Review: The 2023 Ford Bronco Everglades is a water horse
The 2023 Ford Bronco Everglades is all wet, at least that’s what it was designed to be.
The new SUV trim is equipped with features that make it especially suitable for its namesake locale and similar soggy environments.
It only comes as a four-door with the Bronco’s entry-level 300 hp 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine at a starting price of $55,490.
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The Ford Bronco Everglades is equipped with features that make it better for wet conditions. (Ford)
That price puts it near the top of the 10-model lineup, just two spots below the high performance Bronco Raptor. The Raptor is the Everglade’s polar opposite and designed for dune-bashing in the desert, although they are both fine for the snow.
The Everglades is also good in the snow. (Ford)
The Everglades features the Bronco’s Sasquatch package that includes 35-inch mud-terrain tires, an upgraded off-road suspension and front and rear locking differentials for the standard four-wheel-drive system.
The Everglades has the Bronco’s Sasquatch equipment package and a unique decal. (Ford)
A decal depicting the cryptid wading through water hints at the Everglades’ ability to go 36.4 inches deep, which is about half its height. Raised vents for the axles, the two-speed transfer case and the 10-speed automatic transmission help it achieve this capability, but the truck’s signature feature is located even higher up.
The Everglades’ snorkel keeps water and dust out of the engine. (Ford)
Not the roof rack, but a snorkel the engine breathes through that runs up the passenger side windshield pillar to keep the intake system from sucking in splashing water. It can also be reversed to face the rear, which does the same for dust on dry dirt roads if following another vehicle.
The Everglades only comes as a four-door. (Ford)
The Bronco’s doors are removable, but well-sealed when installed, so they will keep the interior dry for short stints as a semi-submersible. In case there are any leaks, or if you leave the removable hardtop roof off in the rain, the seats are upholstered in marine grade vinyl and the uncarpeted washout floor has drains.
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I wasn’t able to get to Florida with our test truck, but did spend a day with in on the wet and wild trails of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, where it proved its worth in the muck.
The Everglades is rated to ford water 36.4 inches deep. (Fox News Digital)
The engine is more than powerful enough to dig through the sloppiest stuff and the Bronco’s G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) drive mode selector can optimize the drivetrain and traction control for a variety of surfaces that includes mud, if not specifically mud covered in half a fathom of water.
The Everglades has a removable hard top and roof rack. (Ford)
One bonus the snorkel brings is that it lets you hear the chirps and whistles of the engine’s turbocharger system through it. The motor’s sounds are otherwise uninteresting, but it is quiet while cruising on pavement, where wind and road noise take over thanks to the Bronco’s boxy shape and knobby tires. They also do not help its fuel economy, which is 17 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in the city, if the urban jungle is more your thing.
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The Everglades amphibious aspirations do not make it any less of a 4×4 on dirt and rocks, but there are two features you cannot get that are available on some other Bronco models. One is a detachable front sway bar that gives the independent front suspension extra articulation at low speeds and the other a 360-degree camera, which has a live front trail view that’s very handy for navigating tricky terrain. Instead, the Everglades gets a factory-installed 10,000-pound Warn winch that was designed specifically for the Bronco and has been crash-tested with it.
A 10,000-pound Warn winch is standard on the Everglades. (Ford).
It can be used to pull the truck out of sticky situations and uses a synthetic line that is lighter than steel and will not cause as much damage if it snaps while under tension. It is also a good fit for the Everglades, offering corrosion resistance and the ability to float on water, but the winch uses a wired controller that keeps the operator tethered close to the vehicle or in it.