The Bronco Sport will enter the compact SUV segment swinging.
Pricing starts at $32,199 in Canada, $26,660 in the US.
It is going to be immensely popular.
The all-new Ford Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport have created serious waves in the automotive world since their official reveal just over a month ago. We’ve now had a chance to get a little more familiar with the Bronco Sport and we are convinced it is a winner.
The Ford Bronco celebrated its 55th anniversary on August 11th and for all intents and purposes, it was probably its most significant birthday. The new Bronco and Bronco Sport are poised to take their respective SUV segments by storm, if only based on specs, images, and video. As auto-critics, we generally take a manufacturer’s word about their product with a grain of salt, this time, we’re on board.
Before going on about the new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, here’s a bit of trivia. The “Bronco” project was greenlighted in 1963 by Lee Iaccoca. Even back then, before the Bronco was built, the term G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) had already been coined. And here is another tasty morsel: Before the 4-wheeler got its name, the shortlist of potential names included Wrangler…
Fast-forward to 2020 and Ford invited us to their Canadian headquarters in Oakville, ON, to get up-close and personal with the new Bronco Sport. I happened to be driving a 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid this week, so off I went on a 1,200 km road trip.
As I approached the compound, I was greeted by a cyber-yellow 2021 Bronco Sport Badlands. I immediately made my way to it and suffice it to say that Ford’s hit a visual grand-slam. In the steel, the Bronco Sport is taller and longer than expected, but also narrower. Had it been parked next to a Bronco, the contrast would have been akin to an EcoSport alongside an Expedition Max.
Despite this, the Bronco Sport has huge presence, much of it comes from the one-piece grille with circular headlamps and the bumper being visually separated from the grille. The standard roof rack also plays a role in making onlookers take the SUV seriously. The unapologetically Land Rover-inspired overall shape, with its hood high peak points for off-roading, rising beltline, and generally flat and straight surfaces really works.
The Bronco Sport will not become just another SUV in the sea of compact offerings as it embraces its true SUV/truck roots, unlike many of its competitors. Onboard, Ford’s delivered a similar “truck” experience. The upright dashboard’s a mix between what we find in a Ford F-150 with Escape elements. Its ergonomics are straightforward and I love the storage bin between the touchscreen and HVAC controls – it is a superb addition to the roomy lower compartment.
With the exception, once more, of the door cards, which Ford struggles with, materials, design, and functionality seem quite good. The top-line Badlands is appointed with leather and suede inserts for a luxurious finish. The seatback pockets are two-tone for an unexpectedly premium and rugged look, and if you look carefully, you’ll find a secret storage compartment below the rear passenger seat. The Big Bend’s two-tone cloth seats appear comfortable and almost equally premium. To summarize, with the exception of the frustrating rotary shift dial (done to free up space), the cabin is brilliant.
Frankly, my biggest concern for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the fact that the 1.5-litre EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine will be the only engine offered in all trims save for the Badlands. While it produces decent power and performance, it’s far from economical and its inherent NVH is terrible.
Even so, it’s been just shy of 25 years since Ford pulled the plug on the Bronco but the return of the 2- and 4-door versions, as well as the Sport, will make the gap seem like it was no more than 25 minutes. Ford has reignited the Bronco flame with its “Built Wild” catchphrase and will constantly feed it. At launch, there will be no fewer than 100 factory-backed accessories for both Bronco. But don’t think the Sport will somehow be overlooked! The standard roof rack was designed to fit a tent, and that from the base model.
The Ford Bronco has appeared in over 1,200 movies over the last 55 years and it is safe to assume it will be spotted in many more in the future. Most of them will probably be of the 2- or 4-door variety and that’s because this truck is an adventure. The Bronco Sport, meanwhile, will take you to the adventure.
Finally, here are a few other pieces of information. Ford expects that the Bronco will charm males predominantly while the Bronco Sport should see a near 50/50 mix. It will fight off the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Cherokee, Hyundai Tucson, and, admittedly, the Ford Escape. Although the latter may lose a few sales to the Bronco Sport, Ford ultimately wins as this SUV will surely conquer many new to the brand buyers.
The Canadian price structure is as follows: The Bronco Sport Base starts at $32,199. The Big Bend, the version expected to represent the highest take rate, goes for $34,199. The Outer Banks will be priced from $37,699 and finally, the immeasurably cool Badlands, the 2.0-litre engine, twin-clutch rear-drive unit, and raised suspension will be $40,199.