The year is 2022 and my childhood dreams have come to fruition. Please, someone mark this in my permanent file.
A Tonka Truck–like vehicle now not only exists for consumers to buy, but it’s street-legal and can seemingly do almost everything for the (not so low, low) price of $69,995, including destination.
Needing no introduction, the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor—er, Braptor—Raptorizes the Bronco with long-travel suspension, massive tires, cartoon-like design, comfortable interior, more power, and ridiculous capability. But its power feels underwhelming, its design won’t fit or meet everyone’s lifestyle, and it drinks fuel fast.
After spending multiple sessions both living life and doing things no Braptor owner will likely do, here’s where this wonderful and absurd creation hits and misses.
Hit: Cartoon brought to life.
As I pulled into my driveway on my road bike and laid eyes (again) on the Eruption Green Braptor gleaming in the sun, an overwhelming and uncontrolled laughing fit came over me. It’s so absurd and hilarious looking. It’s like a real-life Tonka Truck I played with in my parents’ basement as a kid. The bolted-on fender flares are over the top in appearance, but they do serve to widen the stance 8.6 inches over a standard Bronco to cover the Fox long-travel remote reservoir shocks stuffed into the wells. The 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires look like pillows (there’s a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” joke here). The LED daytime running lights are amber rather than white, and there are marker lights (because this thing is over 7-feet wide). It all just comes together in the best way to look crazier than any Wrangler or Defender money can buy from the factory.
Miss: Terrorizing others, parking lots, and garages
As I blasted onto Highway 169 at night with the LED headlights and factory-installed Rigid LED fog and driving lights illuminated (pretty sure the driving lights are meant for off-road use only, whoops!), I nudged up behind a mid-2000s Honda Civic. The Braptor’s bumper was at the height of the Civic’s trunk. The Braptor must’ve looked terrifying in the rearview mirror because I’ve never seen a Civic change lanes so quickly in my life. The Braptor fit in my standard-sized garage next to my wife’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but a Ford spokesperson was shocked when I told them. At 6.5 feet tall, the Braptor’s too tall for the assembly line, and it barely squeaked under my garage door with little room to spare. It’s nearly the width of an average parking spot, making pulling in and out of spots with cars on either side of the Braptor an exercise in attention to detail. It’s not as cumbersome as an F-150 Raptor, but it’s a handful.
Hit: Nothing unsettles it
The Braptor is the true GOAT. This thing simply keeps its composure no matter what. Potholes? Braptor laughs at them. Speed bumps? More like a ripple in the road. Curbs? Braptors don’t care about curbs. With 13.1 inches of ground clearance paired with 13.0 inches of front- and 14.0 inches of rear-suspension travel, the Braptor’s Fox 3.1 internal bypass semi-active dampers are magical. Pair all of this with 37-inch rubber and it’s a recipe for comfort and control. I ripped around the hills surrounding Blue Ridge, Georgia in a way no Braptor owner ever will, shocking even Senior Editor Robert Duffer. The Braptor didn’t care. Not that I would ever jump a set of railroad tracks because that would be irresponsible, but if a Braptor were to attempt such a thing, it wouldn’t flinch.
Miss: Doesn’t rip hard enough
Braptors have a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque mated to a fantastic 10-speed automatic transmission. The transmission might be the powertrain’s highlight with the ability to execute incredibly quick and perfect shifts in Sport and Baja mode that wouldn’t be out of place in a sports car. But at 5,733 pounds, the Braptor simply doesn’t rip off the line as hard as the lighter 4,754-pound 2-door Wildtrak and its 2.7-liter turbo-6 with 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. The power doesn’t match the rest of the Braptor’s over-the-topness and is outgunned by the Wrangler 392’s 475-hp V-8 in both fire and fury. The bad news is a more powerful Braptor isn’t in the works because the team feels the engine’s big enough already. They are wrong.
Hit: Comfortable Recaros
The Braptor comes standard with Recaro bucket seats up front. They are supportive, comfortable, and look great. Sadly, my tester didn’t have the optional blue color, but that didn’t distract from their comfort. They are far more comfortable than any seat found in a Wrangler, even an $83,400 V-8-powered Wrangler. The rear bench seat is basically the same as what’s found in other four-door Broncos, which is to say it’s fine if not a bit flat.
Miss: Drinks, a lot
In what will surprise no one, the Braptor loves to drink fuel. It has EPA fuel economy ratings of 15 mpg city, 16 highway, 15 combined. I’m here to tell you those not-so-great numbers aren’t realistic. Over the course of 227 miles of mixed suburban driving the Braptor averaged 13.2 mpg, according to the onboard trip computer. This side of the Nissan GT-R, and essentially matching the F-150 Raptor with a larger, more powerful twin-turbo V-6, the Braptor’s V-6 gets among the worst daily driving fuel economy I’ve ever experienced in a production 6-cylinder. It might as well have a V-8, as that’s similar fuel economy as the Jeep Wrangler 392.
At $69,995, but $75,770 as tested thanks to graphics, optional wheels, leather-trimmed suede seats, and a keyless entry pad, the Braptor borders on seeming fairly priced for its capabilities. That is if you actually find one for the sticker price during these wild times.
The Braptor is not in a class of one, but it’s in rarefied air and feels like the most complete and best package. It’s easily one of the most outrageous, and my new favorite most ridiculous thing money can buy.
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
Base price: $69,995, including destination
Price as tested: $75,770
Powertrain: 418-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, 10-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 15/16/15 mpg
The hits: Cartoon-like design, fantastic transmission programming, unflappable ride, comfortable seats
The misses: Guzzles fuel, looks terrifying in a rear-view mirror, nearly as wide as a parking spot, slight power deficit
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