Ford Dropping Base Bronco for 2024

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford’s Bronco is becoming more expensive, as the company is dumping the base trim for the 2024 model year. The Big Bend edition will now represent the cheapest way for one to procure the SUV. Though cheap may not be the operative word, as this choice shifts the Bronco starting MSRP from $36,785 to $41,025.

While the decision results in the vehicle having an upgraded interior, the Big Bend is still pretty basic inside and you don’t really unlock a lot of the coolest off-roading tech until you’re willing to buy one of the trims priced closer to $50,000.

If we’re being honest, the Bronco basically exists to scoop Jeep sales by offering a name that’s long been synonymous with off-roading. Allegedly more friendly around town than a Wrangler (I’ve only driven the latter), the worst terrain most Broncos are likely to see will be a gravel driveway. But the Ford is also supposed to have truly enviable off-road chops and begins implementing some of the best tools for the job with the Black Diamond trim.

Things really start getting serious once you’re considering a Bronco Badlands. But you’re already looking at a $50,000 starting price by then and are probably wondering why not bother splurging on the even better-equipped Everglades model or the off-road-focused Wildtrack. The Blue Oval says it has priced and designed the Bronco trims to reflect both off-road capabilities and creature comforts.

In addition to eliminating the base trim, Ford is raising prices across the board. Going through the configuration website, the Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, and Wildtrack trims all appear to be over $1,000 more expensive than they were last year. Meanwhile, the Everglades trim (arguably yielding the Bronco’s best off-roading package) is only $875 more than the 2023 model — resulting in a starting MSRP of $57,415.

Those interested in buying the retro-themed Bronco Heritage or Heritage Limited Edition seem to be under the least pressure to spend more. Those models both see relatively small pricing increases formatted as two-door SUVs at $750 and $240 more, respectively. But the difference jumps up by another few hundred bucks on the four-door models — a phenomenon that extends to some of the other trims.

The Bronco Raptor undertook the largest pricing increase by far. Ford currently has the MSRP set for $91,730 (including destination), which is over $3,000 dearer than it was last year.

Sadly, shoppers don’t appear to be getting more for the money. While the Raptor now comes with the Code Orange Appearance Package that adds some color to the interior and exterior, it’s a $2,500 extra. Considering just how much Bronco Raptor prices have jumped since the vehicle debuted, customers must be willing to pay through the nose for the thing.

The rest of the lineup is set to receive the larger, 12-inch infotainment system and Ford’s Sync 4 as the standard user interface. But the only piece of exterior hardware your author noticed being different between model years was the Heavy Duty Modular Front Bumper Blue Oval opted to add to Badlands-trimmed models. While the Bronco's charms are undeniable, it's hard to see any of the above as a great deal.

However, most manufacturers active today seem totally obsessed with seeing what they can get away with, bemoaning their production costs and how much has been sunk into various investment programs all the while. Affordable models have been culled from lineups and those that remain aren't often prioritized for production. The Bronco looks to be a real money maker for the brand and it's my guess that Ford probably wants to test those limits while it remains a trendy vehicle. The company presumably examined sales data from 2022 and realized it could afford to axe the base trim, setting the stage for juicier profit margins.

That's assuming customers don't begin seeing the Jeep Wrangler, which starts at $33,690 (including destination), as the better buy. However, the two models are different enough that pricing disparities probably won't be the deciding factor. Bronco shoppers will view something like paying $1,500 more for the Wrangler's hardtop roof as a bug, whereas Jeep fans will claim the utility vehicle defaulting to a removable soft top as an essential feature.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 42 comments
  • MrIcky MrIcky on Aug 18, 2023

    I just played around with the configurator. I'm fine with the 2.3/manual (I prefer it in fact), but I couldn't create a combination that I'd actually want for less than 50k anyway even starting with a big bend. If you don't want the 4x4 specialist stuff (locker, 4.7rear, etc), get a bronco sport for 15k less and be happier on your daily drive for it.

  • El scotto El scotto on Aug 21, 2023

    I'll say it: cheap vehicles sucked. I had a $9995 Ranger; 4cyl, 4 speed, 4 tires. Vinyl seats, vinyl floor, and for luxury I could tune in to the FM band.

    Car companies learned about inventory control during covid. Gone are the days of "stack em deep and sell them cheap"

    We'll be getting nicely loaded vehicles off the new dealer's lots from now on. Interest rates are cyclic and some people can wait.

    Inflation will be worse for the next five years or so. It won't matter if an R or D or Kang or Konos is president.

    I'll be rude: comfortable clothes, quality food, and fast cars cost money. I see far too much grumbling on what is supposed to be a car enthusiast's site.

    One of our more proficient trolls is an expert on well, just about anything. Engineering, thermodynamics, marketing. Yet he only has negative comments and can't prove anything. Another proficient troll has a penchant for German cars whose badges can be bought at Pep Boys, perhaps that's where he gets his inspiration, and could legally buy beer.

  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!