By on March 30, 2022

2022 Ford Bronco 2-Door Outer Banks

2.7-liter turbocharged V6 (315 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 410 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm)

Ten-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

19 city / 20 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

12.7 city, 11.9 highway, 12.4 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $42,040 US / $51,944 CAN

As Tested: $49,210 US / $60,579 CAN

Prices include $1495 destination charge in the United States and $2095 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The popular image of Henry Ford must be rolling over in its gilded grave at the proliferation of option packages and customization choices available these days. Of course, I’m talking about his ode to speeding up mass production – “Any color, so long as it is black” being the supposed mantra to make the Model T line move more efficiently.

While most automakers don’t let you run quite as wild with the options list as one might have in the Sixties, some cars do offer a dazzling array of options packages and standalone features allowing you to “customize” your vehicle to your anticipated needs. The 2022 Ford Bronco seen here is one of the most prolific in that regard, offering (by my count) eight different trim levels taking the offroader from mild to Wild(trak) and beyond.

This two-door Outer Banks trim sits somewhere in the middle of the lineup – it offers more luxury and convenience features than the base trims while wearing a set of road-focused, somewhat low profile all-terrain tires and 18” wheels compared to the sixteen and seventeen inchers found on the more hardcore models. Could the Outer Banks be the Goldilocks package?

Some readers will recall that roughly a year ago, my wife and I purchased a Jeep Wrangler – and not the Rubicon package. No, ours is a Freedom edition, which is a decal package and a few lux features atop a midrange Sport S trim. So, I’m rather well versed in off-road vehicles that aren’t all that dirt-focused.

This Outer Banks trim eschews the usual flat-black fenders of most other trims and paints them body color. That paired with the heated and optionally leather-trimmed seats and the lower-profile all-terrain tires signal that this truck might not be the ideal first choice for those who want to get muddy. Indeed, I got stuck in some mud, requiring a tug out of a pit. These tires are rather quiet on the freeway and I’m sure would do fine when the trails are dry, but if I were to end up putting an Outer Banks Bronco in my driveway I’d be considering a more appropriate tire and wheel package very quickly.

The optional 2.7-liter turbo V6 found here is wonderful to drive, and I didn’t find a significant difference in fuel economy to the last four-cylinder Bronco I’ve driven, as I’ve averaged just under 20mpg in my time with both. The four does allow a manual transmission, while the six is two-pedal only for those who partake, but I was happy with the ten-speed automatic here, as the shifts feel quick and well-matched to road speed with minimal hunting for ratios while on the road.

In my experience driving recent generations of the Wrangler, as well as a couple of iterations of this latest Bronco, the independent front suspension certainly shines on road. I’ve found that the traditional solid axle on the Jeep likes to wander a bit on the freeway – and this tendency is amplified on the short-wheelbase two-door model. I’m not as bothered by the highway manners of the four-door Wrangler, but the two-door Jeep feels much less confident than this two-door Bronco while cruising.

I felt so comfortable in the two-door Bronco, in fact, that I’d often look down at the digital display and find myself twenty-plus MPH over the posted limit, which is an absolute no-no here in Ohio. Oops. Quickly enough, I adapted and began to recognize the seemingly exponential increase in wind noise as an auditory reminder to slack off the right foot, as even with the optional ($495) sound-deadening headliner fitted to the hardtop, it gets quite loud inside.

I was, however, surprised how well the kids (15 and 13 now) fit in the back seat, once the complaints of clambering over a folded front seat subsided. Ask me today, and I’d be picking a four-door Bronco – but in five years when the youngest is (crosses fingers and prays to the gods of financial aid) off to college, I think I could get by very nicely with this two-door.

The front seats here are miles better than those fitted to the Wrangler – as they have actual lumbar support. I could easily drive all day in a Bronco without complaint. It seems, however, that I never actually photographed the seats. Did I get them too muddy when I got stuck? Did I soil myself and the leather beyond all recognition? You’ll never know.

Controls are laid out nicely, though the nubbin for controlling the powered side mirrors isn’t the most intuitive if I’m nitpicking. Generally, unless you share the Bronco with someone of wildly different stature you won’t be adjusting mirrors that often — so I don’t see it as a huge downside.

Incidentally, I wonder about the culture that will develop around the new Bronco. After all, the clear competitor Wrangler has had decades with which to build a fraternity of owners, all raising a hand in acknowledgment of other Jeep drivers with the Jeep wave.

Will there be a similar brotherhood among Bronco owners? The cynic in me considers the single-finger salute as a possible substitution – after all, I know that every time I mention a Bronco to our own Adam Tonge, who (check my math) ordered a new Bronco sometime during the Reagan administration and still hasn’t seen it, is mentally flipping me off.

