2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Review - Vive Le Choix
2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Fast Facts
Heritage can be a loaded word. One could be proud that an ancestor served with honor and dignity in battle in some far-off land and time. Or one might be proud of distant relatives who trapped and enslaved others. You have to be careful invoking both the word and the sentiment.
When it comes to Broncos, there is a similarly mixed bag of heritage. You can choose to recall the first-generation Bronco, small and nimble off-road and on. The bigger full-size Broncos were popular, too, both among outdoors enthusiasts and, weirdly, among about-to-be indicted running backs running slowly from the law. Or we can consider the lost heritage of a 25-year gap in a model’s timeline.
Other than a squinting resemblance to those first Broncos of the Sixties, the 2023 Ford Bronco Heritage has little in common with the back-in-the-day trucklets of yore. Modern safety, emissions, and convenience standards have made for big changes in what we need in our everyday machines. How does that heritage translate to today?
Remember that your beloved TTAC is owned by a Canadian corporation, so we are contractually obligated to pour a bit of maple syrup on our writing from time to time. To be clear for my non-Francophone readers, the title above roughly translates to “Long Live Choice.” Celebrate the fact that we don’t all need to get around in the same dull boxes. We are blessed with abundance. From Ford, we can readily pick and choose (and, sadly, wait) for the exact vehicle we feel will meet our needs and desires.
Right now, it looks as if one can choix between nine varying flavors of Bronco on Ford’s website, not including the very different and mostly derided Bronco Sport - which I actually kinda like for what it is. But that’s neither here nor there. We have a healthy variety of Broncos with which we can pick and pluck features to create exactly the car we want and exactly how far off the path we want to wander.
No, it’s not a particularly comfortable vehicle to drive when the path is made of tarmac, though at least in this Sasquatch-package-equipped trim the chonky sidewalls do an admirable job of managing the low-speed damping not otherwise handled by the suspension. While you do feel and hear the tread blocks on the Goodyear Territory MT LT315/70R17 mud-terrain tires, it’s more a gentle, constant hum than an annoyance. The seats, clad in attractive plaid cloth, remain acceptably comfortable and miles better than most equivalent Wrangler chairs - though with the appearance in 2024 of optional power adjustables in the Jeep, lumbar support in the backcountry is finally being considered from both of the big players.
Wind noise remains a big complaint here, even with the sound-deadening headliner for the white fiberglass top in situ. There is only so much that can be done with a big, bluff brick of a truck to let air move past undisturbed. Cranking the volume on the radio is needed when cranking the throttle on the Ecoboost. Thankfully, the eight-inch SYNC4 infotainment is improved over previous incarnations of the Ford touchscreen ecosystem, with included wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration letting those who prefer to roll their own tunes and nav do so untethered.
While I own the four-door version of the direct competitor to this Bronco, I’m finding myself attracted to the two-door Bronco. These big bruisers keep getting larger and wider - especially when fitted with the massive rubber for the off-roady trims - and the extra length is getting annoying to manage while in tight spaces.
Get your mind out of the gutter.
No, I’m just saying that my teenagers are getting to their tallest heights (though you wouldn’t know by the clothing bills) and as both are roughly as tall as my wife at around five feet, eight inches tall give or take, they found themselves reasonably comfortable in the second row of this two-door Bronco. Cross-country road trips would be annoying, with the need for those in the front seats to evacuate their places if someone in the rear seats needs to evacuate their bladder in a hurry, but any vehicle that manages - at best - 19 mpg on the highway is not really focused on eating up highway miles like a family hybrid sedan or crossover. It drives well enough around town, and while I didn’t venture off pavement with this Bronco, I know from previous drives that you can get well into the wilderness with concern only for the robustness of your phone’s data plan. I don’t even know if I’d need the extra power of the bigger V6 - this turbo four seems plenty unless I’m trying to climb boulders bigger than houses, of which we have few to traverse in these parts.
In playing with the configurator on Ford’s website, this Heritage Edition might very well be the best way to get into a Sasquatch-package Bronco. I think you can get the base Big Bend trim with the Sasquatch package for maybe two thousand less, but adding in the “Mid” package that is standard on the Heritage (heated front seats, remote start, rear parking sensors among other things) you’d add another $1,695 onto that Big Bend, making it a near wash. As long as you like the white grille, top, and wheels, this is a no-brainer choice if you want a very capable off-road Bronco.
I’m thinking that the 2023 Ford Bronco Heritage is, surprisingly, a good buy at this price. Certainly, the aftermarket can toss any number of off-road doodads on a base-trim Bronco that will make it a better off-road vehicle, but easy-buttoning something that gets you 95 percent of the way there is an appealing prospect. While we can’t readily pick and choose individual options like we might have in the olden days, giving buyers great choices is a good way to honor our automotive heritage.
[Images © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]
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