seikel

    I have owned my GB bronco for 8 months and concur with the writer. My bronco is perfect in concept and execution with a few maddingly exceptions such as nav/audio/climate system being unresponsive- convertible top takes a hour to lower and raise- rear seat backs vertical – rear seat fold down angle makes front half unusable- the noise!! more than any 4×4 I have ever owned (12-15). Must mention great front seats- turbo 4 quick (4.27 diff) good mpg- ride/ handling- perfect size. Recent trip to Moab was uneventful, bronco handled everything on and offroad with no drama, my wife stayed at home because of the —noise, hmm?

    Reply
    1. Ryan Hedden

      What does “GB” Bronco mean?

      Reply
  28. John

    Ah an honest review written by a hardcore jeep guy. The first problem is that the reviewer paid too much for a model he didn’t need. I have a big bend and am happy with it. “Oh the power seats don’t have memory and there is plastic everywhere”. Cry me a river and go buy a luxury car. Sure there are a few things that could be better, show me a new vehicle that doesn’t have some issues. Yes, i had to wait a year for mine because I wanted a hard top and a 22 for the color choice.
    So what? Considering the timing of the release I think they did a fine job. I don’t think bronco was meant to take down jeep, it was meant for the ford guy that didn’t want an f150 or an explorer. ” It doesn’t have the axle articulation of a wrangler”, how many times are you going to take your 60k vehicle someplace you have to worry about extreme articulation? You buy a 5k beater if you want to beat on it. I had an awd equinox and guess what, the average fuel economy is about 2 mpg worse in the bronco. Not really that bad. I sprung for the 2.7, it has lots of power, i don’t know what this guy is whining about. We had a 4.0 litre (because it’s British?) Cherokee and sure it had some balls, but the Ecoboost is more than equal. I think the moral of the story is that bronco isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. The main point I agree with is the factory radio sucks, should have been a radio delete option, i especially dislike that you have to pay a nav subscription, that is crap.

    Reply
  29. Wazza351

    Spoken like a true Jeep supporter…..

    Everyone will have a a different opinion on any sort of car, SUV etc etc, he obviously is a picky person and would be fun at parties……NOT!!

    This is a 4×4 that needs to be exported to Australia to combat the Jeep, although there has been a Bronco spotted in R/H drive guise in Oz, so who knows, we might get lucky…..

    Reply
  30. c

    Damn, Bronco owners came out in force in the comment section.

    Reply
  31. Dan Dasson

    I had high hopes for the Bronco, but Ford’s over the top pricing took all of the fun out of shopping for one, bringing it home and personalizing it, as I’ve done with past Wranglers.
    I’m someone with plenty of disposable income, but current new vehicle pricing vs value, has me thinking that my interest in new cars is history.

    Reply
  32. Doug Hilderbrandt

    Having owned my 2022 Black Diamond for almost a year, and taking several multi-day trips both on and off road, I’d say I agree with most of this review. Like with any other vehicle, it has it’s good and bad points.
    The wind noise drives me insane, but I figured it would be bad when I ordered it. The stereo is worse than my 2012 GMC work truck and could probably be replaced by a couple of tin cans and a string without anyone noticing. Gas mileage isn’t all the great, but 35″ tires tend to do that.
    It drives great, and driving from NY to Utah and back was enjoyable enough that I’m planning a trip to WY next month.
    It isn’t a rock crawler, but it’s plenty capable on most back country routes that I’ll be on.
    The ordering process wasn’t all that bad. It took almost exactly 9 months for me to get the exact vehicle I wanted, which is a completely new experience for me. I’ve usually had to settle for what I could find on a lot somewhere.
    So on the whole, after about a year and 15000 miles, I’d say that I’m just as satisfied with it as any honest Jeep owner would be. Will that satisfaction last? Time will tell.

    Reply
  33. John Thomas

    I’m starting to wonder who or what “Ford Authority” is, and why FA would publish this Owner Opinion piece called a review? Some of it I agree with, much of it is just opinion, like calling the interior spacious. The front seats are pretty good for the type of car but not the rear. I also don’t get the continued whining about fit and finish of the inside. It’s a car that’s made to be rained on with a roof off. I’ve spent 19 months and 34,000 miles in mine I like it quite a bit. The writer says it’s not a good daily driver but a Jeep is. Are you serious? It’s an excellent daily driver. The place it gets a bit noisy is on the highway at 75 to 80 miles an hour. The reviewer also claims it’s underpowered. By what measure? It’s got more power than just about any car I’ve had, drives very nicely has lots of Pep. I can’t even fit in a Jeep, at 6’5″ my head hits the crossbar, and Ford’s design has a lot more Headroom and is roomier than a Jeep, as stated. Many of the complaints are style observations, akin to complaining about the luggage space in a Corvette. Maybe you bought the wrong car? Wish you had a skid plate for the trans or gas tank? Add one. Complaint about the door closing sound? Really? This was published? You do realize these are alunimum doors designed to be lightweight and removable, and yet meet safety standards for side impact. For me, my 2021 OBX Bronco is a well designed reliable car, it has been fun to drive, rewarding to upgrade or change features I dont like, and well worth the money I paid for it. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t deserve this negative review.

