Ford Bronco Black Diamond Interior Review

The new Ford Bronco comes in a whole host of flavors: two-door and four-door, then distinct trim levels ranging from the Base to the newly revealed Bronco Raptor. This lets you choose from a stripped-down, rugged off-roader to a reasonably comfortable daily driver with a full menu of convenience features and functionality at your fingertips. Right in the middle of this pack is the Black Diamond trim, with a standard locking rear differential, steel bumpers, rock rails, skid plates, plenty of ride modes and an easily washable interior. This rugged Bronco, starting at $37,945 for the two-door and $40,290 for the four-door, is ready to hit the track. We’ve written about driving the Bronco, including off-road, but you might be wondering what it looks like inside the vehicle.

Well, come in.

We recommend using the built-in grab handles on either side of the dash to help you pull yourself up inside the mighty Bronco. There is no Jeep-style “Oh s***!” helm directly in front of the passenger, but there’s another grab handle for the co-driver’s left hand under the center console, with some nice blue accents to help locate it quickly.

Rightly, Ford expects you to get this thing dirty, especially if you hit a dusty trail with the roof and/or doors off. As such, this Bronco features “marine-grade” vinyl seats, which are designed to be easy to wipe down. They do not claim to be leather in any way. They are smooth and rubbery. They’re not uncomfortable, but they feel more accommodating with rough denim jeans than with dress pants. This Bronco was black edged in gray. The rearing horse embossed on the seat backs reminds you of what you are about to drive.

Likewise, the designers rightly anticipated that the floors would also become dirty. The rubberized floors even have drain plugs through which you can empty the mud, snow and sand that will inevitably seep inside. Just a quick and easy twist, and they’re open – there are no childproof tricks or obstacles to thwart you. If this were any other car it would be a little unsettling to be able to see the pavement between your feet but anyone who has had to get into their vehicle straight from a mud puddle or whose child spilled an entire bottle of milk on the floor will immediately appreciate the ability to let gravity do the heavy lifting.

Although it’s a historic nameplate with rugged utility, the Bronco offers modern amenities. Take, for example, the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, as well as the 8-inch driver display, it doesn’t have to be digital but it is. Ford may be returning to its off-road roots with the Bronco, but you don’t have to be a complete Luddite to enjoy it, or live in a futuristic never-never land.

Besides the displays, analog is the name of the game. You gotta love the rotating dials and hard buttons for the audio controls. You need to be able to quickly cut out that terrible Aerosmith song playing on the radio when you’re trying to focus on the trail through dust and mosquitoes. Nobody should put up with that. The hard buttons for the climate controls – and the heated seats – are also appreciated. Underneath is a phone-sized storage compartment with a 12-volt outlet, as well as a USB and USB-C port.

Surrounding your precious beverage storage are a few neat focal points. GOAT modes and 4WD settings are easily accessible and manipulated. There’s also a small, smooth plaque, the type usually reserved for special-edition vehicles, which gives the Bronco’s interior a special, personal touch.

Gotta love the steering wheel controls, but here the rubbery coating feels almost too soft and loose, like they’ve seen years of use already. They are reminiscent of those on some budget GM products. The Chevrolet Cruze comes to mind (RIP).

Hard plastic with simple patterns and graphics are to be expected in your hardcore off-roader. The handle on the door panel is sturdy and tactile, and we’re again reminded of the branding on the dash in front of the front passenger seat. This stuff feels like it could take repeated beatings and still hold up over time.

Even if you never use the locker or connect anything to the auxiliary switches, the mere presence of their controls on top of the dash and on the upper cabin, respectively, tells you the Bronco’s dedication to its all- ground. The big rubbery knobs on top of the dash are especially fun to manipulate. It’s as if they’re inviting you to push this utility into precarious off-road situations just so you can seriously squeeze them. Additionally, the mostly level top of the dash, with split depressions, appears to be designed to hold personal items in place. Indeed, the surface serves as a thin place to fix your kung pao while you snack on a quick meal in your kid’s school parking lot trail maps and walkie-talkies.

There are a few quirks needed in a vehicle with removable doors. Much like a Jeep Wrangler, some electronic controls typically found on an armrest or exterior door panel are moved farther inside. In this case, the window controls are in the front of the center console storage bin and are oriented so that they appear upside down when viewed from the front, but are easier to understand and operate from either front seat. Likewise, the side mirror controls are upside down next to them. The rear passenger window controls are on the rear of the center console bin, just above the rear USB ports and three-prong inverter socket.

Do you like storage nets? Robust, right? You can also attach objects to the back of the front seats using the Molle plastic grids above this net.

The rear seat cushions are angled upwards rather severely. This makes installing a child car seat interesting. There are correct enough room for a 6-foot rider to sit comfortably in front of a rear-facing seat if you turn the manual seat adjustments up a notch or two.

Finally, we reach the loading area. It’s a nice, flat, even cargo area behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seats. There’s built-in lighting and a 12-volt socket, plus a little cutout in the side that would be a great place to store a bottle opener for the beer you’ll be opening once you get home after a long day on the trail. Check out Riswick’s Bronco Luggage Test to see how much you can fit.

You must also like the body-color interior D-pillars to remind you that this is happy to shed its outer layer and play in the bare dirt.

And of course, let’s not forget the removable roof panels. Large, thick handles are easy to use, even when wearing gloves. To be pray.

And, no, roof panels don’t do much to keep noise out of the cabin, if that’s something you care about.

The interior of the Bronco Black Diamond isn’t meant to be a haven to isolate you perfectly from the discomforts of the trail. It’s meant to be used and abused, to serve as a platform to help you get off the beaten path – with or without protection from the elements – and back in one piece. That it does this without completely giving up the practical comfort you’d want to use in your daily driving duties is great. That it’s not too much lots of content (and the overhead that comes with it) is also a plus.

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Betty K. Park