The other day, I had a unique opportunity to take an extended test drive (about 3 hours) of this 4-dr OBX in Carbonized Gray with 2.7L Lux Roast Leather Soft Top. It has been upfitted with the Stage 1 package that 4WP is offering which includes a 2" lift, 35" Mickey Thompson Baja Boss tires on 17" Method wheels, and spare tire relocation bracket. As you can see, the tires/wheels/lift changes the presence of the OBX Bronco over the stock configuration.
As many of you know, I have professed my love for the 2-dr Bronco. I'm still on Team Two Door, but I would be lying if I wasn't...
A few quick observations about the 4-dr and this build in general:
- The 4-dr needs the Sasquatch package or a similar upfitting that can accommodate upgraded wheels/tires. It changes the proportion and appearance. 32" and smaller tires and the Bronco looks mundane.
- While the Sasquatch package is a tremendous value, there are other options to achieve the improved height/stance that will suit most people's use. Not everyone will be driving off road in difficult conditions. For those who just want the appearance while maintaining the stock capability, there are options that will accommodate those driver's needs.
- Going with the Stage 1 package retains the standard painted flares and the tires/wheels exhibit a little poke.
- The Carbonized Gray in the Florida sun really shined to what looked like Iconic Silver, but in the shade, it reverted to it's expected color. The carbonized gray while it may be viewed as a boring color really surprised me with the dynamic metal flake. Also, it tied together the shiny black grill and the other black components (modular bumper, wheels, B-pillar).
- The Roast Leather was a surprise. It has always seemed to have an orange tone in the pictures and the dash (IP) having a metallic bronze tone. The brown leather was much darker and gave a rich look/feel to the interior.
- This had the Lux with B&O sound system and I felt it sounded great with the top down the entire time. I'm not an audiophile, but to me the B&O is a much improved upgrade from the standard system.
- Also, there was no noticeable hum from the tires on the road surface with the top down - not sure if that is attributed to the additional sound deadening included in the Lux.
- If you are intending to go big, plan on a way to mitigate the step in/out. I've been critical of the factory steps that are included on the OBX. I don't like the appearance of them. I'm 6' and I'm glad this rig had them. On 35's with the lift, it would have been a pain in the ass to get in/out without the steps.
For the test drive, I didn't want to just take it on a straight road at a higher speed. I chose the Ravine Gardens State Park for the road course. It is a unique geological feature where elevation is a struggle to find in Florida. There is a steep ravine that is surrounded by single lane one-way road course that consists of steep declines with sharply curved turns and switchbacks. I first drove the loop to locate pedestrians (popular with local residents for exercise) and any rangers/staff that would be working the trails. The coast was clear. I was in sport mode the entire time and proceeded to run the course like a slalom skier. It was exhilarating with it's handling. I ran the same loop a few times stopping off here/there to take photos of the natural surroundings.
Knowing that I wasn't going to take it off road during the test drive, I still wanted to experience how it handled uneven surfaces at higher speeds. Palatka is an old city with many brick paved roads. They are expensive roads to maintain and being historical in nature, the city can't just pave over the bricks. And they can't justify the cost to maintain them as they should be so often the answer is to divert traffic off them and these historical streets often fall further in disrepair as they don't receive the use to justify the maintenance. There is such a road called Madison Ave. in Palatka that runs parallel with the main through-fare (Reid St.), but there are no stop signs in the one direction of travel. It begins down by Palatka Historical Society and the Bronson-Mulholland House.
Madison Ave is brick paved the entire distance and is in terrible shape with dips and holes. It has a lower speed limit but that is usually determined by the fact that a vehicle can't travel over the road surface except at a slow speed to avoid damage. After seeing the KoH and Moab ride-alongs, I knew the Bronco could handle the road. It was more a matter if I could. I kept it in sport mode and tore down road and the entire time, the Bronco just absorbed every dip, bump, hole and it felt like I was floating on a cloud.
One other note that I failed to mention. People don't like the nannies, but I'm glad the Bronco had BLIS sensors. The Backup camera is not completely accurate especially on the periphery. If you backup straight, then it is fine. But if backing up while turning, the distance on objects on the periphery of the radius seemed to be farther away than actual. The BLIS sensors did their job with alerting me and not trusting the camera by itself. You can see in the picture below that the small stream was almost backed into for it's photo op.
Just 1 of many murals in this town.
Looking good at the boat launch on the St. Johns river.