Not only has Ford finally pulled the wraps off its long-awaited revival of the Bronco (and added a first-ever four-door Bronco to boot), it’s also giving its all-new off-road-ready compact SUV a smaller sibling. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport aims to deliver the same kind of all-terrain ruggedness, functionality, and attitude of its big brother in a slightly tidier, more affordable package.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
The Bronco Sport comes solely as a four-door, and measures 172.7 inches long overall on a 105.1-inch wheelbase. That’s about 17 inches shorter than the Bronco four-door, and about as long as a Kia Seltos or Nissan Rogue Sport—two crossover SUVs that sit at the large end of our subcompact SUV class. Ford says the Bronco Sport’s headroom is best-in-class in both the first and second rows, and boasts that when the rear seats are folded down, the cargo area is tall enough to hold two 27.5-inch mountain bikes (with the front tires removed) when equipped with the available Yakima dealer-installed bike carrier accessory.
Bronco Sport trim levels share their names with their larger Bronco counterparts. Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks models are powered by a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 3-cylinder that makes an estimated 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque; the Badlands and limited-production First Edition models get a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes an estimated 245 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the Badlands and First Edition get steering-wheel shift paddles. As with the larger Bronco, 4-wheel drive is standard on all models.
All Bronco Sports have an independent front and rear suspension, but the Badlands and First Edition models get uniquely tuned front struts, upgraded rear shocks, and other off-road-oriented special tuning. Also exclusive to the Badlands and First Edition is an advanced 4×4 system equipped with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential-lock feature.
The Bronco Sport’s Terrain Management System features driver-selectable G.O.A.T. Modes (G.O.A.T. is an acronym for “goes over any type of terrain”). Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand are the standard modes; Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes are added in the Badlands and First Edition models, which are also equipped with a Trail Control feature (essentially cruise control for low-speed trail driving).
Badlands and First Edition models also get standard front tow hooks, rubberized flooring for easier cleaning, steel bash plates to protect undercarriage components, a 180-degree front off-road camera with lens washer, and all-terrain tires. Adventure-ready standard or available features include a slide-out working table in the cargo area, LED floodlamps in the liftgate that illuminate up to 129 square feet around the rear of the vehicle, and a bin housed in the passenger-side rear seat bottom for stowing wet or dirty items. There’s even a standard bottle opener built into the rear cargo area, and available lifestyle accessory bundles themed Bike, Snow, Water, and Camping (though Ford didn’t mention specifically what was in those bundles).
The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety features is standard across the lineup. Base pricing (with destination included) starts at $28,155 for the Base Bronco Sport and runs up to $39,995 for the line-topping, limited-production First Edition model; Ford will provide detailed pricing information closer to the launch date. Reservations for the Bronco Sport can be made for $100 at ford.com. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is slated to arrive in dealerships in late 2020.
The revived Ford Bronco is aimed squarely at the Jeep Wrangler, and the Bronco Sport is targeting the Jeep Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee–and will likely nab a few Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road shoppers as well. We’d say Ford has another hit on its hands here–even for those buyers who don’t take full advantage of its off-road capabilities, the Bronco Sport’s expressive, retro-themed styling and innovative available features help it stand out from the pack.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport