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2022 Ford Bronco Everglades, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

 

2022 Bronco Everglades First Drive Review: Getting the Swamptor Good ’n’ Dirty

We put the latest Bronco variant to the test on the muddy, rocky, swampy trails of Northern Michigan’s wild Drummond Island.

ford bronco Full Overview

Ford Broncos and Jeep Wranglers are first and foremost big-kid toys—think Transformers as transportation. Their roofs and doors come off, and they can be extensively customized for specific types of play by combing corporate and aftermarket accessories catalogs. But selecting just the right parts and installing them is hard, so Ford and Jeep offer myriad prepackaged accessory bundles tailored to specific types of vehicular fun, including desert racing, rock climbing, or mudslinging.

The Bronco family’s latest such entry is the Everglades (we’ve dubbed it “the Swamptor” in a sort of homage to the Bronco Raptor, which we call the Braptor). This new model has the foundational dimensions and hardware to tackle modest rock climbing, but it’s optimized for tackling “mud and ruts,” with self-reliance as its primary superpower.

This comes courtesy of a standard Warn Zeon 10-S winch that makes this Bronco ready to yank itself out of or over the toughest terrain right from the factory floor—a boon for overlanding enthusiasts. For what it’s worth, Jeep currently doesn’t offer a factory-option winch on the Wrangler.

2022 Bronco Everglades test on the muddy, rocky, swampy trails 3

Ford Bronco Everglades—Hardware Recap

As noted in our First Look, the Everglades package is based on a four-door Bronco Black Diamond equipped with the Advanced, Mid, and Sasquatch packages, plus the gray hard top with roof rack and cross bars.

To do up any other Bronco like this would currently cost $50,930, but to finish the $54,495 Everglades, Ford adds a modular Ford Performance bumper with the winch and a protective safari bar; raises the air vent plumbing for the front and rear axles, transfer case, and transmission by 3.4 inches in front and 2.2 inches in the rear (increasing the safe wading depth by 2.9 inches; and installs an air snorkel to help exclude dust, snow, and water from the engine intake.

So equipped, with 35-inch (315/70R17) Goodyear Territory tires, a 3.06:1 low range, and 4.70:1 axles, the crawl ratio is 67.8:1. Wading depth is 36.4 inches, ground clearance is 11.7 inches, and approach, breakover, and departure angles are 37.8/26.3/37.1 degrees. The winch protrudes about 8 inches, reducing approach angle by 5.4 degrees.

Hitting The Swamps

Rain drenched Michigan’s Drummond Island’s 100 miles of trails a couple days before our arrival, ensuring we’d get good and mucky.

Tire pressures were dropped from 39 to 32 psi to improve traction without triggering the low-pressure warning lights, and we proceeded through most water and mud troughs with minimal wheelspin. With a pair of hip waders at the ready just in case, we tiptoed into and through the first dozen “water features,” often just idling smoothly along at a few miles per hour in high range with the GOAT mode terrain selector set to Mud & Ruts (four high, rear diff lock).

The ease with which our Bronco tackled these early trials quickly built our confidence. Submerged rocks occasionally sounded off on the underbody armor and skidplates, but we mostly enjoyed listening to the gurgling of water against the floorboards. It was easy to hear, as we had the carpet-delete floor liners with drain plugs in each footwell. Along with the marine-grade vinyl seat upholstery, they simplify cleaning out the Bronco Everglades after a muddy day on the trails.

2022 Bronco Everglades test on the muddy, rocky, swampy trails 21

Scaling Marble Head 

The island’s toughest obstacle is known as The Steps at Marble Head. This “Jeep Badge of Honor destination” limestone shale staircase drops maybe 20 feet over a run of about 50 feet. With the GOAT dial turned to Rock Crawl (four low, rear diff locked), we locked the front diff and watched the spotters directing us as we climbed down and back up again with relative ease using the less difficult paths along the outermost edges of the steps.

Then, to demonstrate the winch’s capability, the Ford engineers took the toughest line right up the middle, involving several very tall “steps.” They simply parked one Bronco at the top on a clean rock surface with the brakes firmly set, reeled 30 or 40 feet of synthetic line (it’s lighter, so if it snaps it packs less punch) out of the climbing Bronco, and hooked them together.

Then with the remote winch control in one hand and the steering wheel in the other, the driver wheeled and winched his Bronco up the obstacle. Later, a winch strapped to a tree pulled a Bronco up a steep, muddy incline that was also narrow enough to peel the rear fender flares from two of the SUVs. (The flares are designed to break away without major damage.)

