Whether we like it or not, our automotive future is electric. And Ford is doing its very best to set up for a smooth transition.
Ford’s Mustang Mach-E brought with it a heaping helping of divisiveness at launch. Not really because of the car itself, but rather the name. Leveraging the brand’s most iconic namesake for an electric crossover enraged many a proud pony-car patriot. But since its launch in 2020, many skeptics have worked through the 7 stages of grief and reached acceptance. While they still populate many a political post, there’s been a notable drop-off in “that’s not my Mustang!” quips on socials and comment sections. And that’s a good thing, because the Mustang Mach-E is a great car – so much so that’s it’s slotted right behind the Tesla Model Y as the second best-selling electric SUV in the US.
It’s because of this high demand that Ford stopped taking retail orders for the 2022 Mach-E. So those wanting an electric Ford may naturally look into the also fanfare-rich 2022 Ford F-150 Lighting. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re out of luck there as well. Ford has also closed shop on anyone wanting to order the electrified best-selling truck in America. You may strike gold and be able to locate an available Mach-E or F-150 Lighting on a dealer lot, but we’re guessing that’s probably as likely as finding a PlayStation 5 at a Best Buy.
While this is discouraging for those wanting to add one of these to their garage, it’s also very promising for the future of Ford and electric in America. With the blue oval brand beating out Tesla and others to offer the first mass-produced pickup, Ford gets a head start in a platform they already dominate.
So, is this enough to get consumers to ditch their old petrol pickups?
Concerns over range, towing, and availability say: not quite yet. But it’s great to see America’s oldest brand taking necessary strides to position itself for the inevitable. And like we said, even if you wanted one, it’s unlikely you can get your hands on an all-electric Ford at this time—that is, unless an E-Transit is what you’re after.
If all this talk of electricity confuses or even scares you, we understand. Luckily for you, Ford’s gasoline-fueled off-road renaissance is running concurrently alongside its electric one.
With the rise of the SUV/Mid-Size Truck, a matching aftermarket boom inevitably came along with it. The cool, enthusiast segment that the tuner market once occupied in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, has been replaced by the off-roader. Wings gave way to winches, underglow moved up to light bars, and lowering kits became lift kits.
While building your own tuner was the ideal method of coaxing out the most performance, legendary trims like the STi, Evolution, and Type R promised big performance right off the showroom floor.
And following that mold, the off-road market and Ford in particular, now offer trim levels assuring higher-levels of capability straight from the lot.
Whether you’re planning on putting one of these vehicles through its off-road paces, taking it to a campsite every now-and-again, or just want to look the part while running errands around town, it’s nice to see Ford making an effort in an SUV space that often gets criticized for its bland uniformity.
Ford Bronco Everglades
While the Bronco Raptor has received most of the fanfare—including from us—Ford introduced an all-new trim level earlier this year. As Jeep has found, if you tweak it enough and add a new name, they will buy. But unlike some packages that may emphasize appearance, the Everglades has real capability. Like its namesake, this Bronco has deep mud and water seekers in mind. Melding the Black Diamond and Sasquatch packages together plus sprinkling in a few goodies, the Everglades makes for a very intriguing package.
Along with the turbo I-4 EcoBoost and 10-speed automatic, the Everglades edition features the following:
- Warn Zeon 10-S Winch + Synthetic Line
- Heavy-Duty Modular Front Bumper
- Factory Installed Passenger Side Snorkel
- Extended Front and Rear Axle, transfer case, and transmission vents for increased water Fording
- Unique 17” Gray Alloy Wheels
- Squared off Front and Rear Fender Flares
- Marine-Grade Vinyl Interior
- Exclusive Desert Sand Color Option
The Everglades certainly packs some interesting options, but for those interested in purchasing, well… you’re in the same boat as the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting. For the time being, the Everglades variant is only available as an upgrade for current Bronco reservation holders. Maybe next year?
