Kristen Lee, The Drive » 

But throughout the roughly three hours of off-roading on three different trails, nothing bested it. It never failed. It never got stuck. So surefooted and unshakable was the truck that after some time, I felt more and more at ease in spite to myself. I split my time between the First Edition on the rock-crawling trail and a $59,200 four-door, automatic, V6 Badlands Bronco on the milder dirt trail. Both handled the terrain with incredible aplomb. The trucks climbed up and down hills, forded creeks, and splashed through the mud like it was child’s play.

I’m probably as novice an off-roader as they come, but behind the wheel of Ford’s new truck, I felt reassured and confident that I could rely on the thing. Of course, I’m also very aware I was driving something that belonged to Ford, on a trail Ford curated and scouted, all while being chaperoned by Ford employees. Nothing bad or unexpected was supposed to happen.

But as a preview into what the truck is capable of, it impressed the hell out of me. I expected the Bronco to off-road well; I didn’t expect it to feel damn-near unbeatable. I felt like I could have taken it to the very ends of the Earth, where there are no more roads. It wouldn’t be a problem.

Though on- and off-road seat time was limited to a few hours, I walked away with the sense that the Bronco, adequate on paved roads, really shines when you throw it onto rough terrain. This is where it truly wants to be, kind of like the way a supercar hankers to be on a racetrack. The Bronco ate up the abuse and thirsted for more.