By on July 13, 2020

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The Ford Bronco news doesn’t just stop with one model. There’s not one, not two, but three in the family.

That threesome includes the two-door and four-door versions of the Bronco, as well as the smaller Bronco Sport.

Think of the Bronco Sport as an off-road version of Ford’s Escape crossover. Ford might get mad at us for saying that, but hey, we’re not PR.

This smaller Bronco will be four-wheel-drive and four-door only. Classified as a subcompact, it seats five.

Buyers have a choice of two engines – a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that Ford says is targeting 181 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 190 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm; or a 2.0-liter turbo-four that has a goal of 245 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Both are EcoBoost mills with direct injection and automatic start/stop.

Both are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the 2.0-liter can also be paired with an eight-speed automatic that has an oil cooler and a manual shifting mode, complete with flappy paddles.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Off-roaders, take note: The crawl ratio is 18:1. Ford is offering up seven drive modes in its Terrain Management System: Normal, eco, sport, slippery, and sand. Mud/ruts and rock crawl are available on Badlands and First Edition trims. This is part of Ford’s Goes Over Any Type of terrain marketing speak. Yes, that spells out G.O.A.T. Yes, G.O.A.T can also mean greatest of all time.

The other key marketing phrase here is built wild. That basically is Ford-speak for strong durability and rigorous testing in the desert.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The four-wheel-drive system includes a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock, and Ford claims this can send “virtually” all rear-wheel torque to either rear wheel.

Bronco Sport has independent front and rear suspensions: MacPherson strut with coil springs, stabilizer bars, and twin-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks up front, double lateral link with semi-trailing arms and coil springs in the rear, stabilizer bar, monotube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks, and isolated steel subframe with cast knuckle in the rear.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The Badlands and First Edition models have different front struts with hydraulic rebound stops, in order to quell some of the off-road noise and harshness. The rear shocks are 46-millimeter monotube. Softer springs and anti-roll bars on these models are meant to increase articulation.

There’s a cutesy name for the suspension: High-Performance Off-Road, Stability Suspension System, or H.O.S.S.

Modern computing provides a Trail Control system that sort of works like cruise control: Just set a speed up to 20 mph (6 mph in reverse) and steer, letting the Bronco Sport throttle up and brake.

A front camera with a lens washer can be used as a sort of electronic spotter, and if your Sport has rock crawl mode, the electronically-assisted power steering adjusts to be more precise.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Key off-road specs include a ground clearance of 7.8 inches (7.9 for the Outer Banks trim) or 8.8 inches for Badlands and First Editions with the optional 29-inch A/T tires. Approach angle is 21.7 degrees (30.4 with the 29-inch A/Ts on First Edition or Badlands), and the breakover angle is 18.2 degrees (20.4 with the 29-inch A/Ts on First Edition or Badlands). Departure angle is listed at 30.4 degrees, 33.1 for Badlands with the 29s and 27.5 in the First Edition. Lower trims can ford up to 17.7 inches of water, while Badlands and First Editions can handle up to 23.6 inches.

Maximum suspension travel is 7.4 inches front and 8.1 rear. Max towing capacity is 2,200 pounds, and the Bronco Sport has a 105.1-inch wheelbase and 172.7-inch length. Wheels are either 17- or 18-inches, with all-terrain tires available.

There will be five trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition. Four accessory bundles (Bike, Snow, Water, and Camping) will be available, allowing skiers, kayakers, et cetera to fit their vehicle to their needs. Ford claims two mountain bikes will be able to be put in the cargo area standing up. Other outdoorsy tricks include LED floodlamps, a cargo-area bottle opener, gear straps, and zippered seat-back pockets.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The rear window will have flip glass, the cargo floor will be low, and there will be an available roof rack. There’s also an available Cargo Management system with a pull-out table and an available 400-watt inverter. There will be available under-seat storage for the second row and washable floors.

