Ford Bronco Everglades’ First Drive

The Everglades trek begins on the sidewalk at a hotel near the trail, and I jump right into the Desert Sand example. While my on-road experience with the vehicle was admittedly limited, the Bronco Everglades did quite well on the road. While everything about this truck-based SUV is geared towards maximizing performance in inclement conditions, like other Broncos, it’s a lot of fun in everyday situations. The only noticeable difference is the unique roar of the air-swallowing snorkel, which is most noticeable at higher revs with the passenger window lowered. I enjoy the aural difference between the Everglades and the other Broncos, but an uninspired driver can simply roll up the windows to block incoming noise.

But the Bronco Everglades’ true moment to shine comes when you venture into the wilderness. Because it’s based on the Black Diamond trim level with the Sasquatch package, the Everglades are inherently capable. Black Diamond stone rails and underbody skid plates provide protection from sharp obstacles on the road, while larger Sasquatch tires and suspension lift give the Bronco additional ground clearance. That, plus the Bronco’s nifty GOAT mode (to “traverse all kinds of terrain”) — which allows the driver to change traction settings based on the terrain you’re facing — ensures that the Bronco doesn’t get stuck in mud or on slippery hills. Indeed, during our more than five-hour off-road trip, the Everglades rarely struggled for grip.

And if you really get stuck, you can always use the included Warch winch to pull yourself out. With a 10,000 pound rating and 100 feet of synthetic line, the winch has more than enough power to get the Bronco out of any dangerous situation. Our group purposely navigated the Bronco Everglades to a tricky spot on some of the stone shelves known as the Steps at Marble Head, then attached a winch hook to the Bronco retaining at the top to propel itself up. Winch: tested and approved.

Not long after our trip, the Everglades other unique additions justify its inclusion. You see, Drummond Island is full of potholes, and it just happened to rain a few days before our arrival. The holes have turned into pools—perfect for testing out the new snorkel and the Everglades’ 36.4-inch fording depth. Gliding through dirty dirt reveals a few things. Even when wading into water-carrying depths well above the bottom of the door line, the Bronco draws in air without a problem. Also, the drain plug on the floor holds up, meaning no pool water enters the cabin. Bronco doors are quite light and are meant to be removed, but the seal also holds. And scattered hidden stones are not a problem; no one in our group blew up or punctured a Goodyear Territory MT tire.

The only downside I could find with the Bronco Everglades is that it doesn’t offer the front-facing off-road camera available on other models. The hoist essentially blocks forward view, so Ford can’t include a camera, which is usually a very useful feature if you don’t have a rangefinder navigating your vehicle around high rocks or over peaks. Not making this feature available goes against the Everglades’ low-speed rock crawl focus. Hopefully Ford can fix this in the near future.

Doesn’t need more power

A turbocharged V6 engine is optional on most Bronco variants, but the Everglades are content with the base four-cylinder turbocharged. There’s no doubt the latter comes down to power, but at 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, it has plenty of thrust both on the road and off. And since the Everglades are primarily concerned with improving the Bronco’s low-speed rock crawling abilities, the extra power afforded by the V6 at higher revs is pretty much moot. The low-end four-cylinder torque is more than enough to help the Everglades conquer any obstacle in its path.

The also new Bronco Raptor for 2022 is aimed at high-speed desert running, with a robust version of the V6, heavy-duty suspension, Fox shocks and a hefty price tag. The Everglades have a simpler goal in mind, and we think it’s a more approachable vehicle for that.

Edmunds says

The new Everglades are a worthy addition to the 2022 Ford Bronco lineup. While the Bronco Raptor is best suited for traversing ruts and dunes, the Everglades excel at low-speed technicalities. The front-facing camera for off-road use is the only item on our wish list.

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