CHATHAM, Mass. – It was the discovery of 16-inch human-like footprints in the forests of the Pacific Northwest which birthed the legend of Bigfoot. Some seven decades later, the tread marks left by massive 35-inch mud-terrain tires indicated Bigfoot – or in this case, its doppelganger Sasquatch – had been present on Cape Cod.
Now in its second year following a model-year 2021 revival, the 2022 Ford Bronco two-door still created a stir when I drove it around the Cape and Southeastern Massachusetts. Its presence was enhanced by the 1.2-inch lifted suspension and huge Goodyear 315/70R17 M/T tires mounted on 17-inch black high-gloss-painted aluminum with alloy beauty ring, beadlock-capable wheels. Wherever I drove, folks wanted to know “Is that the new Bronco?” “Are they now available?” referring to shortages created by the launch excitement.
This two-door base model with Sasquatch Package became available for us and we enjoyed it immensely, even though we did not have an opportunity to put the G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) driver-selectable Terrain Management System™ to a serious off-road test.
This is a vehicle developed, designed and engineered for fun, even if you are not trying to conquer the towering Cascade Mountains in Oregon or even White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Built to go anywhere
The Terrain Management System is the heart of the Bronco’s sport-utility (SUV) off-road capabilities, functioning within a chassis architecture designed for this purpose. Our version came with the optional advanced four-by-four (4X4) system: a two-speed electromechanical transfer case with an auto mode for on-demand engagement to select between 2H(igh) and 4H(igh).
The chassis features a High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) System for control and stability while driving off-road at speed. Up front is an independent setup with twin alloy A-arms and long-travel coil-over springs, while a solid axle design at the rear features variable-rate long-travel coil springs with five locating links. Long-travel position-sensitive Bilstein® dampers with end-stop control valves are part of the Sasquatch package to help improve off-road capability.
Bringing the Bronco to a halt is a four-wheel power disc brakes with four-sensor, four-channel antilock braking (ABS) system and electronic stability control. The front rotors are ventilated and 12.25 by 1.3 inches, with twin-piston floating calipers. The rears feature a single-piston floating caliper design with solid 12.1x.9-inch rotors.
Motivating this SUV, either on or off-road, is the venerable Ford 2.3-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbocharger producing 300 horsepower (on premium fuel; 275 on regular) and 325 pounds-feet of torque (on premium; 315 on regular). The power then goes through an automatic 10-speed transmission en route to the automatic 4×4 system.
The Sasquatch package also means a 4.7 final-drive ratio with electronic-locking front and rear axles.
These elements mean there is plenty of power on tap regardless of the type of driving you want to pursue or the environment in which you want to do it. The power was always there, providing reassuring capability to merge onto highways and then pass meandering traffic when it was encountered. In addition, the Base Bronco two-door with the 2.3 engine/10-speed transmission can tow a trailer of up to 3,500 pounds meaning you can bring a lot of extra stuff, including a camper or boat, into the wilderness.
On road, the ride was firm, a bit noisy (the tires add to the noise) but controlled and never so jarring it was off-putting. Rides around the Cape were fun – great visibility from a high seating position and large windows all around.
Advanced driver-assistance technology
The Bronco comes with the Ford Co-Pilot360™ advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) which includes automatic high beams; pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB) featuring pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning and dynamic-brake support; hill-start assist, and rearview camera with backup-assist grid.
Other safety/driver-aid systems on the Bronco Sasquatch include AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control®; electronic-stability control; individual tire-pressure monitor, and trailer-sway control.
Inside comfortable, modern and rugged
The Bronco is built for conquering the outdoors but designed for everyday living which means modern technology can be found throughout the wide interior.
The cloth covered seats have six-way adjustment up front allowing, along with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, the driver to find just the right seating position. Once there, he or she will be looking at an eight-inch digital cluster screen.
A second eight-inch screen, this one touch activated, sits in the middle of the dash, providing control of the Ford Sync4® infotainment system. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are featured as is AM/FM/satellite radio and Bluetooth audio. A FordPass™ Connect 4G WiFi hotspot lets you stay connected as long as a cell signal exists, regardless of your location.
The cost of all this fun
The Ford Bronco is a unique vehicle, built to provide escape-to-nature capability. Though classified as a SUV, it shares little in design or purpose with those vehicles (essentially station wagons with more ground clearance and all-wheel-drive capability) which are taking over America’s landscape – and that is a good thing!
This is a vehicle built for fun and it provided that during my week behind the wheel. The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates this Bronco at 20 miles per gallon both in the city and overall, 21 on the highway. I achieved the latter number in everyday, spirited driving, refueling with regular gasoline, and getting plenty of power (despite the lesser ratings than if I had opted for premium fuel). This was an acceptable number for a vehicle of this nature.
The Base 2022 Bronco two-door carries a price of $32,095 and the Sasquatch Package adds $6,590. My tester included other options (like a heavy-duty front bumper and keyless keypad entry) and a $1,595 in destination charges, so the bottom line totaled $41,580.
Today’s Bronco might have come from the computer screens of Ford’s engineering, design and development staffs, but the soul of this beast sprung from America’s wilderness.
Next week TBR Drives the 2022 Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige AWD,