By on March 9, 2020


2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Ford’s effort to generate two streams of customers for its Escape compact crossover by splitting the model into two nameplates, each with a distinct persona, is well underway, with the brawnier of the two bound for an April debut.

Unofficially, that debut is today, as leaked images have hit the web of an unclothed Bronco Sport, aka “Baby Bronco.”

The images come by way of revealing for the second time a boxier take on the new-for-2020 Escape. Images that surfaced in late 2018 showed a similar vehicle, though these pics of a pre-production model show Ford’s decision to more prominently display the model’s name. Note the use of BRONCO in place of a grille-centering FORD or a traditional Blue Oval badge.

Outback, it’s more of the same, though the “Sport” tags along here (albeit with smaller lettering).

Riding atop the same platform as its Escape sibling, the Bronco Sport will undoubtedly reach deep into that same parts bin for its propulsion. Expect a base 1.5-liter three-cylinder and uplevel 2.0-liter turbo-four; the Escape’s hybrid variants might not provide the image the Bronco Sport wants to get across.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport


Boxier, upright, and considerably more slab-sided than the Escape, the Bronco Sport seems to aim purposely for better front and rear departure angles. Its ride height seems greater than that of an Escape, too. Given its nameplate, Ford will want to endow the model with more than just butchier looks and two-tone paint.

I’m not the only TTAC writer who thinks this thing harkens back to the second-generation Escape (2008-2012), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Land Rover Freelander came up in conversation, as well. While the round headlamps’ retro vibe is somewhat tempered by their large expanse of protective plastic, which looks awkward when viewed at an angle, the overall look is miles away from the Focus-on-steroids face of the Escape.


Outback, it seems the Bronco Sport received as much peer pressure from its namesake sibling as the Explorer. The tail lamps look an odd fit.

The actual Bronco is scheduled for a public debut this month, followed soon after by the similar-in-name-only Bronco Sport. The smaller of the two vehicles goes on sale first, arriving in dealerships late this year.

[Images: FullSizeBronco]

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50 Comments on “Escape II: Ford’s Bronco Sport Leaked...”

  • avatar

    I think it looks fantastic from the front and the side, but the back is tacky. The badging is much too big and those taillights are so boring and Explorer-y. Also the fact that this is no off-roader is a shame. But I bet this is gonna sell in droves.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe its just me, but I think the placement of the “SPORT” in such large lettering, centered, and directly below “Bronco” is truly horrendous and looks completely out of place. I had to do a double take to see if that was real badging or if the picture was actually edited so that we would know we were looking at the sport version vs the full sized version.

      Its not bad, nothing to get too excited about though either.

  • avatar

    How is that even remotely Sport?
    Stupid names on stupid vehicles.

    Also is that CHMSL not on the large side?
    I feel like it should be half the current height.
    But bigger and chunkier is manlier! I NEED MY MANTRUCK WITH MANLIGHTS!

    • 0 avatar

      Cactus one.

      My thoughts exactly. Massive CHMSL.

      Rest of the car is NOT good.

      I ll have to see it inperson.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know where you’ve been for the last twenty years or so, but it’s been a long time since the “Sport” label has meant anything other than “the cheap or less capable version” of a particular model. Expecting a Sport trim to mean that it’s actually sporty in some way is a relic of the 1990s or perhaps further back. Prove me wrong.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m well aware, FLFF :)

        Most automakers will write Sport on a brochure or website as a trim level, but you don’t get the stupid badge that goes with it.

        But for the Bronco Ford went extra-stupid by slapping a Sport logo on the tailgate.

        I shouldn’t be surprised, this is from the same company that brought us the EcoSport…

      • 0 avatar

        For Jeep, “Sport” means stripped down and ready to rumble. For everyone else, it simply means “base.”

    • 0 avatar

      It is Sport, Sport Utility.

  • avatar

    With a good all-wheel drive system, it would be a nice Subaru-like “sport-activity” vehicle as well as an all-around city car.

  • avatar

    Stylistically I think it’s a hit.

    It will be interesting to see what the price difference is between this and an Escape (with similar interior features).

  • avatar

    Yuck wouldn’t be caught dead in it.

    • 0 avatar

      You might like the upcoming full size Bronco

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks, I hadn’t seen that, looks really good actually, it needs a skid plate to protect the front independent attachment points, it has a solid rear axle – nice, the ONE and only issue is that there’s a 98% chance Ford will stick it to consumers with a bunch of lame turbo engines.