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  34. Thomas

    People, take off your rose-colored glasses
    The guy is very right.
    I just hope Ford learns and fixes this car
    To me, this Bronco looks like it just came out of a museum
    The shoddy execution of the interior with a hard plastic and the finish of the B-pillar from the inside is some kind of manufacture. Corrosion in such a young car is bad for the future. And the engine is another pandora’s box.
    Is there still a chance that Ford will build a stylish, well-made and durable vehicle?

    Reply
  35. Brice

    Bizarre review. I’m sure it’s your true opinion but only I understand about half of your gripes and was blindsided by the other half. Yes, the gauge cluster is stupid, OTA updates are frustrating (mine never come – had to push the full screen carplay update myself), and the frameless windows that don’t drop fast enough. It’s certainly not a perfect vehicle but when compared to the only other convertible 4 door off-roader on the market – there’s a reason I finally bought one after loving the idea of a Wrangler my whole life but finding the driving experience miserable. To say the Bronco is underpowered and a poor daily driver is mystifying. I say to anyone taking this review as the bible, agree if you will, but try for yourself. I’m 20k miles into ownership of a 21 Badlands Lux and find it to be an excellent vehicle. Perhaps I’m lucky and got a good one – but I’m no Ford fanboy and was nervous enough at the idea of purchasing my first blue oval that I bought the PremiumCare extended warranty. It has won me over and exceeded expectations even after the pink cloud of the initial purchase wore off.

    Reply
  36. JTW

    ’22 Badlands w/Lux and I must say after 12 months and 15,000 miles I have nothing but good things to say about my Bronco. I like the easy cleanability of the interior, the pep of the 2.7 and the all of features included. I have had no issues with the Sync 4 system and use Android Auto wireless every day. Currently I average 21 miles per gallon w/ nearly a 50/50 mix of city/highway driving. I have owned many vehicles in my time and none have been perfect but, so far, I can’t think of any that have impressed me more and been more fun to own and drive than the Bronco.

    Reply
  37. hallpod

    2022 2 door manual badlands waited 2 years.. I’ve owned three two door wranglers and a overland gladiator. Still own a nas 110 defender Author is correct about the instrument cluster and the software- its comedic. There’s plenty of room in the back seats to fit 6’2 men but the problem is getting in. The seats don’t move enough The inability to remove the rear seats without difficulty is annoying and then having to deal with flattening the floor is worse. You will need a sliding tray to reach anything if you do plan on removing the seats. He’s also correct about Ford customer service-it’s atrocious and the dealerships are not much better. I wouldn’t and didn’t buy a 4 door because ford never made one before and the 2 doors look better. I know nothing about the CEO but I wish him luck.

    The interior? Jeeps better. Funny. Since when. Its as good as my 2021 gladiator and the bronco seats are 5 times better. I still have the plastic shift knob that fell off my last wrangler. Doors are perfect and I don’t have to buy half ones and their thick and protective. Interior noise. I can talk using car play with my rear shell and roof off .. I don’t live in the southwest but the midwest and I leave the rear shell off throughout the spring summer and fall till october using the removable roof panels and heater. It four -wheels and conquers jeep trail woods with lowered canopys just like those guys back east and we have tons of hills and roots and streams and rocks and mud and snow and actually don’t need any camera’s because I have mirrors and two legs to get out of the car and look. The car shifts and accelerates with that eco boost better than any 4 x x4 I’ve ever owned- got my first ticket in a couple of years with it – never got one with any jeeps . But I do have to pay attention to that crappy cluster gauge to remind me what gear I’m in, because you can’t hear the RPMs even with the top on. I got more but i’m done. you get the drift. The car/truck is what its supposed to be – a very large toy that’s functional and looks cool and even better when you can buy it with an A plan and I’ll never buy another jeep.

    Reply
  38. William

    No issues at all with the article, hopefully Ford takes a good read of it and makes some changes. Completely agree that Ford could care less for ultimate customer, zero communication and dealers that shouldn’t be allowed to sell bubblegum much less represent their company. Best line in the article is “they did so little with so much”, never has a truer statement been written.

    Reply
  39. Ryan Hedden

    I’m thrilled with the new full size Bronco. We have a 2021 Outer Banks 2 door that we reserved on the night of July 13, 2020 and converted to an order on January 21, 2021. We took delivery on November 25 2021. I’m sure this Jonathen fellow is thrilled that he got what is essentially a whiny social media post published by an internet newsletter as an “article”. This is the first published reader review I’ve seen on Ford Authority. I have already forgotten most of his effete complaints, (lucky for him) or I would put more effort into dismantling his bellyaching. I’m no Ford fan, but I have been a Bronco enthusiast since I bought my 1977 Bronco in 1993. Sorry Ford Authority, There’s no respecting his drivel.

    Reply

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