First Month Review On- and Off-Road with the New Ford Bronco Badlands 2-Door
The Ford Bronco finally made its return after having taken a break from production for nearly 25 years. At a time when the Jeep Wrangler dominates the market of off-road capability and open-air experience, the new Bronco was well received. Loaded with new technology and looks derived from its first generation ancestors, we knew the Bronco was going to be the real deal and couldn’t wait to get our hands on one. After owning our 2-door Badlands with the Sasquatch package for a month and driving it both on-road and off, we felt it was time to share our initial impressions.
2-Door vs. 4-Door
While we can’t comment on how the two perform against each other, we can comment on how they look. It’s no argument that the 4-door will likely be more functional as a daily driver given its roomier backseat and larger cargo area. Despite this, we still chose a 2-door. We have a 4-door Jeep for when we need the extra room, and felt that the 2-door Bronco looks more true to the original. With the 1966-1977 Bronco’s becoming harder to find and afford, the newest generation felt like the next best thing.
Look & Feel
The 2-door Ford Bronco shares many similar body lines with the early Bronco. We love the that hood looks nearly identical to its original predecessor, and that similar body lines are carried down the side. The grille up front looks more modern for sure, but the heritage is evident and hard to miss. The front doors look awkwardly large, but you quickly forget about that once you are behind the wheel. If there is one thing we’d change, it would be the badging on the front fenders. We get that Ford wants the various trim levels to distinguish themselves, but the original “Bronco Script” badge would really help tie the vehicle back to its roots. Lastly, we understand the flares are important for modern tire coverage laws, but really like the look of the fenders without them.
We equipped our Bronco with the LUX package, which includes a 12-inch LCD touch screen and heated seats and steering wheel. We opted for the marine-grade vinyl, which feels as soft as leather but appears tougher. The nice thing about this option is that you get a rubber flooring instead of carpet flooring, which we felt would be much easier to clean out after off-road trips. The switch cluster at the top center of the dash is well presented, and the option for pre-wired upfitter switches at the headboard is much appreciated, as we know we will be adding plenty of accessories that will require switches such as lighting, on-board air, etc. The 50/50 split in the rear bench seat is a nice option because you can fit extra gear in the cargo area without eliminating both rear seats. We do wish the dash came wrapped in the same marine-grade vinyl as our seats did, because it feels cheap with all of the plastic. If Ford doesn’t address this in newer model years, I am sure the aftermarket will. Overall, we are very pleased with the interior of the Ford Bronco. It’s up to-date and a cut above its other competitors.
Our 2-door Badlands came equipped with the 2.7L twin turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. With 330hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, there is no shortage of power. On-road the power delivery is smooth and the suspension is even smoother thanks to the Bilstein ESCV (End Stop Control Valve) shock technology. Overall, the vehicle feels solid and relatively stable around tight corners. The 35” tires and 2” lift that come standard on the Sasquatch package give the Bronco a mean stance on the road and looks ready for what lies beyond the pavement.
We were surprised at how well the 2-door Bronco performs off-road. The independent front suspension works incredibly well at high speeds and is significantly more stable and comfortable than the solid front axle found under the Jeep Wrangler, in part thanks to front sway bar disconnect. The Badlands trim also comes standard with front and rear lockers, which come in especially handy on technical sections of the trail where suspension travel is maxed out and tires come off the ground. Despite having less flex than a similarly equipped Wrangler with a solid front axle, it still gets the job done and feels plenty stable with a tire up in the air. We did experience this on an off-camber climb, and needed a to winch to get up and over the ledge that we were held up on. With the longer wheel base, I think the 4-door Bronco would have gotten up and over this obstacle with less trouble. It also wouldn't hurt to add a set of more aggressive hybrid or mud terrain tires like the Nitto Ridge Grappler or Trail Grappler.
In addition, our Badlands model came with Trail Turn Assist, which reduces the turning radius by applying brakes to the inside rear wheel. With this engaged, navigating tight trails has never been easier. Let us not forget the GOAT modes, which enable you to select the type of terrain you are going to encounter to maximize performance in various conditions both on-road and off. We’re pleasantly surprised with how well all of this tech works in our first few experiences off-road.
The Ford Bronco is worth the hype. Paying homage to it’s OG predecessor with iconic design and body lines, and packed with the latest in off-road technology, it truly is an early Bronco for today’s modern times. We can’t wait to begin modifying our Bronco to see just how capable we can make it off-road, but are equally as happy with how it performs from the factory. Find out how the new Ford Bronco stacks up against the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 and Toyota 4-Runner TRD Off-Road by checking out the most recent episode of the Built2Wander Vlog Series here.