INDIANAPOLIS — Could there be a vehicle more out of touch with our era of high fuel prices and emerging electric vehicles than the 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak Sasquatch edition? Well, maybe if you drove a Heavy Duty pickup for your daily city commute, but it’s simply ridiculous as it guzzles gallons of gasoline like they’re martinis at the club. And yet, it’s about the most awesome SUV rolling. Just ask the long line of customers waiting for theirs.
If you’re going to buy a Bronco, go full Sasquatch under the Wildtrak trim. The package is completely unnecessary for daily driving, but drenched our 2-door model in buckets of sass. Styling recalls the original Bronco that debuted in 1966 with round headlamps, wide flat hood and BRONCO stamped across the grille. Tie downs on the hood help locate the corners when parking or trail carving. Dark 17” wheels and black trim add mad vibes. Remove the entire hard top or just the front panels for fresh air.
Owners could hose out their original Broncos, and while the latest one is more sophisticated, it’s nearly as robust. Sure, there’s plenty of hard plastic on the dash and doors, but it’s rendered in contrasting colors and receives molded-in texture for an upscale feel. Rubber flooring accompanies an actual drain plug in the passenger side floor if you make a mess! A heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control add comforts.
There’s plenty of technology, too. Ford’s touchscreens are very intuitive with icons for audio, phone, navigation and apps along the bottom. Connect devices with Apple CarPlay, 4G Wi-Fi and wireless console charging. Drivers get a flashy flatscreen instrument cluster with digital speedometer and bar graph tachometer. Safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking and rear cross path detection.
Base Broncos come with a turbocharged four-cylinder that’s frisky during daily driving, but the 2.7-liter Ecoboost (Ford speak for “turbocharged") V6 in our bruiser delivers 315 horsepower and a stout 410 lb.-ft. of torque. That all connects to the four-wheel-drive system through a snick-click 10-speed automatic transmission. Jump through traffic, clamor up a trail or tow 3,500 lbs. Drive however you want because fuel economy is rated a nearly identical 19/20-MPG city/highway.
If you’ve driven other hardcore off-roaders, you probably tire of the bounce house ride quickly. Given an independent front suspension, the Bronco is more civilized. Those big tires and off-road suspension do as well at soaking up potholes and highway expansion joints as they do at gobbling rough fields. Click the G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) dial to configure the powertrain for varying conditions. There’s a sense of driving on your tippy-toes, and the short wheelbase takes finesse in corners, but the Bronco is tamer than its attire would indicate.
Its top rattles on the highway, the suspension bounces over bumps and it drinks gasoline like an undergrad guzzles beer, but it is still pretty cool and I kinda want one. Broncos start at $30,800, but came to $53,650 on big feet. Competitors include the Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, Toyota 4-Runner TRD and Chevy Colorado ZR2.
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2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak
Four-passenger, 4WD SUV
Powertrain: 2.7-liter T-I6, 10-spd trans
Output: 315hp/410 lb.-ft. torque
Suspension f/r: Ind/Solid axle
Wheels f/r: 17”/17” alloy
Brakes f/r: disc/disc
Must-have features: Style, Power
Towing: 3,500 lbs
0-60 mph: 5.9s.
Fuel economy: 19/20 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Wayne, MI
Base/As-tested price: $30,800/$53,650