Let’s hope Adam gets his Bronco soon, because it’s a damned good truck. When our lease is up, you can be sure we will be looking at a Ford Bronco as a potential replacement. But I’m probably choosing something other than the Outer Banks trim.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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41 Comments on “2022 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Review — Mall Crawler or Blank Slate?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    The biggest problem with the Bronco is that they basically don’t exist. As alluded to in the review, the supply situation on these is so messed up that Ford still doesn’t have pre-orders satisfied.

    “being the supposed mantra to make the Model T line move more efficiently.”

    Tobefair, they did sell 15M of them (in a period where population and income were low) and over the production run the inflation-adjusted price fell from $23K to $4k.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    I have this same Outer Bank in a four door. Early reservation and switched form the hard top to the convertible soft top to get it sooner. Have taken up to 12 hour in a day trip and it is a comfortable highway vehicle. The noise is a bit higher than a standard vehicle but truly do get used to it and can still easily speak on the phone with no issues.
    Looking forward to this summer when can take the top and doors off.
    We are first time hard core SUV owners. My son had a Wrangler for his first car and spent the entire summers with no top, no doors, and no shirt. He truly loved that vehicle.
    Lots of positive comments from people about and many people looking it over on the highway and in parking lots.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    The real question is, did the roof work properly?

    It’s sad you have to wonder about that but when you have the worst engineers in the industry, it becomes a concern.

    Also, $50k abs it gets stuck in a little mud. That is insane.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      You couldn’t build something for 500K that wouldn’t get stuck with those 5 rib highway tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “You couldn’t build something for 500K that wouldn’t get stuck with those 5 rib highway tires.”

        Agreed. My truck worked like a bulldozer in slime with Duratrac’s. The current Geolanders are marginal in the goo but work better everywhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      EB

      I ve worked with Ford Truck Engineering Dearborn on projects when I was selling machined metal castings. I found them to be competent mostly. But I had one Michigan grad who did nt know what a block tolerance was on a blueprint. ( supervisor level). 10 years later, I still shake my head.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Lou
        I agree. Geolanders are perfect. Decent traction in the goo, quiet, long lasting.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “EB

        I ve worked with Ford Truck Engineering Dearborn on projects when I was selling machined metal castings. I found them to be competent mostly. But I had one Michigan grad who did nt know what a block tolerance was on a blueprint. ( supervisor level). 10 years later, I still shake my head.”

        How long ago was that? Because some of the recent stuff coming out of Ford (last 5-7 years) has been garbage. They can’t even design a roof properly.

    • 0 avatar
      Waterloo

      I find it frustrating that when these reviews are done (on most sites, not just TTAC) they complain about the tire but fail to mention what tires are on the vehicle. I had to search and it seems that the stock tires are Goodyear Wrangler AT Adventures.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Definitely not Goodyear Adventures with that straight center rib. Those aren’t that bad in the dirt, prior to this factory brodozer era Adventures were as aggressive as factory tires got.

        Zag, straight, straight, Zag looks to me like the Bridgestone RHS that come on all the Jeeps and go directly to Craigslist.

        The RHS doesn’t have a solid shoulder though.

        I googled this further and it appears that this is an Ford bespoke RHS with the normal middle rib and highway shoulders. Takeoffs are already all over Craigslist.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I agree.

        I used to read dirt bike magazines and sport bike magazines. They’d always run the same brand of tires on all of the bikes they compared. It makes perfect sense but that costs extra money and effort. Your typical freebee presstitute won’t put out the cash or extra effort.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Kudo’s to Ford for giving people a better alternative to the crappy Wrangler. Completely pointless vehicle to me & something I have absolutely no use for, but I’m sure Ford will sell every single one they can build for quite awhile. Major fail on GM’s part for not building something similar & slapping the iconic K5 Blazer name on it. Ford seems to have better people at the top of their organization guiding the ship these days than General Motors.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I like the Bronco a lot, but if GM had built a modern K5 with 2 doors and the 6.2 I’d be first in line for a reservation.

      Amazing how flat-footed they’ve been. The Raptor & Power Wagon have been out and making money for over a decade now (not to mention the TRX), and no sign of a response from GM there either.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        They did do the ZR2 Colorado, which seemed to be fairly popular. I’m not sure the comparative profit margins vs the Raptor or RAM trims though.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          The ZR2 always struck me as a bit half-a$$ed by comparison to the others, maybe that’s not quite fair.

