Ford’s swamp monster has arrived in the form of the Bronco Everglades edition. We drove it through the wet, muddy, rocky, and buggy trails of Northern Michigan to see if it is as capable as it looks.
They say the bugs are as big as birds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, otherwise known as the UP. Flies are as mean as piranhas and as hungry, too, circling human prey to bite. Mosquitoes swarm in blinding clouds.
It’s swampy on Drummond Island, a rock skip from Canada and a hop along the Michigan archipelago straddling the line between the United States and our neighbors to the north.
However, the bugs are no match for my beefy grille, and the windows are rolled all the way up in the Bronco Everglades I’m driving. This is no place for rolling back the soft top or pulling off the modular panels above, unless you want to be overrun by the insect population, trust me.
Draped in Desert Sand, an exclusive color to this iteration of the new Bronco, the Everglades version powers through the muddy terrain without blinking. If the characters in Jurassic Park would have had a Bronco Everglades, I’d bet they could have escaped the T. Rex by splashing through the giant puddles left in its footprints.
It’s clear that Ford’s popular 4×4 vehicle is an off-road star, and the Everglades edition smashes through the forest more capably than all its siblings, sans the Raptor edition in most ways. This is especially true on terrain that matches its namesake: marshy, muddy wetlands.
2022 Bronco Everglades Review
Mudding Accessories Included
Ford has done an admirable job creating a Bronco lineup that meets just about every customer’s needs, including eight trim levels and providing 200 accessories straight from the factory. The options are pretty much unlimited, but some customers don’t want to dig through a set of options, they just want something straight from the factory.
In the simplest terms, the Everglades model is a four-door Black Diamond that has received the Sasquatch treatment and gained a winch and a reversible snorkel.
It also comes standard with Everglades-exclusive front and rear fenders with squared-off wheel openings, rock rails, a roof rack with cross bars, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a carbonized gray grille.
The Everglades is available in five colors, including the aforementioned Desert Sand hue, plus Area 51, Shadow Black, Cactus Gray, and a vibrant Eruption Green. Personally, I think the green represents this model the best, with the Area 51 blue shade a close second.
Regardless of the color, the fun topographical maps on the front fenders set the Everglades apart, especially with the graphic representation of a Sasquatch wading in deep water with the word “sighting” placed in several spots.
After you’re finished caking on mud up to the snorkel, the marine-grade vinyl seats and wash-out floor can be sprayed down, the dirt circling the drain holes in the floorboard.
Every Bronco Everglades comes with the Ford 2.3L EcoBoost engine making 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Choosing the lighter engine for this model was a smart move, as it’s easier to care for overall and it saves weight. And it’s only available with an automatic 10-speed transmission; manual fans, you’re out of luck with this one.
Warn Zeon Winch Included
The Everglades was built for those who like to go off-roading in swampy, marshy areas like the one I explored on Drummond Island. It’s made for water fording; I could see this being a fantastic post-hurricane clean-up vehicle and would be useful in various areas of Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia, and southeastern Texas.
The thing about mud, though, is that you’re bound to get stuck. And that’s where the Everglades model shines.
Key to the Everglades capability is a bolted-on Warn Zeon 10-S winch, which has a pull capacity of 10,000 pounds and comes with 100 feet of synthetic cable. The cable, Ford engineers told me, is safer if it snaps.
Using synthetic cable means it holds less kinetic energy, plus it’s a lighter-weight material than steel. The downside, however, is that the synthetic materials can fray more quickly and require a bit more care than their steel cousin.
“The winch was integrated alongside the vehicle itself, and we tested it over and above Warn’s requirements,” Ford engineer Michael House told the media gathered in Michigan last week.
“There were some changes we made to their off-the-shelf winch; we added incremental powder coating to the housing, the plates, and the brackets and made some different fastener choices. We selected a different fairlead and hook to meet our more-stringent requirements.”
Because Ford opted to hang a 100-pound mass off the front of the vehicle, that required recalibrating the suspension both with and without the winch. The drive didn’t seem to suffer at all, and that winch came in handy when I approached a slippery, heavily rutted hill and got stuck.
Gleefully, our Ford escort took the opportunity to show off the winch’s abilities. To my surprise, it was quicker and easier than I expected.
