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Article Written: 8/17/2022

We picked up our Bronco from our go-to dealership in December of 2021. As with all others that ordered a hardtop, we suffered a 12+ month lead time so we were giddy when we got the call. The configuration: 2021 Bronco 4-Door, Wildtrak with the Sasquatch package.

The platform was like nothing we’d seen before. Like others, we’d hoped for a shortened Super-Duty Platform, maybe a Dana 60 up front and, if we’re really shooting for the stars, a 7.3L Big-Block. Hell, we’d have settled for a 3.5L Power-boost. When released with independent front suspension and two motor options, a turbo 4 or twin-turbo 6, we’d thought Ford let down the enthusiast looking for a “Full Size” Bronco experience.

It took one spin to determine this was not the case. Our’s, being a Wildtrak, had the 2.7L Twin Turbo V6. Pinning the skinny-pedal resulted in a visceral acceleration that surprised all parties to spin the “full-size” SUV around our shop hot-lap. We were anxious to take it out in the dirt and test the drive modes with which our Wildtrak is equipped.

Most impressive, the BAJA Mode. This mode keeps the RPM(s) high by increasing the shift points and engages 4WD transforming the Bronco into an over-sized rally-car! You feel at the center of the vehicle – the Bronco drives like an extension of you; natural and balanced. Even hitting terrain out of it’s wheelhouse didn’t feel catastrophic. It was clear when you’re out-driving the stock Bronco but not unsettling as you’d expect.

Once we got some high-speed testing, we hit our local “jeep” trails (Cleghorn).

Every early-release article we found on the Bronco compared it to the JLU platform. After owning and driving both, they share very little DNA. The Bronco drives big, composed and has a presence to it. The JLU drives loose and the road seems to dictate it’s direction as much as the driver. On the trails, the JLU shines – bear in mind this is NOT an apples-to-apples comparison as we’re running a Carli Pathfinder Kit with King 2.5″ Shocks paired with the factory Rubicon sway bar disconnect.

That said, the JLU made a great Pilot vehicle for the stock Bronco. A few obstacles in, it was apparent we wouldn’t get very far with the factory sway bar installed in the front. CJC Offroad’s first edition had an electronic disconnect (as also available on the Badlands model) – our Wildtrak required 5 minutes and a couple wrenches and we were in business.

We wanted to ensure we had plenty of off-road miles on the Bronco before we dug in. Key to our business has been to approach these platforms as an enthusiast – to sell parts that improve shortcomings of the platform, not shiny things we sell just because we think people would buy them. The good news, we love the platform and are WELL underway improving the Bronco and addressing the shortcomings we’ve found. As excited as we are about these improvements, we are going to wait a bit longer to reveal the build as we’re too close to the final product to show it currently incomplete. Stay tuned…