Available features will also include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, access to Amazon’s Alexa, Sync 3 infotainment, and satellite radio.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Available driver-aid and safety systems include pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking featuring pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, dynamic brake support, blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep system, automatic high beams, rearview camera, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centering, evasive steering assist, navigation, and speed-sign recognition.

If the Bronco Sport is the subcompact off-roader for you, or if Ford’s marketing blitz has you crying “Uncle!”, you can open your checkbook and reserve yours for just $100. Full pricing and an on-sale date have yet to be announced. Update: While pricing wasn’t available in the press materials, Ford’s consumer Web site has listed the base price at $26,660, excluding an unspecified delivery and destination fee. The Big Bend is listed at $28,160, the Outer Banks at $32,160, the Badlands at $32,600, and the First Edition at $38,500. As of now, these prices do NOT include D and D. We will update once we have that information.

Join the Ford Bronco Sport Forum here.

[Images: Ford]

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33 Comments on “2021 Ford Bronco Sport – This is It [UPDATED]...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I like :)

    … But how much? :(

    Those specs sound pretty impressive. I’ll have to see how this compares to the Jeep Cherokee which I’m sure is the target. We’ll see

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Hmmmmm… Made in Mexico, subcompact, a 3 (!) or 4 cylinder mill, and a ho-hum interior… I suspect this version will end up being more of an urban commuter than an off-road or road trip vehicle. But I have a feeling it will be a hit.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Very Interesting. All three models have my attention.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Big square windows that you can see out of. OK, rectangular and rhomboids.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Depending on what’s included those prices look pretty good

  • avatar
    B-BodyBuick84

    I feel like if the regular Bronco is up against the Wrangler, then this is supposed to go up against the non-grand Cherokee. Both have either a turbo 4 or a V6, both are off-road oriented, both have a tow rating (Admittedly the Jeep has a 4500 or 5000 lb rating compared to the 2200 lb rating of this?)and both are unibody crossovers. We’ll see what happens I guess,I feel like head-to-head these two will end up being pretty similar in most aspects, save for gas mileage. Ten bucks to a donut says the Bronco Sport’s 2.7 ecoboost will be rated better than the Cherokee’s 3.2 pentastar, but the Jeep will get better real world mpg.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Where is the B.U.T.?
    Bronco Utility Truck to compete with Gladiator?

  • avatar
    randyinrocklin

    Sorry EB, I always admired your comments, however, I would have to disagree with you on this one….hehehe

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Very cool. Best of luck to them.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well HOSS I can’t wait to see how much GOAT that little Bronco has got.

  • avatar
    VWGolfGuy

    I was fully expecting to hate this thing, but I’m finding myself liking it more than the Bronco. This might replace the golf.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m a little surprised they didn’t swing for the fences and outfit it with a true low range, but I’m more surprised that having made the decision not to that they still didn’t aim to beat the Jeep Compass/Renegade crawl ratio of 20:1.

    That said, it certainly looks the business and all of the other stats look very competitive. I eagerly await the first shootout, and honestly I expect the Bronco to win because Ford has had ample opportunity to benchmark its main competitor.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lie2me–The Ford Maverick compact crew cab pickup with the same I3 and I4 as the Bronco Sport will be released mid 2021 as a 2022 MY and it will be made in the same plant in Mexico as the Bronco Sport.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Kind of a poor man’s Land Rover Discovery. Not my thing, and the dinky engines are rather disappointing, but otherwise, it’s a pretty cool vehicle.

    Between this and the other Bronco, Jeep has real competition for the first time in Lord knows how long.

    • 0 avatar
      karonetwentyc

      The styling reminds me of a cross between the 3- and 5-door Land-Rover Freelander. That’s not to say that it’s bad; to my eyes, it isnt. But it’s ultimately Just Another Crossover, even if they did slap the a Bronco badge on it.

