The 2021 return of the Ford Bronco will likely go down in history as one of the most talked about comebacks in American automotive manufacturing. Gone––but not forgotten–-since 1996, the newest version of the Bronco is a testament to its origins. With the technology of the 2020s to back its rugged construction and GOAT (Goes Over Any Terrain) driving modes, the 2024 Ford Bronco is an off-roading powerhouse. So, why are you still waiting to buy one?
We’ve all heard the horror stories of new model releases, and it’s clear why many drivers are cautious about buying a first-year release of any model. This isn’t like action figures, where a ‘Mint In Box’ Bronco is going to fetch millions of dollars someday at auction (at least, not without some serious modifications and impeccable provenance). Vehicles depreciate in value as they are driven, and any off-roader will tell you that a Ford Bronco is rarely babied along smooth pavement. There’s a reason Ford specifies “Any Terrain,” after all.
Between depreciation that’s associated with the cost of a new model and preconceived ideas of new model releases, it’s understandable why folks would want to wait a few model years to make sure this whole Bronco SUV thing works out the way it should before shelling out their hard-earned money.
Now that the 2024 Bronco is here, it seems that the waters are safe. That is, Bronco drivers are happy and satisfied with their vehicles. So satisfied, that even when found used, the models are not depreciating in value much at all. Don’t just take my word for it; Kelley Blue Book gave the 2023 Bronco a Best Resale Value Award. All of this just says, there is no such thing as ‘buyer’s remorse’ when it comes to the Ford Bronco.
All of this just means that more cautious investors and off-roaders can now slide behind the wheel of a Bronco, confident that it will be a great purchase. But, since it’s been a while since the dawn of a New Era of Bronco, let’s take a moment to look at all the wonderful things that come with a brand new Ford Bronco.
Behind the Wheel of the Ford Bronco
Ford, being a manufacturer of vehicles for the people and by the people, has arranged for a total of nine trims, two body styles (two-door or four-door), and three engines, thus providing drivers with the opportunity to create their ideal Bronco. So, while there is no single formula for the perfect Bronco, you are free to create the perfect Bronco for your driving needs (and, of course, budget). You won’t be limited to what is on a dealership’s lot either; Ford allows drivers to custom order a model.
The Big Bend model is the Bronco’s basic starting trim, though the word “basic” is far out of context here. If your memory recalls the Bronco of the 1980s and 1990s as a big barren cave of a vehicle that could climb over almost anything and drive practically anywhere, you’re not wrong. The 2024 version offers that same enthusiastic and adventurous spirit, only with a few modern creature comforts.
For example, a seven-speed manual transmission is still standard in the Big Bend model, but a 10-speed automatic can be optioned in. Drivers can choose from a four-seater, two-door model or a five-seat, four-door model. Both options include a HOSS suspension system, six selectable GOAT modes, and a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 Engine good for 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. It also has a seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a comprehensive infotainment system managed via a 12-inch touchscreen.
Of course, as the trims climb, the capability only increases, and the features list grows.
Off-Road Capability and the Ford Bronco
Given that there are nine total trim levels, there are a lot of steps between the Big Bend trim and the untamed off-road monster that is the Bronco Raptor.
Each of the trims has its own distinct personality, too. For example, the 2024 Ford Bronco Heritage Limited Edition offers a few retro touches to this very capable vehicle, including plaid vinyl upholstery with leather trim and whitewall tires that allude to the Bronco’s early years.
The more important details for off-road enthusiasts are the vehicles’ capability in the wild. Again, each model brings its own strengths to the table. The Black Diamond trim includes front and full underbody bash plates and washable, drainable rubberized floors. The Outer Banks trim is a little more luxury-oriented, with carpeted floors and leather-trimmed seats, but still features six GOAT modes and tow hooks. As the name implies, the Everglades model is ready for water, with a built-in snorkel system and extended vents that allow it to ford up to 36.4 inches.
Then there’s the Bronco Raptor. This obvious addition to the Bronco lineup made its debut in 2022, so while it’s still relatively new, Raptor engineering is not. The Bronco Raptor includes a more powerful engine, a fine tuned off-road suspension system, and a giant heaping dose of adrenaline (okay, maybe not actual adrenaline). The Bronco Raptor comes with a 3.0L Ecoboost V6 that has been fine-tuned by the Ford Performance Team to provide 418 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. The suspension in question is Ford’s top-shelf HOSS 4.0 system paired with FOX Live Valve 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers. Throw a set of 37-inch all-terrain tires on the 17-inch alloy wheels, and the Bronco Raptor is ready for pretty much anything.
What About Overall Practicality?
Admittedly, many off-road enthusiasts need their vehicle to be a decent performer on the pavement, as well. Whether for day-to-day use or just getting from one trail to another, many drivers need to think about how their fun-time vehicle behaves on regular roadways. One does want a hint of practicality, after all.
There are many reasons to proclaim the Bronco suitable as a city car. Fuel economy varies, depending on model, engine, and body style, but it’s what one might anticipate for a 4-wheel drive SUV, especially one purposefully designed for off-roading.
One of the Bronco’s most charming features is its accomodating cargo space. While many of the off-road-ready vehicles on the market today tend to require deliberate packing, the Bronco has room for all the necessities. Two-door models with a hardtop provide 22.4 cu.ft. of space, which expands to 52.3 cu.ft. when the rear seat is stashed. Hardtop four-door models have a maximum of 77.6 cu.ft. when the rear seat is folded, and soft-top models have a whopping 83 cu.ft. of cargo space.
You can order your Bronco with a removable hard top or soft top. You can take the doors and roof off of a Bronco, depending on the trim and specifications you select. Ford offers many options and accessories to help you customize your Bronco. Is that necessarily “practical?” No, but I feel it’s really cool and adds to the overall driving enjoyment on or off the pavement (local driving laws permitting, of course).
Make 2024 the Year of Your Ford Bronco
While the 2024 Ford Bronco may not include any brand-new technology for this model year, it continues to do its job well. Of course, what that job actually is depends on the model you select and your own driving preferences. But whether it’s driving to the office on the same old roads or hitting a trail that doesn’t even show up on navigation maps, the Bronco knows what it’s doing. For many drivers, that’s the peace of mind that lets them relax and take the big leap into buying the off-road-ready SUV of their dreams and exploring the great outdoors!