Ford Bronco Sport Details Leak; Model Looks to Distance Itself From Escape Sibling

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford bronco sport details leak model looks to distance itself from escape sibling

Not everyone spent all week searching in vain for toilet paper. Someone with access to Ford’s dealer order site snapped pics of trim levels and powertrains pertaining to the upcoming Ford Bronco Sport, originally scheduled for a public reveal next month.

That debut could still happen, most likely online, but now there’s even less to learn about the Escape-based model that wishes it was a Bronco.

You’ve seen pics of the thing already. Clearly, Ford designers took great pains to erase clues as to the Bronco Sport’s real DNA. It’s retro all over, mimicking the equally leaked body-on-frame Bronco, but underneath its an Escape through and through.

The dealer site details published on show this clearly. On tap for the compact CUV is a brace of turbocharged powerplants: a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a 2.0-liter four, each paired to an eight-speed automatic. The lesser of the two mills generates 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque; the uplevel engine is good for 250 hp/280 lb-ft, at least when found in the 2020 Escape.

There’s little reason to believe those figures will change.

Unlike the Escape, which carries the usual Ford trim lines (S, SE, SEL, etc), the Bronco Sport dons a manly list of brawny names that intrigued Ford aficionados when they appeared in trademark applications last year. Competing site published an image of the model’s trims, showing Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition models.

In a nod to the model’s heritage (at least, the heritage borrowed via its name), all-wheel drive will be standard across the board. If you’re looking for a grocery getter that shuns even wet pavement, buy a FWD Escape.

As seen in spy photos and leaked images of pre-production vehicles, Bronco Sport buyers will be able to choose from a choice of roof colors (black or gray) and a selection of seating options. Among the choice of chairs is ebony leather, Active Orange sport cloth, and the unusually titled Area 51 cloth. Are we to assume an intergalactic motif in that cabin? Maybe, but perhaps Ford execs were just on the lookout for any avant-garde locale in the United States.

It seems the Bronco Sport shuns the 18- and 19-inch wheel options offered by the Escape in favor of rim-protecting 65-series rubber wrapped around a 17-inch hoop. This is a model that supposedly will take you off-road, after all. (Most buyers will cover in fright at the thought of such an excursion.)

Arriving ahead of its namesake non-twin, the Bronco Sport should reach customers late this year.

[Images: BroncoSportForum]

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4 of 32 comments
  • Rev0lver Rev0lver on Mar 22, 2020

    I had an Escape as a rental recently. I found it loud and the 8speed was quite jumpy. Hopefully this is better than that.

  • Mackey Mackey on Mar 22, 2020

    I'm just glad they are putting real rubber under the thing. Honda missed the boat when they brought back the Passport, and even launched it as a more off road themed vehicle, but then only offer big wheels and low profile tires. As for the design of this new Broncos Sport, they should have just made THIS the new Escape, because it is more of a return to form for what the Escape originally was; a small, semi-capable, friendly SUV. They could still release the other new Escape, but call it a Kuga or any other name. Perhaps Granada. Because the world really needs a new Granada, as well. ;-)

    • See 1 previous
    • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Mar 23, 2020

      @BigDuke6 Apples to oranges, I know, but I went from a Mazda6 with the ginormous 19 inch wheels to a CX-5 with 17 inch donut tires and I couldn't be happier. I was always super paranoid about barking the 19s against a pothole or some such and destroying them, nevermind the $300 replacement tires. Sure the 19s were attractive, but the 17s on the CX-5 look perfectly cromulent. Would the switch you theorize destroy the suspension? My brother once had a Cavalier/Sunfire on which he fitted these garrish 20 inch rims. The tires wore out fast and the suspension pooped itself because that was the only change he made.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.