Does The Everglades Need A V-6?

The choice to make Everglades four-cylinder-only was a nod to the overlanding audience. The 2.3-liter ekes out 1 mpg better fuel economy in the city and combined cycles (18 versus 17) and hence travels 20 miles farther per tank. But perhaps more important, the four weighs 150 pounds less, freeing up payload for gear. We didn’t miss the 30 to 40 hp (the V-6’s output varies on regular or premium fuel) when driving through water troughs or motoring around on flat pavement, though the extra 90 to 95 lb-ft of torque might have helped on steeper climbs.

Factory Winch And Snorkel Pros & Cons

Factory-installed items must pass full crash and durability standards, so Ford dictated additional corrosion countermeasures and some new fasteners relative to the Zeon 10-S units provided in the aftermarket. To pass crash standards, Everglades models get a new airbag triggering switch that doesn’t come with aftermarket winches.

The downside of having a winch at all is that it blocks a grille-mounted camera or radar unit, so you can’t get adaptive cruise control or a forward camera view, which we missed during our drive. Ford is working to find a new camera location.

The new snorkel can breathe from either the front or rear by swapping the vent and blanking plates. Leave it facing rear, lower the window slightly, and enjoy the intake roar and turbo wastegate noises. Just remember it’s for breathing clean air above the dust clouds, not for when the engine is underwater.

2022 Bronco Everglades test on the muddy, rocky, swampy trails 30

Treading Lightly In Every Bronco

Matt Caldwell, executive director of Tread Lightly, joined our drive. His organization was established by the Forest Service to help maintain ORV trails and encourage users to stay on trails to preserve nature. Fun fact: A portion of every Bronco purchase goes to the Bronco Wild Fund, which supports five similar organizations.

Tread Lightly alone received $50,000 last year from Ford’s program, which funded trail restoration projects in five states involving cleanup and improved signage and fencing to increase safety and keep trails open, accessible, and environmentally friendly.

Is The Bronco Everglades Worth It?

The $3,565 premium paid for the Everglades model is just $65 more than Ford charges for the winch alone in its accessories catalog. That makes the bumper, snorkel, breather-tube extensions, unique wheels, and exterior graphics seem like a roaring bargain.

And considering off-road trails in this country feature more mud and ruts than opportunities for desert racing or rock climbing, this strikes us as a package that should have broad appeal. If you’re already waiting for a 2022 Bronco to be built, you can and should consider switching your order to an Everglades. If not, you’ll have to get in line for a 2023 model.

2022 Bronco Everglades Specifications
BASE PRICE $54,495
LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.3L/300-hp*/325-lb-ft* turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 10-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT 5,250 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 116.1 in
L x W x H 198.9 x 79.4 x 75.3 in
0-60 MPH 8.5 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON (CITY/HWY/COMB) 18/17/18 mpg
EPA RANGE (COMB) 374 miles
ON SALE March 2022
Frank Markus – Writer / The Manufacturer – Photographer / motortrend

2022 Ford Bronco Everglades Is Ready to Get Wet

Its factory-installed snorkel and winch encourage fearless off-roading.

Facing a stretch of muddy water about the length of a football field, we felt fearless behind the wheel of the 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades. Not only because it comes factory equipped with an air-intake snorkel and a heavy-duty Warn winch—in addition to the formidable Sasquatch off-road package—but also because Ford brought us in to test the limits of the new special-edition Bronco, and we took that as a challenge to get it stuck or sunk or both.

We were unable to sink the Bronco Everglades during our drive on Drummond Island, located off the easternmost tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (maybe if we had driven it directly into Lake Huron . . .). Our handsome Eruption Green example forded the aforementioned waterway with nary a snag or a leak, only the harmless sound of water splashing beneath its washout vinyl flooring.

To make the Everglades the most seaworthy Bronco, Ford raised the vent tubes for both axles, the transmission, and the transfer case. Combined with the custom-designed snorkel, this allows the vehicle to drive through up to 36.4 inches of water. That’s 2.9 inches more than the Bronco Sasquatch (0.6-inch less than the towering Bronco Raptor) and 2.8 inches more than a Jeep Wrangler.

Although an island in the UP sounds like a strange place to launch a new Bronco named after the Everglades National Park in Florida, the area has some advantages over the Southern wetlands. We didn’t have to worry about losing a leg to a crocodile or being suffocated by a Burmese python, and we got to enjoy the island’s robust trail system and rugged terrain.

