2022 Ford Bronco Raptor: Smaller Size, Different Mission, Still Awesome

ford-bronco-raptor-2022-06-exterior-profile-red-suv 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor | photo by Leslie Hilliard

Competes with: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392, Land Rover Defender

Looks like: Ford somehow made the Bronco even more badass

Powertrain: 400-horsepower (estimated), turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6; 10-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer

Some of the most capable, mind-blowing off-road vehicles on the planet have the word “Raptor” on them, and the two that Ford introduced have made a massive impact. The F-150 Raptor pickup truck became an astonishing benchmark, a Baja racing truck that you could drive off the showroom floor. Its little brother, the sadly not-for-the-U.S. (yet) Ranger Raptor, fits better in overseas markets (likely because it fits better on overseas streets).

But now we have a third member of the Raptor family joining the showroom: This is the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor, but unlike its F-150 brethren, the mission is a little bit different, according to Ford. The F-150 Raptor excels at blasting across the desert at crazy speeds, and the Bronco Raptor is designed to do that — but Ford says it’s also meant to be a much more well-rounded off-roader. To that end, the Bronco Raptor is expected to be equally adept at rock crawling, bouldering and short-track racing. Whereas the F-150 Raptor is inspired by Baja high-speed off-road racing, the Bronco Raptor has been inspired by the Ultra4 racing series, which combines high-speed off-roading with short-course racing, rock crawling and other events.

Related: The Ford Bronco Raptor Is Coming; Here’s What We Want

Shop the 2022 Ford Bronco near you

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
10,289 mi.
$93,000 $500 price drop
Fair Deal
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
239 mi.
Good Deal | $446 under

Extensive Changes Inside and Out

The most obvious changes to make a Bronco Raptor are the massive fender flares above the standard 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 off-road tires, which ride 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels. To improve the suspension travel (now 13 inches up front and 14 inches in back) to the desired level with those massive tires, Ford lengthened the track enough to put the wheels outside the body, necessitating the fender flares. The Bronco now rides on a modified Dana 44 axle up front and a new Dana 50 axle in back, stretching the track an additional 8.6 inches, with a considerable number of unique and modified components. It shares some with the F-150 Raptor (all four brakes), and some are unique to the Bronco Raptor (the rear shock-absorber design).

The suspension gets a lot of attention, too. It’s upgraded to a similar system as you get in the F-150 Raptor, including Fox 3.1 semi-active shocks with internal bypassing and integrated reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in back. They’re tied into Ford’s High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension 4.0 system, which uses height sensors and other means to actively monitor terrain conditions and vehicle performance, adjusting the suspension tuning automatically.

Ground clearance has been bumped to 13.1 inches, nearly 5 inches more than that of the base Bronco. Full underbody skid plates are included, with beefier plates up front and additional plates behind. The standard four-wheel drive has a higher-capacity clutch, good for desert running, while the upgraded two-speed transfer case has a 3.06:1 low ratio, good for a 67.7:1 crawl ratio. It’s controlled by a seven-mode drive selector in the cabin that includes a Baja mode, which activates an anti-lag mode for the turbochargers to keep them boosted during high-speed desert running.

The changes to the Bronco’s running gear necessitated changes to the SUV’s styling, as well. The taillights are unique to the Raptor, for instance: They feature a different design and position, with the relocation allowing the blind spot detection sensors in the taillights to see around the wide fenders, according to a Ford designer. The tire carrier in the rear swing-gate is new, too. So is the grille, which swaps the Blue Oval logo for the trademark Raptor “Ford” script, and the steel bumper, which has four small LED foglights from lighting company Rigid. Finally, the hood has been redesigned in sheet molding compound (which is to say, plastic), and it features a molded-in-color insert for the heat extractor and other nearby vents. Both the front and rear feature a three-element LED light, just like on the F-150 Raptor. That’s due to the Bronco Raptor being more than 80 inches wide — a spec that’s legally required to have extra marker lights.

Down the sides are unique rock rails that can support the weight of the vehicle, but they also have easily removable bolt-up running boards. Available colors for the Bronco Raptor mirror those of the 2022 Bronco with a few differences: Race Red and Carbonized Gray Metallic aren’t available, but Raptor-exclusive Code Orange is. As on the F-150, a graphics package adds splatter graphics on the hood and rear panels.

Engine and Transmission

Powering the Bronco Raptor is a high-output version of the turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 that’s optional in lesser Broncos. Ford doesn’t have exact power numbers yet, but company officials are hoping for 400 horsepower. The EcoBoost unit is mated to a standard 10-speed automatic transmission (there’s no manual option for the Raptor the way the regular Bronco offers). The Bronco Raptor also gets a genuine dual exhaust with the same valving system found on the F-150 Raptor, which allows you to select between four levels of sound. One nice part about the dual exhaust is that the relocation of the muffler has allowed Ford to add some reinforcement to the trailer hitch, upping the Bronco Raptor’s towing capacity to 4,500 pounds; that’s up 1,000 pounds over a standard Bronco. A new Tow/Haul mode comes with the Bronco Raptor, as does Ford’s Trail Control (a sort of off-road, low-speed cruise control), Trail Turn Assist and Trail One-Pedal Driving functions.

Upgraded Interior

Like the other Raptors, the Bronco Raptor gets an upgraded interior that’s more functional and specifically styled. It starts with rubberized washout flooring and Ford Performance seats in Black Onyx marine-grade vinyl; the seats are upgradeable to leather-and-suede upholstery. A stitched-vinyl dash topper accompanies it, with Code Orange trim accents and stitching throughout the interior; Code Orange seat belts are optional. All Bronco Raptors get a thicker steering wheel with Raptor logos, magnesium paddle shifters and four Raptor-specific buttons along the bottom that control suspension, steering and drive mode settings, as well as an “R” button that allows users to activate a configurable custom setting. The standard 12-inch digital gauge cluster features Raptor-specific graphics; it’s also configurable.

There are some structural changes inside, as well — a new B-pillar overhead roof brace in aluminum and a C-pillar brace in carbon composite are fitted to improve structural rigidity (if you’re off-road jumping in a Bronco, this could be handy). This will affect the Bronco’s open-air feel and make it more like a Wrangler, but the improvements to torsional stiffness should be worth it.

Pricing and Release Date

The new 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor will be available for preorders in March, with customers that currently have open and unfulfilled Bronco reservations given first crack at upgrading their orders to a Raptor. It starts at $69,995 (including destination); that’s some $21,000 more than a four-door Bronco Wildtrak, the most optimized current Bronco for high-speed off-roading, but it’s around $6,500 less than the Bronco’s direct rival, the high-performance Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392. Bronco Raptors will start arriving in the summer.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Jan. 24, 2022, with pricing information from Ford.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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