        Hell I’d even consider a naturally aspirated 6 but I don’t think Ford will do it.

      • 0 avatar



        Also known to me as compact size – which isn’t a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar

      “Yuck wouldn’t be caught dead in it.”

      Don’t worry I am sure it passed all crash tests with flying colors.

  • avatar

    The Freelander comment was mine. It’ll sell well but is trying too hard to be upscale like an XC40. Looks awkward.

    Congrats to Ford for a future-successful cash grab though.

  • avatar

    I don’t know why it took them five more years to figure this out than it did Chrysler but this should be a big hit. It’s the right segment to be in, it looks interesting, it doesn’t take much more than that.

  • avatar

    Looks like Jeep is finally going to be challenged for the title of having the best off-road capability in these smaller CUV segments.

    Bring it on.

  • avatar

    The sides remind me of a 2nd gen Escape I had a few years ago. Good ground clearance and rugged appearance in a sea of RAV4s and CR-V.
    I’d give it a hard look if I was in the market

  • avatar

    Looks like a redo of the first generation Escape. Unimpressive garbage – another reason I am so glad I’m an ex-Ford owner.

  • avatar

    These will sell well.

    Especially that the new Escape is a little “blob-y”

  • avatar

    To paraphrase Baby (from Dinosaurs)… “Not da Bronco!”

  • avatar

    OMG B&B YALL! License to print money! Home run! Really nailed it! Sell all they can make!!! Totes should have aped the PALISADE YALL! B&B!

  • avatar

    Yeah, it looks like a ten-year-old Land Rover. It just needs Hackett and Farley standing next to it, wearing insulated vests. Zzzzzzzzzzz…

    A Ford fanboi version of the Chevy “Blazer”? It ought to be called the Ford Nondescript Sport.

  • avatar

    It’s “not bad”. But it could have better. Seems phoned in, like adding an aftermarket body kit to an Escape.

  • avatar

    So all that build up for an Escape with different body panels? I realize this market is hotter then the sun but I am not impressed. And I bet Jeep isn’t worried either. I was expecting something more like a Toyota FJ Cruiser: bigger, boxier, taller, etc. Guess I just assumed the Bronco was going on the Ranger platform – complete with a truck engine and real 4WD.

    • 0 avatar

      Well there’s two coming a body on frame version and this unibody version, if you read the article they mentioned that.

      So essentially they’re giving you two chances to be disappointed.

    • 0 avatar

      The Bronco is sharing the Ranger platform and production lines, this is the Bronco Sport, or baby Bronco.

      • 0 avatar

        So there are two Broncos but the only thing they have in common is the name? UGH! That just makes this whole exercise even sillier.

        Well I guess when you call a CUV a “Mustang” anything (and everything) is possible. We live in a strange world.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      This is Fords version of the compact unibody Jeep Renegade which is quite popular. The new full sized Bronco is a body on frame competitor to the Wrangler. Considering how the Wrangler gets refreshed every decade or so Ford would similarly amortize this the cost of this platform. They should have created one years ago but were late to the market.

  • avatar

    Could have been better, but should sell better than the escape if properly executed. Toyota proved with the RAV4 that people want manliness with their pseudo trucks.

    Too bad it will have fords lame 3 cylinder engine. All the vibration and none of the economy! Thanks Ford.

  • avatar

    It’s about time, I like it and the resemblance to the Land Rover Freelander is not lost one me, because I am a fan of that vehicle. Now, lets hope Ford doesn’t screw-up the rollout so that they may have a hit on their hands

    It’s important that this is more then a trim upgrade and from what I’ve read the bits and pieces add up to a crossover with some real off-road cred. We’ll see

  • avatar

    How does Ford always manage to steal Subaru Crosstrek rims? Some versions of the late Focus had the same rims as the original Crosstrek. Now this Baby Bronco (appears) to wear the same rims a new base/premium Crosstrek.

  • avatar

    I guess “Bronco Mall Version” wouldn’t have the intended sales effect.

    I know the hallowed Land Rover started it, but the use of “Sport” as a way to indicate a different, almost always smaller and cheaper model is just dumb.

  • avatar

    There’s millions of people still driving 1st and 2nd gen Escapes (and things like Liberties and Patriots) who wouldn’t be caught dead in the newer one since they adopted the generic CUV styling and reduced ground clearance and less rugged (ie not as cheap and plastic) interior.

    This is for those people. Who cares what it’s named (though I agree the badge size is ridiculous)

  • avatar

    What an absolutely (IMO) putrid color to pick for a showcase model.

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