          In any case, with Raptor demand consistently high for years, it seems like there would be room for another full-sizer in the mix.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Raptor demand consistently high for years,”

            Has it? Or is demand a function of producing them at low volume? Sure it’s popular (even with the awful V6) but it loses a lot of capability when becoming a faux desert runner and thus lowers the amount of people that may be interested in it.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “The ZR2 always struck me as a bit half-a$$ed by comparison to the others, maybe that’s not quite fair.”

            I’d say that’s a fair assessment. An old neighbor had a Raptor, & while it’s a completely useless PU to a guy like me, I was very impressed with the chassis engineering after taking an up close look at it. It’s an amazing piece of machinery for something you can buy right off a dealer lot. The Raptor was no doubt engineered from the ground up. IMHO the ZR2 in comparison is more of a….. hey let’s “bolt on” some different suspension components & other bits.

            “In any case, with Raptor demand consistently high for years, it seems like there would be room for another full-sizer in the mix.”

            Yep, they are all over the place in MN. No deserts here or in western WI to my knowledge. In fact I’m not sure, unless you’re on private land ,where you would take them off-road in this state. I have no idea where these guys go with these trucks that I can’t with my Chevy Tahoe. Anyone in MN or Western WI tell me different if I’m wrong about that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “The ZR2 always struck me as a bit half-a$$ed by comparison to the others, maybe that’s not quite fair.”

            The ZR2 is a mild offroad build. Longer A arms, 2 inch lift, lockers front and back along with multimatic shocks. It competes with a Gladiator and Tacoma’s TRD Pro. I see them all over the place in my home town.

            The next gen will get the turbo 2.7, 10 speed, a “bigger” lift and 33’s.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m not an expert on off-road gear but the ZR2 does seem a step above the usual upgrade package (FX4, Z71, Pro4X). And then maybe still a notch over the Mojave or Rebel or Tremor or TRD PRO? Maybe not to full Raptor/PW level though. Although the ZR2 Bison seems to get closer to a PW.

            This certainly is the golden era for people that like off-road style vehicles. Several brands are offering multiple trim levels depending how hardcore you want.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @ajla – correct. The ZR2 is a step above most offroad packages. It isn’t Raptor or TRX grade but it’s more practical than those trims.

          • 0 avatar

            Four wheeling here in the North East I would much rather have a ZR2 over the raptor or power wagon. But that’s do to tight trails that mostly see Jeeps.
            You can also get the Bison which gets you bigger tires etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Joshua Johnson

            @Carlson Fan

            These trails are the best we can get in MN

            https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/map.html

            The one up by Virginia called Mesabi Mountain is supposed to be really good, though I have not been there myself.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      The Bronco also gives Ford the extra street cred needed to sell Bronco Sport to the general public. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who enter the showroom looking for Bronco and then buy the Sport after finding Bronco a) too pricey or b) too off road centric.

      So far I’ve probably seen five Bronco Sport to every Bronco on the road.

      GM really missed its chance with Blazer (Chevy Murano) and Trailblazer (Trax+).

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Hooray for Ford for taking a page from Jeep/Ram/Dodge and building another vehicle that people buy because they are passionate about cars. I don’t know or care if it is better than the Wrangler. Either way it is a welcome addition. I spent many days as a young man four wheeling with my brother in an early eighties wrangler in the mountains near Colorado Springs. That was cool but it was my experience in a rented plain Jane Wrangler driving around DC that made me believe it was the best vehicle for a city like Pittsburgh. You can look over your shoulder and almost see the ground directly behind the rear bumper. No worries about curb rash. Small, narrow footprint. Hopefully the two door Bronco is as fun to drive in such an environment.

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    Not into the whole off roading thing as my idea of roughing it is color TV without cable — but glad that Ford’s got a real hit on its hands. My future sister in law has one on order and it’ll be showing up any day now. She just went to a Bronco event out in the sticks of Georgia and had a great time. That said, the only duty hers will ever see are deep water fjords through puddles in Costco parking lots and trips over Kroger speed bumps.

    Only gripe with the whole Bronco thing is the naming convention for the trim levels. Why not use XL, XLT, Lariat, blah, blah that they used to do and use on their pickups? The Big Bend, Black Diamond, Heat Rash, Muddy Bottom, Bigfoot, and all the other names are kind of contrived — and pretty confusing as to what they offer.

    Seriously, you have to dig pretty deep to find out the difference between a Badlands, Wildtrak, and Everglades. Do you get crocodile leather in the Everglades one? Beats me.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Seriously, you have to dig pretty deep to find out the difference between a Badlands, Wildtrak, and Everglades. Do you get crocodile leather in the Everglades one? Beats me.”

      These things are the truck equivalent of a Corvette. They are toy more than anything due to their impracticality & most are purchased mostly on emotion. Which I get because I’ve never purchased any car or truck without that ingredient as at least part of the recipe.

