The Ford Bronco is still enjoying a good bit of hype, even though it still isn’t in the hands of customers now nine months after its reveal. Despite the holdup, I’m as eager as ever to shake one of these things down off road. In the meantime, I’ve been poking around on Ford’s online Bronco configurator to better understand the features, options, and packaging structure. After a bit of deliberation, here’s the Bronco I’d get if I were buying one of these for myself.
First though, given that the Bronco is a lifestyle vehicle, the configuration that’s right for you will have a lot to do with your lifestyle. My lifestyle involves the following. I live at 4,400 feet elevation in the Mountain West. I devote a large portion of my free time to outdoor activities and exploring the western United States. I have a partner, two dogs, and no kids. I spend a lot of time mountain biking, hiking, and camping. As far as off-roading goes, I love a fast-paced dirt road, but I don’t really enjoy technical rock crawling. I like a capable vehicle that can take me down a rugged trail to a remote area where I can then engage in some kind of strenuous physical activity.
Here’s the Bronco that I think would best supplement my lifestyle.
4-Door Black Diamond Trim in Cactus Gray — $38,545
While the Wildtrak and Badlands have the most off-road cred, the value-packed Bronco off-roader is the Black Diamond. It comes with 32-inch All-Terrain tires, 17-inch steel wheels (the coolest wheels are steel wheels), a locking rear diff, pre-wired auxiliary switches, a terrain management systems with seven different terrain modes, a heavy-duty modular bumper, “full vehicle” steel underbody skid plates, and some other bits. The combination of a rear locker, underbody protection, and all the available terrain modes strikes me as a great value.
The 2-door Ford Bronco is cool and I’m glad it exists, but when it comes to hauling people or things, a 4-door is just so much more practical. As a bonus, you can sleep in the 4-door in a pinch.
As for color, the Bronco is offered in a number of compelling options. I’ll go with Cactus Gray — can’t go wrong with a good, simple gray.
2.3-liter I-4 (standard) with 10-Speed Auto — $1,595
As long as it’s under 8 seconds, I could care less about the Bronco’s 0-60 mph time, and Ford’s 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine is pretty good, so I’ll stick with that. It makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Ford Bronco’s all-new manual transmission with its ultra-low crawler gear is pretty cool, but I’m over shifting gears. Ten-speed auto for me. This powertrain comes standard in the Ranger, where I can say from first-hand experience that it’s a winner.
4WD Auto – $795
The Bronco comes standard with 2-high, 4-high, and 4-wheel-drive low-range modes. A fourth mode, 4-wheel drive auto, can be optioned. Ford’s online configurator doesn’t do a good job of reflecting this, but it looks to cost $795. I’d be inclined to check this box, as I live in an area where traditional all-wheel drive is helpful year-round.
Modular Black Hard top — $1,895
Softtops are loud, and I see myself using a Bronco with the top fully removed maybe three times a year. For that reason, I’ll stick with the hardtop. One of the Bronco’s main selling points is its removable roof, though, and the more expensive modular top allows for more configurability. I like features and options that leverage a vehicle’s strengths, and the modular top does just that.
Sound Deadening Headliner — $495
Maximizing this vehicle’s versatility means having an easily-removable roof while maximizing civility on-road. That latter point is why I’m checking the box for the $495 Sound Deadening Headliner.
Sasquatch Package… maybe — $4,495
Honestly, I’m on the fence about this one, though to many people it probably seems like a no-brainer. The Sasquatch package consists of 35-inch mud-terrain tires wrapped around 17-in beadlock-capable wheels, a 4.7 final drive ratio with locking front and rear diffs, a tougher suspension, and high-clearance fender flares, and it’s available on all trim levels for $4,495. This is a lot of coin, but the package does give you a lot, especially when it comes to aesthetics and raw capability.
Here’s the thing, though: 35s will put a burden on the base 4-cylinder when it comes to performance and efficiency. Mud-terrain tires aren’t very pleasant unless you’re actually driving through mud. With the Black Diamond, I’d already be paying for 33-inch all-terrains and a rear locker. Speaking of lockers, I’ve done my fair share of fun stuff off-road and while a rear locker certainly comes in handy, I’ve never once needed a front locker. Add that all up, and I wouldn’t be getting the value out of the Sasquatch package that I would be if I were adding it to a base or even a Big Bend trim. Also — I like the steel wheels more! So we’ll put a pin in this one for now — I’m curious to know what other people think regarding this dilemma.
Mid Package — $1,495
If I’m paying the premium required for a brand-new vehicle, I want it to have modern tech and safety features. Otherwise, I’d just buy something that’s 5 years old and save thousands of dollars. The Ford Bronco’s $1,495 Mid Package offers a lot of tech, highlights of which include Ford’s suite of active safety features, passive keyless entry with remote start, heated front seats, backup sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 2-prong 110-volt AC power outlet, and more.
Towing Capability — $595
I’d want to use my Bronco with a hitch-mounted bike rack, and I also think it’s a good rule of thumb that if a vehicle can tow, you might as well get the hitch. At $595 this stings a little, though.
Keyless Entry Keypad — $110
A Ford hallmark, the keypad allows you to get into the vehicle without having the key in your pocket — just punch in the code.
Final Price — $47,665 without the Sasquatch package, or $52,160 with it
Both of these prices factor in the ridiculous $2,140 that Ford tacks on in the form of extra, profit-padding fees. That sure got expensive quickly, but for the money, I don’t think there’s a better Bronco setup for my lifestyle, and I think a lot of other buyers would find good value in this spec as well. Find a Ford Bronco for sale