In this Northwoods version of a water park, the Bronco Everglades wrestled with a lot of mud and ruts. Coincidentally, Mud and Ruts—one of seven selectable G.O.A.T. drive modes—automatically activates the rear locker and puts the four-wheel-drive system into 4Hi. Paired with 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory mud-terrain tires (aired down to about 35 psi for optimal traction here), this setting helped the Bronco easily churn through rutted sludge.

Our speed on the muddiest, wettest trails stayed mostly in the single digits. Perhaps that type of slow and steady pace influenced Ford’s decision to fit the Bronco Everglades exclusively with the 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder—the 330-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter four-pot is not available here. Likewise, we’re surprised that the 10-speed automatic transmission is also mandatory since Ford recently made ’22 Sasquatch models with the 2.3-liter engine available with the seven-speed manual in response to popular demand.

Regardless, the Everglades’ powertrain deployed its 325 pound-feet of torque well, especially when we were clawing up and down a particularly rocky section with front and rear lockers and 4Lo engaged. We did have the benefit of a spotter to guide us—good thing, given that the Everglades is missing the front-mounted camera available on other Broncos. Unfortunately, due to the location of its winch, the Everglades doesn’t get that useful view.

The lack of front-facing camera stinks, and we hope Ford can find a way to add one, but the standard winch is arguably more important. It could mean the difference between getting unstuck and calling search and rescue when you’re off-roading alone. Granted, there are countless aftermarket options, and Ford Performance sells a Warn winch kit for $3500.

This factory-fitted unit has a 100-foot synthetic line and can pull up to 10,000 pounds. We originally wanted to get stuck and try out the winch, but when we arrived at the gnarliest obstacle of the day, we became more interested in conquering this hilly, muddy, rutted section. A well-chosen line and a lot of throttle got us through on the first attempt, but not without dislodging a piece of the rear overfender on the driver’s side. We did get to see the winch save other drivers who weren’t so lucky.

When it’s not scaling rock walls, winching out of the mud, or swimming, the Bronco Everglades is an enjoyable daily driver like the rest of its kin. Despite a body-on-frame construction and a solid rear axle, the Everglades has a surprisingly civilized ride on pavement. Too bad its bluff shape causes considerable wind noise at highway speeds. It handles better than a Wrangler, though, thanks to a more sophisticated steering system and front-suspension setup.

The Bronco we drove felt plenty quick charging down backcountry roads, and its high-rise air intake emitted a satisfying intake sound with the passenger’s-side window down and the throttle uncorked. The snorkel’s other neat trick is the reversible plates that can be easily switched between the front and back, but ours always faced backward.

The snorkel and winch are prominently displayed on the Everglades, but other specific elements define its design. All models have four doors and a hard top, but look closely to see squared wheel arches that don’t appear on any other Bronco. It also has 17-inch aluminum rims reminiscent of steel wheels.

We think they look cool but wonder why Ford doesn’t offer a beadlock-capable version as on other Sasquatch models. At least the Everglades won’t be confused with any other Bronco—it’s the only one with a distinct topography graphic stamped on its front fenders, though we can’t decide whether it’s cheugy. The Everglades is also the only model available with the new Desert Sand paint color.

Inside, there aren’t many details that distinguish the wetlands-themed Bronco from its brethren. Every Everglades has comfy seats covered in material that’s marine grade but still manages to look nice. If only we could say the same for whatever wraps the steering wheel (if that’s real leather, something was wrong with the cow).

At least the crisply rendered display in the gauge cluster and the massive 12.0-inch touchscreen are pleasant distractions. The Sync 4 infotainment system is as intuitive as it is attractive, with wireless Apple CarPlay working consistently and seamlessly during our drive. The Bronco’s physical switchgear and useful cubbies further contribute to a functional cabin.

The 2022 Bronco Everglades starts at $54,545, slotting between the $52,770 Wildtrak four-door and the $70,045 Raptor. Deliveries are set to start this summer. However, there’s a catch: Ford is making the Everglades available only to people with an existing Bronco reservation for the 2022 model year.

The company hasn’t confirmed whether it will offer the model again for 2023. Those who can get their hands on one will be empowered to explore deeper water and drive through more difficult obstacles than owners of other Broncos—the Everglades encourages fearless off-roading.

 

Specifications

2022 Ford Bronco Everglades
Vehicle Type: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE
Base Everglades: $54,545

ENGINE
Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 138 in3, 2264 cm3
Power: 275 hp @ 5700 rpm w/regular (300 requires premium)
Torque: 315 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm w/regular (325 requires premium)

TRANSMISSION
10-speed automatic

 

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