- We took part in the program at the Bronco Off-Roadeo facility in Moab, Utah.
- The Bronco Sport Badlands handled well through varying terrain.
- This program is definitely worth checking out if you have the opportunity.
2023 Ford Bronco Sport Shines at Bronco Off-Roadeo Facility in Moab
More capable off-road than you might expect
Moab, Utah, is known for its breathtaking scenery and unpaved trails. It may be considered the mecca for off-roading in the United States, so when Ford invited us to sample the Moab outpost of its off-road training program — suitably called Bronco Off-Roadeo — we immediately accepted. I’ve read plenty of articles, watched videos and heard stories about the fascinating adventures you're bound to have in this slice of paradise just outside Arches National Park, but none can compare to being there and experiencing it all firsthand.
We test out the Bronco Sport Badlands' capabilities
Currently, only a certain subset of Ford buyers can participate in the Off-Rodeo program. According to the Bronco Off-Rodeo website, current owners of a 2021 or newer Bronco, 2021 or 2022 Bronco Sport Badlands, or any 2023 Bronco Sport may be eligible to attend. The program is free to attend (aside from a $50 reservation fee), but there are some exclusions. Owners of eligible 2021 or 2022 model year vehicles, for instance, must attend by December 31 of this year. Make sure to check out broncooffroadeo.com for more information.
For this program, Ford handed me the keys to a Bronco Sport Badlands. For those unaware, the Badlands is the highest trim available for the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport — excluding the special Heritage Limited variant. The Badlands comes equipped with an array of off-roading features, plus a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. (All other trims except the Heritage Limited come with a turbocharged three-cylinder.)The Bronco Sport performed exceptionally well during our experience. Our route was specifically curated for the Bronco Sport and the varying terrain we covered had considerable complexity, enabling us to actually challenge the vehicle’s capabilities. We traversed dirt and rocky roads, sand, steep hills and a few boulders. Crossing these distinct terrains allowed us to utilize the Bronco's different GOAT (for "goes over any type of terrain") modes. The modes in the Badlands are Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. During the drive we employed all except for Slippery. There were instances where you could hear the engine pushing hard to continue, but nothing to indicate true weariness. We also locked the rear differential several times to get up and through some obstacles. Approach and departure angles were generous enough to clear the hills on the course. Most were 30 degrees or less, which we ascended and descended with ease. Overall, the GOAT modes and 4WD system functioned effectively, and the Bronco Sport proved to be adept at off-roading on this course.
The Off-Roadeo is a fantastic program to experience
The Off-Roadeo was genuinely a terrific experience. Aside from having fun off-roading in this beautiful location, there are also Off-Rodeo facilities near Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; and Concord, New Hampshire. The program is designed to be informative, inspiring and curated so everyone has fun regardless of skill level. Guides share important information about off-roading, the vehicles and the surrounding terrain. From the mechanical aspects of the vehicle to proper and safe ways to off-road, this program ensures you learn in the midst of it all. Every detail shared by the instructors was valuable, for beginners or veterans, as we drove across various topography. We covered obstacles on a number of occasions, giving each driver the opportunity to practice and improve his or her skills.
The trails we traveled offered us a stunning panorama of Moab. We were able to see caves, huge sedimentary rocks and the arches from a different perspective than the average tourist. Every view was impressive. Before starting, and even along the way, there was a huge emphasis on safety and the preservation of the trails. We learned about trail closures, the importance of respecting the land, and overall off-roading trail etiquette. As we finished our excursion full of wondrous sightseeing and four-wheeling, I felt like the knowledge I gained really put this experience over the top.
The Off-Roadeo is something special. Kudos to everyone involved in this program. They have created something that can produce a memorable experience as it did with me. I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who qualifies for it. We asked a few Ford representatives if this program would ever become available to non-Bronco owners, or even non-Ford owners, and they said it was definitely something being considered for the future. We surely hope so.