2021 Ford Bronco Sport Ready For The Outdoors

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - July 15, 2020

While the 2021 Ford Bronco may be stealing all of the attention and selling out in less than a day, Ford also unveiled the Bronco Sport at the same time. Take one look at the Bronco, and you might be compelled to write the Bronco Sport off. Don’t be so quick to do that. Sure, the Bronco Sport isn’t as capable as the Bronco when it comes to off-roading, but it’s more than capable enough for the majority of consumers, has a look that’s inspired by the original Bronco, and has the right dimensions to compete in the hot subcompact segment. In other words, there’s a lot the baby Bronco Sport gets right.

If you look at what separates the Bronco and the Bronco Sport, the most obvious one is size. The Bronco is directly aimed at options like the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner, while the Bronco Sport is more of a competitor for the Jeep Renegade and Compass. If you’re looking to compare the Bronco Sport to a vehicle in Ford’s lineup, the closest one would be the Escape, since both crossovers utilize the same platform. As such, the Bronco Sport is smaller in every measure compared to the two-door Bronco.

Being the smaller vehicle, the Bronco Sport comes with engines that aren’t as powerful as its larger counterpart. The standard engine with the compact SUV is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque is optional. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are available throughout the entire Bronco Sport range. For the record, the Bronco’s base engine is rated at 270 hp and the available motor is rated at 310 hp. Unlike the Bronco Sport, the Bronco is available with a manual transmission.

Ford Bronco Sport

Just like the bigger Bronco, the Bronco Sport comes with Ford’s terrain management system that has configurable G.O.A.T modes. The system adjusts various things, including engine response, transmission, traction control, and differential to give drivers maximum grip over various types of terrain. Higher trim levels, like the Badlands come with a more complex four-wheel-drive system that simulates a locked differential. When it comes to drive modes, lower trims have Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery, and Sand to choose from. The Badlands trim adds Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes to the roster.

Further helping the Bronco Sport with its off-roading cred is Ford’s available Trail Control system that acts as a cruise control system when off-roading. For consumers that don’t want to worry about controlling the throttle and brake pedal when off-roading, the system helps them keep their hands on the wheel at all time. The off-road-oriented Badlands trim comes with 28.5-inch tires, which helps give the model 8.8 inches of ground clearance – an additional inch over the base trim.

So, the Bronco Sport and the Bronco may share a nameplate, but they’re two separate vehicles that are designed for separate consumers. Ford is very happy to point toward the compact SUV’s safari-style roof that gives the cargo area enough height to carry two standing 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes with the available Yakima bike rack accessory. That’s just one of the roughly 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories that will be available on the Bronco Sport. Four accessory bundles – Bike, Snow, Water, and Camping – will also be available, though the automaker doesn’t state what’s included with those bundles.

On the inside, it’s easy to see that the Bronco Sport focuses on putting off-roading first. The majority of trims come with cloth upholstery, though leather upholstery is available on higher trim levels. For easier cleanup, a rubberized floor, easy-to-clean upholstery, and silicone-sealed control switches are also available. If you want to keep your car clean on an adventure, a storage bin below the second-row passenger-side seat is available. The rear glass on the tailgate opens separately from the unit, too, making it easier to access storage in the cargo area.

Pricing for the Bronco Sport starts at $28,155 including destination, which is only $1,840 cheaper than the two-door Bronco. That’s a lot more than its competitors, too, as the Compass starts at $23,775. Clearly, the Bronco Sport is supposed to be the comfier, better well-equipped, and more useable SUV for everyday use compared to the larger Bronco. But it’s still plenty capable for regular off-road adventures. Just don’t expect to keep up with a Bronco when the going gets really tough.

Learn more about the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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