Ford Ranger Raptor
Currently the Ranger Tremor sits at the top of the trim-level heap for the U.S. Ranger. If that name sounds familiar, you may remember it from its introduction way back on the 2002 Ranger. That early aughts Tremor model was packing an unbelievable 485 number! That’s sound system wattage…not horsepower. Still pretty cool for the time, but with a tuned suspension and off-road goodies, we like the modern Tremor better. But just like the F-150 and the Bronco, that damn dinosaur is here to de-throne it.
New for 2023, the Ranger Raptor is finally coming stateside. While details aren’t quite available yet, it’s likely we’ll be getting the 392 HP 3.0L V6, the same as the Australian market—possibly with a few tweaks. Similar to the Bronco Raptor, the Ranger variant should feature the 10-speed automatic, locking diffs, and standard four-wheel-drive. Expect a stouter suspension, higher ground clearance, 33” tires and a slew of off-road goodies.
Ford Explorer Timberline
According to Ford, Explorer owners are reporting a 56% increase in off-road usage over the past three years. Now whether off-road means those folks surveyed are heading out to Moab or driving down that unpaved soccer field entrance to pick their kids up, we’ll never know. But Ford has read the writing on the wall, and the promise they made to offer more capable and rugged SUVs has not been lost on the legendary Explorer. Possibly a portmanteau from Brittney Spears’ more well-known 2000s boyfriends—enter the Timberline.
It sports a bit of a beefier Subaru aesthetic, which isn’t a bad thing. But take a closer look and you’ll find a few very welcome additions for those looking to tackle more varied terrain:
- Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential
- Seven Mode Terrain Management System
- Steel Skid Plates
- Heavy-Duty Shocks from a Police Interceptor
- Bridgestone Dueler All-Terrain Tires
- Optional Forged Green Metallic Color
- Easy to Clean Seats and Interior
In addition to the Explorer, the Timberline trim is also available on the Expedition. So, if you’ve got a bunch of paraphernalia and people to haul, it’s the perfect combination of space, luxury, and capability.
Despite the lack of smaller coupes and sedans, Ford has a good thing going right now. Very few brands, if any, can hold their own against not only Jeep, but the likes of Tesla as well. It will be interesting to see how America’s premier blue blood pushes forward into the electrified future, while still keeping the wheeler faithful among us adequately satiated. We’re waiting to see how long it takes for them to combine the two segments and fight the Wrangler 4xe with an electric off-roader. (We’re betting not too long.)
Addictive Desert Designs
If you’ve got a Ford Bronco, Ranger, F-150, or Super Duty that isn’t one of the trim lines mentioned above, you can still get the same look and performance with Addictive Desert Designs bumpers and accessories. ADD offers a slew of expertly crafted bumpers, steps, racks, doors, tire carriers and accessories that can make even the proudest of Raptor owners more than a little jealous.
For non-Raptor Broncos, ADD offers three unique Made in America front bumper styles to fit whatever look or function you’re looking to perform.
The Bomber is a high and tight bumper that matches the modern/retro styling of the newest Bronco perfectly. It improves clearance while keeping the parking sensors free and completely operational. And it’s available in models that can accommodate pod/cube lighting from two of the giants in the industry—Rigid Industries and Baja Design.
For an even slimmer design, the Stealth Fighter Bumper opts for a 30” light bar cutout and allows ample air to reach the vehicle’s intercooler.
And if you’re looking to reinforce your recovery options, ADD’s Rock Fighter front bumper fits the bill. Designed with heavy trail use in mind, the Rock Fighter adds a standard winch mount behind a sturdy low-profile hoop. With a spot for a 20” bar or 5 cube lights, this bumper is a jack-of-all trades for those seeking the ultimate in versatility.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, coming soon from ADD are the latest lineup of bumpers specifically designed for the Bronco Raptor and Ranger Raptor. You can bet they’ll feature all the quality, versatility, and legendary design we’ve come to expect from Addictive Desert Designs.
Take it from this writer, who is a 5+ year owner of an ADD bumper. While many of my metal accessories have rusted and faded in the salt-laden northeast, my ADD bumper looks the same as the day I unboxed it!