2021 Ford Bronco Sport - This is It [UPDATED]

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2021 ford bronco sport this is it updated

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 14, 2020

    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.

    • See 3 previous
    • N8iveVA N8iveVA on Jul 16, 2020

      @Lie2me 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.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Jul 15, 2020

    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 .

    • Lie2me Lie2me on Jul 15, 2020

      Good observation, as a fan and owner of a 2nd gen. Escape I agree and can see myself replacing my current Escape with a Bronco Sport

  • Wjtinfwb A Celebrity Diesel... that is a unicorn. Those early A-bodies were much maligned and I'm sure the diesel didn't help that, but they developed into very decent and reliable transportation. Hopefully this oil-burner Chevy can do the same, it's worth keeping.
  • Wjtinfwb After S-classes crested the 40k mark in the early '80s, my dad moved from M-B to a BMW 733i Automatic. Anthracite gray over red leather, it was a spectacular driving car and insanely comfortable and reassuring on long interstate hauls. My mom, not really a car person, used the BMW to shuttle her elderly Mom back home to Pennsylvania from Miami. Mom and grandma both gushed with praise for the big BMW, stating she could have driven straight through the car was so comfortable and confidence inspiring. A truly great car that improved through the E38 generation, at which point the drugs apparently took hold of BMW styling and engineering and they went completely off the rails. The newest 7 series is a 100k abomination.
  • Vatchy If you want to talk about global warming, you might start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darvaza_gas_crater
  • 28-Cars-Later $55,218 for a new GR Corolla: https://www.reddit.com/r/COROLLA/comments/zcw10i/toyota_needs_to_know_the_demand_is_there_but_this/"But if OTD prices get beyond 50k there are better options"That's what people were arguing in that thread.
  • Lou_BC "The Oldsmobile Diesel engine is a series of  V6 and  V8  diesel engines produced by  General Motors from 1978 to 1985. The 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 was introduced in 1978, followed by a 261 cu in (4.3 L) V8 only for the 1979 model year. In 1982, a 263 cu in (4.3 L) V6 became available for both front and  rear-wheel drive vehicles. Sales peaked in 1981 at approximately 310,000 units, which represented 60% of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market. However, this success was short-lived as the V8 diesel engine suffered severe reliability issues, and the engines were discontinued after the 1985 model year."I'd say one would be best off finding a gasser to plunk in there or take a loss and re-sell it.
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