Thursday, September 28, 2023



Among sentences you are not likely to find in many car reviews:

Ford is using technology derived from World War II German U-boats to expand the off-roading prowess of its Bronco SUV.

The “Everglades” edition of the Ford Bronco unveiled in 2022 features a snorkel system that allows it to ford streams or traverse swampy terrain you might encounter on an off-roading adventure.

Unlike the snorkel masts that reached skyward from the decks of World War II-vintage submarines to scoop air that allowed the diesel engines to run while the sub was submerged, the snorkel on the Ford Bronco Everglades edition is merged into the passenger-side A pillar and is not as obvious. You could say it is kind of hidden in plain sight.

The snorkel and other tweaks like special vents for the front and rear axles, transfer case, and transmission don’t make the Bronco Everglades a truly amphibious vehicle, but they do give the Bronco the ability to handle water hazards up to 36.4 inches deep, or one-to-three inches deeper than its main competitors.

In case you overestimate your seaworthiness, Ford has included as standard a winch and front and rear tow hooks to get you unstuck. (It goes without saying it helps that if you are venturing into more challenging treks to do so in a group!)

The Ford Bronco Everglades comes with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque when fed premium grade fuel. It is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and features a two-speed transfer case with modes selected via convenient buttons on the face of the upraised console storage bin.

Fuel economy is rated at 18 miles-per-gallon city, 17 highway, and 18 combined

As with its main competitor, the Jeep Wrangler, side and roof panels may be removed from the Ford Bronco Everglades for a more open air experience on the trail, though that’s not recommended for highway use. Rock rails and steel skid places protect the underbody.

The Ford Bronco Everglades also accepts other modifications to fenders and the like if the owner feels it is getting a “dated” look, which gives the vehicle a longer shelf life.

When it comes to convenience and comfort features, the Ford Bronco Everglades is a civilized beast. Infotainment systems feature Ford’s Sync 4 package, include navigation, and work off a 12-inch touchscreen, though simple functions operate off convenient knobs. A 4G WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto also are included.

The Ford Bronco Everglades rides on 17-inch wheels. Vinyl seats are standard, though the gear knob snd steering wheel are leather-wrapped. Push-button start is standard as well.

A final word about the snorkel system. The air intake normally faces forward but can be flipped around if you driving in excessively dusty conditions.

MSRP for the 2024 Bronco Everglades starts at $55,520 before even destination and delivery and any other extras are added on. The spec sheet for my test vehicle, a debut 2022 model that essentially has gone unchanged over the last two years, did not include pricing information

What I liked about the Ford Bronco Everglades:
The screen for the navigation map is a nice size and is very clear. Infotainment functions overall are user-friendly with knobs to operate the radio and temperature controls. Other than considerable noise at highway speed, the ride is comfortable enough.

What I didn’t like about the Ford Bronco Everglades: With the extra ground clearance making the cabin sit so high, getting in and out can be a chore, especially for vertically challenged passengers. Wind and road noise at highway speeds drowns out the radio and turns casual conversations into near shouting matches.

Would I buy the Ford Bronco Everglades? Though engineered for rugged (and wet) off-road excursions, the Bronco Everglades serves well for a daily driver, though if one of your regular riders is height-challenged you may want to reconsider. I have liked my off-roading experiences, rare as they are, but am personally not in the market for such a specialized vehicle. 

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