However, you’ll want to note that what you gain in capability with the winch you’ll lose in visibility because the winch negates the front camera. Bronco Program Manager Lauren Putnam revealed that customer feedback has shown this is something Ford is going to have to add, and it’s in the works.
Ford First: Snorkel
For the first time, Ford engineers opted to add an engine intake snorkel system as a factory-installed feature. The Bronco Everglades’ snorkel snakes up the A-pillar and includes easily reversible plates, so if you’re going through snow, dust, dirt, or rain, you can still get clean air to the engine.
Ford raised the vent tubes for the transmission and driveline by 87mm in the front and raised the vent tubes in the rear by 56mm. In sum, that gives the Bronco Everglades 36.4 inches of water fording ability, which House said is 10-30% better than its competitors.
Bronco Everglades Driving Impressions Off-Road
The Bronco is like a Jeep Wrangler in that it’s not the most comfortable ride you’ll take on the road in any of the trim levels, but it transforms on the dirt. It’s happiest and most impressive when it’s tackling rocks and mud, and that’s why you’d buy this vehicle. In its sixth generation, it is a handsome SUV, and under the skin it’s robust as anything else on the trail.
At the trailhead, I turned the G.O.A.T. (Go Over Any Type of Terrain) mode knob to Mud/Ruts and kept it there for nearly the entire route. The Bronco has possibly the quickest transfer case transition in its class, and it takes seconds to switch from 4H to 4L, which is where it operated for the meaty part of the drive.
Front and rear lockers activate quickly. Do note that no sway bar disconnect is included on the Everglades trim, however.
I was able to pick up speed on the flat, gravel-covered parts of the route, letting the Bronco express its wilder side. On variable terrain, I felt very confident even up and down the slick rock steps and I already knew from putting several Bronco trims through their paces at Ford’s Off-Roadeo course in Austin that it can take on just about anything.
The real fun, though, was driving through long patches of deep water that came right up to the door panels. Snaking through the mud-colored water crossings was thrilling as we splashed along, knowing the vehicle was going to ace it.
A hefty bash plate protects the front part of the SUV and more skid plates are shingled behind it to keep the underbelly and its components from being picked off by wicked rock formations.
While the tires were aired down to about 34-35 psi for our drive, it would have been more comfortable at pressures closer to 25-28 psi. Driving over the rocks was fairly rough for my passenger, and the Bronco Everglades would benefit from the addition of an “oh, sh**” handle to grab for those moments.
On the other hand, we didn’t have to worry about the tire pressure monitoring system pinging us with warnings that the pressure was below the typical threshold. And when we switched back into 4H to get back on the paved road, it was an easy transition.
This is the type of adventure vehicle enthusiasts want. In order to keep getting gems like this from manufacturers, encourage your off-the-beaten-path friends to go buy them.
2022 Bronco Everglades Pricing & Specs
Starting at $53,000 plus $1,495 destination and delivery charges, the 2022 Bronco Everglades is equipped with some of the best accessories in the lineup and then some. Basically, if you start with a four-door Bronco Black Diamond for $41,640 MSRP and add $6,090 for the Sasquatch package, you’re looking at $47,730.
The Everglades throws in a high-quality winch (the off-the-shelf version retails for about $1,800), snorkel, and alloy wheels for a pretty good deal on the whole shebang.
Here’s the catch, though: the Everglades model is exclusive to Bronco reservation holders — some of whom have been waiting for quite a while for their builds — if they want to switch to this version. A Ford spokesperson said for the first model year, the Bronco Everglades is a “reward for those customers for their patience.”
To learn more, head over to the official 2022 Bronco Everglades site. Otherwise, be on the lookout for marked-up Everglades once they’re out in the wild.
2022 Ford Bronco Everglades Specs
- Engine: 2.3L EcoBoost generating 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. (on premium fuel)
- Transmission: 10-speed SelectShift automatic
- Maximum crawl ratio: 67.8:1
- Approach / Breakover / Departure angles: 37.8 degrees / 26.3 degrees / 37.1 degrees
- Minimum running ground clearance: 11.7 in.
- Maximum water fording: 36.4 in.
- Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. Modes: Standard — with 7 modes, including Normal, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja modes
- Trail control, turn assist, and hill-start assist: Standard
- Tires: Goodyear Territory 35-in. 315/70R17 M/T