This here is the Bronco Wildtrak – the most expensive Bronco – designed for high-speed, all-out dessert runs…a terrain type foreign to my area. Instead, I’ve got a freshly fallen 3” sleet bomb with some snow on top. This is the only Bronco which comes standard with the Sasquatch Package taking ground clearance to 11 ½” through long-travel Bilstein shocks and 35” mud tires mounted to 17” beadlock-capable wheels. There’s a higher final drive ratio delivering more torque to the ground and it also possesses a nearly 2” wider track. The Wildtrak also comes standard with the more powerful 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 315 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque on regular unleaded – 330 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque if you feed it premium. A 10-speed auto is the only available transmission on Wildtrak, rated at 17mpg. This one is also optioned with Dual Tops: a Carbonized Gray removable hard roof with a sound deadening headliner which was left at the shop and – the way it was delivered to me – with a retractable full soft top. Removing the standard fog lamps on this tester is the optional Ford Performance Heavy Duty front bumper which includes upgraded front steel bash plates. Other notable extras on this Bronco include leather-trimmed vinyl seats, a 2” hitch receiver for max towing of 3,500 pounds and the most lavishly equipped Lux Package which essentially turns this Bronco’s interior into that of a well-stocked Explorer’s.
It wasn’t long ago that small trucks were dropping like flies as the bigger is better philosophy led to half-ton madness. But driving around an F-150 on a daily basis can get old – and expensive – pretty fast if you’re using it as a car replacement. Even the Ranger may be more truck than you need. So in comes the Maverick with its 4.5’ bed, car-like ride and a starting MSRP of $21,490. A 42mpg highway hybrid powertrain and 2-wheel drive are standard but the truck you’re looking at here has the gas-only 2.0-liter turbo and checks in at $35,320. That’s because this is the highest level Lariat trim with the Luxury Package. Alto Blue is an upcharge color, the black wheels are optional and the hard tri-fold tonneau cover is the most expensive one Ford offers. So while the base model is a best buy for the shopper interested in say a second vehicle for weekend errands this one with all of the creature comforts and driver assistance features is designed to be your only vehicle and driven every day. So if your ego is writing checks your budget can’t cash, maybe it’s time for a small truck. And if so the Maverick is exceptionally well done.
Just as Ford is preparing to reveal the next-gen Ranger due in 2023, I’m running through the mud in this Cyber Orange Ranger Tremor and loving every minute of it. Following the off-road oriented Super Duty Tremor comes this Tremor package for the Ranger. It gives owners a truck with even more capability, taking it several notches beyond the FX4 Package. Powered by a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder turbo producing 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, the Tremor Off-Road Package is priced at $4,290 and is available on XLT and Lariat grades exclusively in the SuperCrew 4X4 configuration. A lifted suspension provides nearly another inch of ground clearance which combined with the new 32” Grabber tires improves the Ranger’s off-road metrics. FOX shocks with external reservoirs at the rear and hydraulic rebound stops keep things comfortable even over severe terrain. A steel front bash plate, skid plates, 2 new recovery hooks in the rear, a locking rear differential and a Terrain Management System round out the package. Even the traction control system has been recalibrated for improved acceleration while driving on loose surfaces. Now the price of this one is $48,755 – certainly not cheap – but it’s a fully loaded top of the line Tremor. A more plebeian XLT Tremor starts at $42,745. It can tow 7,500 pounds with the optional trailer tow package. This is one rugged truck with a soft side that satisfies on a number of fronts so if you’re in search of an off-road rig that still fits in your garage and is ready to go right out of the box, the Ranger Tremor would be my first choice. FOR TESTDRIVENOW CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES’ COMPLETE VIDEO REVIEW & TEST DRIVE OF THE 2021 FORD RANGER TREMOR, GO TO: https://testdrivenow.com/ford-ranger-tremor-test-drive/
The best part of driving any EV is the immediate acceleration and the Mach-E has plenty of that though Ford reserves the really spirited stuff for the GT trim. The other aspect of this car that makes it unique is the degree to which 1 pedal driving is applied. That’s where you can brake the car by just lifting off the accelerator. And unlike my Kona which has steering wheel paddles to vary the amount of 1 pedal, here on the Mach-E it’s either on or off and it’s the most aggressive form of 1 pedal I’ve ever tested. Some people love it, others hate it and I’m somewhere in between…either way it takes some practice to do it right. And lastly, these tires are none too interested in sports car handling so in that regard the Mach-E feels a little heavy and sloppy for a car wearing the Mustang badge.
The First Edition came very well equipped with all of the goodies and draws plenty of attention in this Grabber Blue Metallic paint. It’s the very definition of a crossover; sporting a car-like appearance with SUV hatchback versatility. It seats 5 with cargo dimensions similar to that of a Ford Escape though unlike that small SUV the Mach-E doesn’t tow. But where the Escape would have its engine placed the Mach-E offers more carrying space via a divided luggage compartment that’s drainable meaning you could even pack it with ice for tailgating. The other big talking point is this enormous 15.5”, Tesla-like tablet housing the next generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. Beyond its notable size, it’s meant to work like your smartphone, programmed to learn your behaviors and making suggestions based upon your routine. It’s also updatable over-the-air.
Think of the Bronco Sport as the Escape’s country cousin. Built South of the Border upon a unibody, front-wheel drive platform that’s significantly shorter than the Escape’s but about 3” taller, the Bronco Sport is equipped with standard 4-wheel drive and carries a starting MSRP of just over $28,000. Ford has given the trim levels cool names like Big Bend and Outer Banks but it’s this Badlands model that they deem the pinnacle of off-road performance. So if you want the more powerful engine, the better 4-wheel drive system, the differential lock, more drive modes, all-terrain tires, off-road tuned suspension, an extra inch of lift and more aggressive off-road geometry, then this is the only model for you. $34,315 is where the pricing starts and this one with the amenity-laden Badlands Package and Co-Pilot360 Assist + driver tech checks in at $37,705; slightly less than a loaded Jeep Compass Trailhawk which serves a similar purpose in life and about $12,000 less than a comparable Bronco Badlands.
The best part of the Badlands is that it kicks butt off-road while providing a really, sophisticated, softly-sprung ride on-road. And the cabin’s quietness adds to the sense of it being more substantial than the price would indicate. The turbo’s strong too and Ford has made it sound good from in here. I’m less impressed with the heavy dose of Escape interior bits which felt old and less-than right out of the gate when it was last redesigned. But all told the Sport makes for an excellent, more affordable companion to its bigger brother. And those who choose this Badlands model are getting one tough little SUV.