What Are The Differences Between The Ford Bronco And 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. 

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, Automotive Editor - July 20, 2020

Off-roading enthusiasts have been waiting decades for Ford to revive the Bronco name. While it’s been a long, long wait, it’s certainly been worth it, as the American automaker introduced two distinct SUVs under the iconic nameplate that put off-roading first. In case you’ve decided to stay off the Internet this week, those two SUVs are the Bronco and Bronco Sport. While both wear the Bronco name and were unveiled on the same day, they’re two entirely different vehicles. Let’s take a quick look at how these two vehicles differ from one another.


The main thing that separates the Bronco and the Bronco Sport is size. The Bronco Sport is a compact SUV, while the Bronco is a midsize one. Since the Bronco’s bigger, it comes with bigger, more powerful engines. Let’s start with the Bronco.

The standard engine in the Bronco is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine is available that’s rated ta 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions for the Bronco include a seven-speed manual and a 10-speed automatic.

Being the smaller vehicle, the Bronco Sport comes with smaller, less powerful engines. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque is standard. If you’re looking for more pep, you can move up to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Only one engine is available in the Bronco Sport and it’s an eight-speed automatic.


Both the Bronco and the Bronco Sport share a lot of styling elements from the original Bronco from the ‘60s. The larger Bronco shares more of the old Bronco’s design and overall shape, though. But any similarities to the original SUV are superficial.

Ford will offer the Bronco in two- and four-door body styles. Both variants of the SUV have removable roofs and doors. You won’t find removable doors on the Bronco Sport, as that’s more of a conventional SUV. The smaller vehicle of the two is only available in one four-door configuration, too. Size-wise, the Bronco Sport is roughly only one inch shorter in length than the two-door Bronco. The four-door Bronco is larger in every metric compared to the Bronco Sport.

Chunkier, more rugged, and wider, the Bronco looks like a true off-roader. The Bronco Sport is much tamer, and wouldn’t look out of place at a Starbucks parking lot. It was clearly designed with the intention of being the more road-friendly vehicle of the two, while the Bronco was penned from the get-go to be a pure off-roader with short overhangs, chunky fenders, and massive tires.

The interiors of the two SUVs are similar, but it’s the Bronco that wears a more modern design. In the larger Bronco, the touchscreen is integrated directly into the dashboard and the styling of the switchgear gives it a more high-tech look. The Bronco also has more unique interior touches to make off-roading more enjoyable, as it comes with attachment points that are built into the instrument panel to mount phones or cameras, available washable rubberized floors with integrated drains, available marine-grade vinyl upholstery, seamless silicone rubber dash-mounted switches, and six available silicone-sealed upfitter switches.

The interior of the Bronco Sport looks like any regular compact SUV. It features a tablet-style touchscreen, a rotary knob for the automatic transmission, and a more traditional center console layout. The compact SUV offers available easy-to-clean cloth upholstery, available washable rubber flooring, and silicone-sealed control switches. An available storage bin below the second-row passenger-side seat will help consumers keep dirty gear away from the rest of the cabin.

Ford Bronco Family

Off-Road Readiness

Both the Bronco and Bronco Sport come with standard all-wheel drive, but the systems themselves differ. With the Bronco, consumers get a two-speed transfer case and available front and rear locking differentials. The Bronco Sport’s system utilizes two clutches on the rear differential to engage four-wheel drive. The clutches also simulate a locking differential. If you plan to go off-roading, the Bronco’s traditional all-wheel-drive system and available differentials give it a major advantage over the Bronco Sport.

The two SUVs also have different suspension setups. Both the Bronco and the Bronco Sport utilize independent suspension, but unlike the Bronco Sport, the larger Bronco has a solid axle at the back. It might seem like a small difference, but the distinction will make the Bronco more capable off-road, while the Bronco Sport will be easier to live with on a daily basis on-road.

Further helping the Bronco’s case off-road are 11.6 inches of maximum ground clearance compared to the Bronco Sport’s 8.8 inches of ground clearance. The extra few inches come from available 35-inch tires on the Bronco, with the largest available tires on the Bronco Sport measuring in at 29 inches. Water fording is also in the Bronco’s favor, as the large SUV can wade through 33.5 inches of water, while the Bronco Sport can only wade through 23.6 inches of water.

Both SUVs usher in Ford’s new G.O.A.T (goes over any terrain) modes, but the Bronco has one additional mode. Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl modes are offered on both SUVs. The Bronco gets an additional Baja mode. Ford offers its Trail Control system, which is an off-road cruise control system, on both SUVs, but the Bronco also gets Trail Turn Assist. Thanks to torque vectoring, the Bronco’s turning radius is narrowed and drivers can take advantage of a one-pedal driving feature when off-roading with the additional feature.


The larger, more capable Bronco is the more expensive SUV – no surprises there – though the difference in pricing compared to the Bronco Sport may surprise some. The two-door Bronco starts at $29,995 (including destination), while the four-door model starts at $34,695. The Bronco Sport carries a starting price tag of $28,155. At the top end of the range, the Bronco is priced at $64,995, with the most expensive Bronco Sport being priced at $39,995.

For consumers that expect to go off-roading on a regular basis, the Bronco is the easy choice. It’s just so much more capable than the Bronco Sport and comes with unique attributes, like being able to remove the doors and roof, more off-roading features, and better off-roading design elements that should make it more enjoyable when the going gets rough. If you only plan to go off-roading occasionally, but still want something rugged, the Bronco Sport is a great option in the compact class. It should immediately become one of the more capable SUVs in the segment, but it’s just a little ways away from encroaching on the Bronco’s territory.

Learn more about the 2021 Ford Bronco »

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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