      Having said that, I do completely agree that Jeep needs some direct competition. Hopefully this (and the ‘regular’ Bronco) force them to rethink some of their strategies, particularly in the area of pricing.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I wish it was just a shade smaller and had more than 18:1 low gear. Not a deal breaker, but a little disappointing.

  • avatar
    Paul Mindemann

    Errr… no. Soft-roader with an automatic and a THREE-cylinder engine. Wow.

    I mean, soccer moms everywhere are going to buy a million of these because of how it looks. But that’s kind of a shame, because they’re nothing like the “real” Bronco being introduced. And that’ll just water-down the brand they’re trying to re-establish.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I thought it would just be a butched up looking version of the new (feminized) Escape. I’m pleasantly surprised they made a fair amount of effort in this. One thing I really miss on my ’17 Escape that I had on my ’05 Escape is the opening rear window. Nice to see it return on this model.

  • avatar
    dwford

    They could’ve been expected to be corporate tools and slap the Bronco Sport name on a light rehash of the Escape, but it looks like they actually made an effort to make a legit off road vehicle. Nice!

  • avatar
    Russycle

    ” Ford claims two mountain bikes will be able to be put in the cargo area standing up. ”

    The tall cargo area was one feature I really liked about my Element. Honda pulled that off by having the seats fold up to the side instead of into the floor, I’d like to see how Bronco does it.

    Have to say, if the base price gets you a decently equipped rig, this looks like a winner.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      I was wondering that too. I dont’ think anything other than a minivan or an Element can fit, in an upright orientation, a modern mountain bike, fully assembled, let alone 2, and this thing is classified as subcompact. A picture to help you see it:

      https://assets.newatlas.com/dims4/default/fed6b92/2147483647/strip/true/crop/8688×5792+0+0/resize/1440×960!/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fnewatlas-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F37%2Ff0%2Faf5d6ca442ae89bf1d5cf4c9603b%2Fbronco-sport-interior-11.jpg

      The bikes have to go in wheels-off and they seem to be pretty small bikes too. Looks like it effectively neuters the cargo area for anything like a cooler or a large bag. I can put 2 hardtail bikes in the backseat of my 23 year old Civic sedan by taking a third wheel off and then I still have unfettered use of my trunk. I can fit a 3rd one in the trunk by taking off both wheels (but no 3rd passenger.) Marketing can say anything it wants; I guess Honda should have advertised the 1997 Civic as a shuttle vehicle for up to 10 riders. (With optional roof and hitch racks

  • avatar

    On the one hand they clearly tried here. On the other it’s not built in the US, the engines are too small, and it looks like an old LR Freelander.

    But it seems better than the thing upon which it is based. I really don’t like the current Escape, and this sort of goes back to what the Escape used to be.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Looking at the YouTube auto reviewers vids (like Alex on Autos) there seem to be a few old school Escape owners who are sounding off in the comment section expressing desire for the Bronco Sport because it is square and like their 1st and 2nd gen.

      If some of those original Escape owners have strayed away from Ford, this might bring them back.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I have a ’17 Escape right now and had a ’05 before it. I hate the look of the new one. The more square look of the Bronco Sport and the rear opening window have me interested. I have the 2.0T and it has plenty of power for me, but I tend to only buy American built cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I have been seriously considering a slightly used 3rd gen Escape with the 2.0T, they are an excellent value with most owners pretty happy with them. Right now, though, I’m tempted to hold off for a Bronco Sport, but not sure I can wait long enough for a good deal on a slightly used one

        • 0 avatar
          N8iveVA

          I like my ’17 a lot overall. Just the two annoyances of not being able to disable the rear foot sensor for the hatch and the stop/start system. They should allow you to go into the menu and turn them off and leave them off.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    The top photo reminds me of the ‘08 thru ‘12 Ford Escape (very boxy). The current Escape looks like a guppy.
    Also reminds be of the 2nd generation Land Rover Freelander ((very boxy as well).

    I like boxy….boxy is good compared to the current tear drop design of SUVs .

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