Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2023 finalist | Daily News Byte

Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2023 finalist

 | Daily News Byte

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The Ford Bronco Raptor has made it to the final round of the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023 competition because it’s one of the funnest cars money can buy. It’s so much fun that we can’t resist the $69,995 sticker price, which is pretty much affordable these days.

Editorial Director Marty Padgett finds the Ford Bronco Raptor—which we call the Braptor around here—fun to hit the pavement, saying it kicks up dust and is scary all-terrain. He is right.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

The Braptor looks like a grown-up Tonka truck, with boxy lines, a wide stance, and funny fender flares. Those flares are necessary to cover the long-travel Fox reservoir dampers and 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 all-terrain tires. The Braptor’s stance is 8.6 inches wider than the standard Bronco’s, making it more than seven feet wide. It’s as wide as a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup, and about the width of a standard parking spot. The width means that, like a semi or heavy-duty pickup, it needs marker lights to meet federal regulations. Combine those with factory-installed Rigid fog and driving lights and the Braptor looks menacing in the rearview mirror at night.

With 13.0 inches of ground clearance, and 13.0 inches of front- and 14.0 inches of rear-suspension travel, the Braptor can roll over almost anything in its path. It’s too tall for an assembly line, speed bumps and curves don’t stop it, and it tempts drivers to turn everyday obstacles like railroad tracks into jumps.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Inside, the Braptor is fully loaded with the Bronco’s familiar 12.0-inch touchscreen, hard buttons and knobs for climate control functions, and a large drivetrain mode-selector dial. But Braptors take things further than any other Bronco with a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster and thickly bolstered Recaro front seats that can be optioned in blue. Yes, the doors and top still pop out for an open-air experience.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Under the hood sits a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That transmission is the highlight of the powertrain thanks to quick, clean shifts so perfectly executed in Sport and Baja modes that they wouldn’t be out of place in a sports car.

But Braptor isn’t perfect or for everyone.

That width can be a pain in parking lots, a parking garage, or even a garage at home.

Its over-the-top look appeals to your inner sibling, and that’s not a life choice everyone is willing to make.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

It’s also down two cylinders compared to the competition. While it’s quick enough, it doesn’t put you back in your seat like the V-8-powered Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. At 5,733 pounds, it doesn’t even clear the line like the two-door Bronco Wildtrak, which has smaller 330-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 but weighs about 1,000 pounds less.

Is the Braptor’s off-road fun factor enough to win it over three hot hatches, a luxury EV, a sport sedan, and the triumphant return of an iconic nameplate? Will the Ford Bronco Raptor be named Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023? Back to Jan. 4 when we reveal the winner, along with champions from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.

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