2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

Consumer Guide Test Drive

2023 4-Door Advanced 4X4 Raptor

Class: Compact Crossover/SUV

Color: Code Orange

Seating capacity: 5

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA-
Tall GuyB
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs418-horsepower 3.0-liter
Engine TypeTurbocharged V6
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive Wheels4WD

Miles driven: 187

Observed fuel economy: 15.3 mpg

Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/16/25 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Snow Performance: Excellent

Base price: $83,580 (not including $1795 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Lux Package ($3050), Raptor Graphic ($1075), keyless-entry keypad ($110), 17-inch black Beadlock wheels ($1995), Code Orange seat belts ($395), Interior Carbon Fiber Pack ($1725), leather and suede seats ($2995)

Price as tested: $96,720


Quick Hits

The great: Foul-weather ready, fun to drive

The good: Plenty of power, roomier than Jeep Wrangler

The not so good: Too wide to drive easily in parking lots, pricey


Tom Appel:

What price extreme? How much are you willing to give up—in terms of money and personal comfort—in order to take things further than most folks are willing to go? We’re not talking about eating jalapeños or playing Royal Match until dawn here, we’re talking about your ride. What are the challenges of driving something completely over the top?

2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

We asked ourselves that question shortly after taking delivery of a 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor equipped with more than $11,000 in options. Ford’s ultimate off-roader (unless you count the F-150 Raptor) looks extreme standing still, and also looks like an ownership handful. Certainly, a vehicle this obviously caffeinated asks much of its caretakers.

For those not in the know, the Raptor caps a comprehensive line of rugged Bronco midsize SUVs, all of which are designed to steer off-road enthusiasts (and rugged-minded “soft roaders”) away from Jeep’s popular Wrangler SUV. And, about that mission: In 2023, Ford sold 117,000 Broncos, and Jeep 157,000 Wranglers. While Jeep has the sales edge, both models saw sales declines last year, though Jeep sales slipped more than Bronco sales.

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2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

The Bronco lineup ascends though the base Big Bend (about $41,000), Black Diamond ($44,000), Outer Banks ($49,000), retro-themed Heritage ($50,000), off-road-ready Bad Lands ($51,000), Everglades ($57,000), off-road/desert-runner Wildtrak ($63,000), luxury-oriented/retro-themed Heritage Limited Edition, and extreme off-road Raptor ($91,000).

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2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

All models are available in 4-door configuration, while all but the Outer Banks, Everglades, and Raptor are also offered with 2-doors. Power for most models comes from a 300-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged  “EcoBoost” 4-cylinder. Standard, and only available on the Wildtrak and Heritage Limited Edition is a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 good for 315 horsepower. Exclusive to the Raptor is another EcoBoost mill, a 3.0-liter V6 rated at a substantial 418 horses.

All engines mate to a 10-speed automatic, while a few 4-cylinder models can be had with a 7-speed manual. No surprise, all Broncos come standard with 4WD.

As for what makes a Raptor a Raptor, the list of upgrades is lengthy. Most notable is a chassis designed to provide more than 13 inches of suspension travel, almost two inches more than the Wildtrak. As noted above, the Raptor boasts 103 more horsepower than the Wildtrak, and a more comprehensive suite of drive modes. And while both the Wildtrak and Raptor are shod with 17-inch wheels, the latter’s 37-inch tires are 2-inches larger, and look impressively massive. The Raptor is also fitted with a unique grille, hood, front fenders, and taillight assemblies.

Inside, the Raptor boasts a number of upgrades including unique trim elements, a specific steering wheel, and red/orange seat trim.

Despite the steroid treatment, Consumer Guide found the Raptor to be surprisingly docile in regular use, though the daily commuting experience was not without its compromises. Here’s a rundown of the costs of going extreme:


While the Raptor cabin sits a little higher than that of other Bronco models, it’s not a terrible stretch to get up and into the car. Smaller folks might suggest otherwise. Once inside, there is no penalty for going with the Raptor, as cabin space and general seating comfort are pretty much the same.

Ride quality is another matter. While the Raptor ride is never harsh, it is comprised of significant up-and-down movement, which can grow wearisome on broken and wavy roads. Also, a fair amount of noise makes its way into the cabin, which can make conversation at highway speed a bit of a hassle.

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2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
2023 Ford Bronco Raptor

The best part first: The Raptor is very fast. There’s plenty of punch for around-town stop-light drag starts, and ample muscle for passing and merging as well. And as we managed to enjoy the services of the Raptor during a snow event, we’re happy to report the baddest of Broncos makes short work of unplowed streets and drifted-over driveways.

And while the Raptor handles well, generally speaking, the large tires can work against you in cornering, as the uber Bronco plows somewhat in aggressive cornering, which can scrub off speed, and the vehicle’s width limits how much rush-hour traffic slicing and dicing can be performed.

One the plus side, our fuel economy was surprisingly not awful; we averaged 15.3 mpg, not bad for a 400-plus-horsepower off-road machine with full-time 4WD, that spent some time snow slogging. For the record, we saw 18.3 mpg in a test Bronco Wildtrak in somewhat lighter-duty driving.


At more than $90,000 to start, the Raptor is very expensive. And, for most folks, the very capable Wildtrak will prove to be a more vehicle than they will ever need. That said, if you have the money, and have to own the most-extreme Bronco, there’s little reason not to indulge your baser instincts. While the Raptors can be something of a chore to drive around town, it’s not that much of a hassle, and you won’t be burning very much more gas. Also, the Raptor is fun to drive, and that counts for a lot when you’re shelling out this kind of money.

Note: This evaluation did not include any serious off-road activity, and that activity is core to the Raptor mission. Indeed, if anything justifies the Raptor’s hefty bottom line, it is the truck’s legitimate rock-crawling credentials. The editors of Consumer Guide have enjoyed the services of a Bronco Raptor for the purpose of serious off-road fun, and can vouch for the truck’s bona fides.

Note: This evaluation is of the 2023 Bronco Raptor. The Bronco lineup is little changed for 2024.

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2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
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2023 Bronco Raptor Gallery

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