      The trim names add an additional fun factor to the Bronco and I think they are quite clever to be honest. Buying a vehicle like the Bronco is a 180 degree experience from purchasing an appliance like a Corolla or an Equinox. So it makes sense to call the various trim levels something like “Everglade” vs “XL” IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @MitchConner- I agree that the nomenclature is dumb. Everyone knows Ford’s truck trim levels.

      Everglades has a snorkel and better fording depths. Wildtrak is a desert runner like the Raptor. Badlands is a crawler.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    So tired of the “mall crawler” trope. If you don’t like it don’t buy it. You don’t have to go off road to appreciate a robust off road capability. Roads conditions in NY suck. They get a little worse every year. In NY the Governor has decided to give 850 million tax payer dollars up front to a multi billionaire to build a new stadium so his woke multi millionaires can play a game 8 times a year in it. That 850 million dollars wont be used to make the crappy roads better. So some 35 inch tires will go a long way to smoothing out the potholes. Seems more practical than a sexy new ride rolling on 22’s with rubber bands for tires, but you do you.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      KC
      You are talking about the Bills. Big fan here as I am from WLVE. Bills will not get better until they replace the coach.
      Defense coordinators never do well as head coaches. Dump Kermit the frog. HE blew the playoff game. And hid from the press.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        redapple,

        Don’t care one way or the other. I love the friends and neighbors here so I’m glad their team is winning. I gave up on the NFL and most pro sports when the anti American , pro racist woke stuff started. I’m happy to leave well enough alone but now me and my middle class neighbors get to foot the bill for the billionaires and millionaires while our roads and bridges crumble. That makes me grumpy.

        • 0 avatar
          Number6

          Yeah, the problem is totally unique to WNY, right??

          Protesting cops murdering people is anti-American? I hope you get the authoritarian government your trust-fund boy Tucker tells you you really need.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I grew up in Steeler Country where by law you have to obsess over the Rooney’s team whenever they show signs of life, and my ex steelworker father was one of the biggest cheerleaders. What I witnessed in the fall of 2005 into 2006 was truly unparalleled – happiness and comradery between complete strangers which I would have not believed had I not lived through it. After the 2005 season, I started to realize the simple truth that’s its all entertainment and does not matter. I don’t own shares in the Steeler’s organization, they are not “my” team even if they are one I admire or am a customer of their entertainment product. I got a little caught up in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 Penguins seasons which I felt more connected to due to the 91/92 Cups (vs the Steeler’s 70s dynasty) but again the same rules apply. What is sad to me is how the vast majority of what passes for human beings does not see this (eventually).

  • avatar
    Crashdaddy430

    So let me get this straight, over 10k+ msrp, wait times six months to a year, questionable first year build quality, having to deal with a Ford dealer, and you STILL have to pay $495 for the headliner in your ill fitting hard top. Hard pass.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Christ on a bike Ford, I stare at a 17in screen 9-5 weekdays and now I have to stare at *another one* in the center console for the next 50,000 miles?

    Oh and: 19/20/19 mileage? How the **** is that even possible? So we’ve gone to decent mileage V6s of 19/27-30 to 19/20? Da fuq? I think even Audis post more than 1mpg highway mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      17″ all day? Get work to give you a better monitor.

      And, as for the mileage… that’s what happens when you style without the slightest regard for aero.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m being factious, only use the laptop’s screen when I’m traveling. I’m sitting in front of a 32in Viewsonic LED, a 27in Viewsonic LED on the left (both mine) and a cheapo Dell 24in LCD on the right from the old office which I mostly use to leave Outlook and Teams in during the day (I run two laptops and am set up for a third with a KVM).

        Not so sure, MY21 Wrangler 3.6 is rated 19/24/21 combined and aerodynamics are not its strong suit either. Something is fishy with those Bronco figures IMO.

        2021 Jeep Wrangler 4dr 4WD 3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-spd, Regular Gasoline

        https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&
        year1=2021&year2=2021
        &make=Jeep&baseModel=Wrangler&srchtyp=ymm&pageno=1&rowLimit=50

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The base Bronco is 3″ wider than a Wrangler and that goes up for the flared models like this one. More frontal area with a similarly terrible Cd means more fuel consumption.

          (My desk has me completely spoiled. 3x 220 ppi 27″ 5K monitors, one built into my iMac and two by LG. Best setup I’ve ever had in my life, as someone who spends all day with lots of windows full of text.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Step up to 32s, you won’t regret it. I’d also look into monitors which feature some sort of flicker/blue light protection. Both of my LEDs feature it.

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