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Ford Bronco Raptor confirmed: What is it?

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Ford recently confirmed the existence of the Bronco Raptor – something we’ve all been speculating on since the Bronco was revealed last year. But other than stating it will be released in 2022, presumably as a 2023 model, we’ve got nothing else.

Cue the year-long tease with obscure photos, video snippets and spy shots. Yay! (#nonotreally)

Since no one knows what it will be, but everyone seems to have an opinion, we figured we’d weigh in with ours. So, three of our team members (myself included) are speculating what we think the Bronco Raptor will be.

As I start this article and write my own speculation paragraph, I have no idea with Jimmy Dinsmore and Tim Esterdahl are going to say. Did we all paint the same picture? Or are we wildly different?

Ciminillo says: I’m guessing the Bronco Raptor will be based on the rugged Badlands trim with the Sasquatch package, and it will have to get the same up-level 3.5-liter V-6 as the F-150 Raptor. Since we’re talking family, I think we’ll also see things like the 1-Pedal Drive system for slow-speed off-roading, available 37-inch tires, a five-link rear suspension, FOX racing shocks and some more rugged appearance details. What I don’t think we’ll see: the 7-speed manual transmission or a Raptor R variant (aka no V-8).

Esterdahl says: The Ford Bronco Raptor will likely follow the same playbook the other Raptor trucks use. This means, it will see a more desert and high-speed tuned suspension favoring specific use case performance over every-day driving dynamics. Under the hood, Ford can go either with a higher-output 2.7-liter V-6 increasing horsepower to nearly 400 — up from the 315 in the current V-6 Bronco setup. They might also put the 3.5-liter V-6 twin-turbo EcoBoost engine in the Bronco — if it fits and Ford can figure out how to keep it cool. Besides the performance upgrades, expect to see specific badging and the new grille Ford teased as well as unique badging, seats and other goodies.

Dinsmore says: I hope the Bronco Raptor will be all things to all the enthusiasts who have patiently (and impatiently) waited for the return of this icon. Then had to wait some more for production delays. And then suffer through no V-8 offering. For those people’s sake, I truly hope there’s a V-8 option for the Bronco Raptor. We know the F-150 Raptor R will get a V-8 next year, so it makes sense to put that engine in the Bronco Raptor, too, even though I am perfectly aware that the high-output EcoBoost in the standard Raptor is awesome. In an appeal to the die-hard enthusiast set, I’m also banking on a manual transmission.

The bottom line on the Bronco Raptor

Well, this should be fun to watch what plays out. Esterdahl and I fall along the same lines in what we think is coming, except I’d rule out the base engine. Dinsmore and I are diametrically opposed as he’s thinking V-8 and manual transmission, and I’m saying that’s the one thing Ford won’t do.

What do you think the new Bronco Raptor will be? Is it different than what you think it should be?

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is a syndicated automotive writer. Jill also manages the “Drive, She Said” blog for ChicagoNow and posts reviews to DriveChicago. She is the president emeritus of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. She also serves as a judge for the Automotive Heritage Foundation Journalism Awards. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group and Pioneer Press Newspapers.

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