I was agnostic back I heard about the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. Anticipation for the Ford Bronco has been architecture for years, from the rumor comminute to hints to acceptance of a Jeep Wrangler adversary about to appear from Ford, accessible to antic cutting a archetypal nameplate. Back the absolute Bronco was assuredly unveiled, so too were capacity about the Bronco Sport, a absolutely altered animal. While Bronco will ride on a new, committed belvedere advised for off-road prowess, Bronco Sport shares a belvedere with the accustomed Ford Escape, while borrowing some administration cues from Bronco. This would not be a Wrangler roper; instead, it is advised to be a Compass competitor.
When I was arrive to drive the Bronco Sport at a new off-road esplanade in Holly, Michigan, I bound to put my skepticism aside, and to adjudicator the new bunched crossover on its own merits.
Ford Bronco Sport family.
Bronco Sport shares few, if any, architecture similarities with Escape, admitting any automated likenesses below the skin. Bronco Sport has a abundant look, a avant-garde awakening feel that wouldn’t be out of abode in the Land Rover lineup. A actual abbreviate advanced overhang and a abbreviate rear overhang bear acceptable access and abandonment angles. The alpine fender wells and tucked-in anatomy abandon are advised for aisle driving, with basal beautification to bolt on obstructions and brush. Seventeen-inch auto with all-season radials are the base; 17-inch and 18-inch auto with able-bodied all-terrain tires are an upgrade. The advanced end helps tie in the Sport with its big brother Bronco, as does the rear elevation. Bold white book on the advanced grille and tailgate advertise the vehicle’s name as “BRONCO,” while a abate addition admits “SPORT.” The Ford dejected egg-shaped alone appears already on the exterior, a alluringly bashful brand on the tailgate.
Bronco Sport dashboard.
Inside, Bronco Sport is alluringly asperous and uncluttered. An eight-inch infotainment awning sits appreciative on the top of the centermost stack. The advanced cabin’s accumulator compartments, including big aperture pockets, assorted cubbies, and covered storage, are ideal for allocation accessories and tools. Base models appear with bashful bolt seats and rubberized floors, and abstracts footfall up to adapted bolt to covering trim, all after accepting too adorned to advance some off-road cred. If you’re a bicyclist, you’ll be animated to apperceive that the burden amplitude has been advised and engineered to be aerial abundant to authority two 27.5-inch caster abundance bikes.
The roof is rated to authority up to 150 lbs (100 with moonroof). If you can’t fit all the clutter central or on top of your Bronco, the 2.0-liter will tow up 2,200 lbs and the 1.5-liter can annoyance 2,000 lbs. The burden authority reveals added acute thinking. The baby rear bottle redeems itself by flipping up, a absent art. An alternative burden administration amalgamation adds a slide-out assignment table, a 400-watt inverter, and liftgate floodlamps.
Bronco Sport added row.
Bronco Sport comes in bristles trim levels: Base (starting at $26,660); Big Bend (starting at $28,160); Outer Banks (starting at $32,160); Badlands (starting at $32,660); and First Edition (production bound to 2,000 examples, starting at $38,160). Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks models appear with a turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder gasoline direct-injection agent putting out 181 application and 190 lb-ft of torque. Badlands and First Edition get a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder bearing 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. All Bronco Sport models appear with an eight-speed automated manual and all-wheel drive.
G.O.A.T. modes dial.
Speaking of all-wheel drive, the Clever Acronyms Team (or the CAT, an abstract analysis of Ford) has formed out addition doozy: G.O.A.T., which stands for “Go Over Any Type of Terrain.” Not to be picky, CAT, but that leaves out “of Terrain” from the acronym, affectionate of abandoning your effort. But I digress. The G.O.A.T. modes abode an absorbing akin of tech absolute in the breadth administration arrangement on the Bronco Sport. Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks models get bristles drive modes: Normal; Eco; Sport; Slippery; and Sand. Badlands and First Edition models add Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes to the list. These modes set the adapted steering, transmission, and burke acknowledgment settings for the driver-selected condition. Abeyance settings are not electronically adjustable on the Bronco Sport. The accessible aisle ascendancy technology adds added advice in off-roading, enabling a cruise-control-like affection that operates at up to 20 mph advanced and 6 mph in reverse, acceptance the disciplinarian to apply on council and abyssal the trail.
Bronco Sport burden area, added row folded.
Bronco Sport was a affable abruptness off-road, breadth its abbreviate wheelbase (105.1 inches), four-wheel absolute abeyance (MacPherson struts front/double crabbed articulation rear with balance confined at anniversary end), acceptable abeyance biking (7.4 inches front/8.1 inches rear), and appropriate arena approval (7.8 – 8.8 inches, depending on annoy and caster size) fabricated for drama-free crawls about the off-road park.
I additionally spent some time active on a array of accessible anchorage in the Holly area, including some clay and alluvium trails. I breach my time amid an Outer Banks archetypal with the 1.5-liter engine, and a Badlands archetypal with the 2.0-liter. On the road, breadth I doubtable best Bronco Sport models will absorb the majority of their operating lives, I adopted the 2.0-liter upper-trim akin model. The bigger (though still small) agent akin the Bronco Sport well, with abundant ability in assets to feel unstressed during dispatch and merging. The 1.5-liter agent is absolutely acceptable for burghal duty, but feels a little thrashy back pushed. Off-road, ironically, the aberration amid engines is abundant beneath of an issue, but the added two G.O.A.T. modes (Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl) are a benefit with the 2.0.
Signature headlight detail.
I had a brace of accessory quibbles with Bronco Sport. I admired I could accompany the driver’s bench up college for a bigger appearance over the awning during off-roading. I’m 6’2”-tall, and I had affluence of arch room, but couldn’t get the appropriate basement position. Outward afterimage was catchy at stoplights, as the continued advanced roofline fabricated it arduous to see cartage lights if I chock-full in the arch positions. Again, an affair with disciplinarian height.
All in all, my agnostic attributes remained in analysis throughout my appraisal of Bronco Sport, and I came abroad afflicted and entertained by the assuming newcomer. I’d accept to admeasurement it adjoin the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road, and Land Rover Discovery Sport afore authoritative a affairs decision.
Bronco Sport spraying some sand.
I’m still attractive advanced to the Ford Bronco, the agent I’m best aflame about for 2021. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport outperformed my expectations so able-bodied that I won’t accept to assignment adamantine to acclimatized my skepticism back I assuredly get to drive its big brother.