QOTD: Will the Ford Bronco Sport Kill the Escape?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

I was running an errand earlier this week and spotted a Ford Bronco Sport street parked on Chicago’s famed State Street. Coincidentally, I had just tested one off-road a bit over a week prior.

The baby Bronco impressed me on our first drive, despite some flaws. And our own Adam Tonge has argued that the Escape-based Bronco Sport may spell the end of the line for the venerable crossover that lends it its platform.

The argument goes like this — the Bronco Sport looks cooler (indeed, the boxy styling reminds some of the first Escape, in a good way), has the same engines, has four-wheel drive, isn’t significantly more expensive, and offers as much or more utility.

Unless you want a hybrid powertrain or want front-wheel drive, there seems to be no reason for the Escape.

I am not sure I totally agree. While the Escape’s looks are polarizing, and I prefer the Bronco Sport’s style, there will be people out there who think the Escape looks good. Lower-trim Escapes are also a tad cheaper, at least to start.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think the Bronco Sport will be popular. I think it will do quite well for Ford. It has a cool factor about it that isn’t often present in the segment, it offers off-road capability (at least in Badlands trim), it’s new and has that novelty going for it, it bears the Bronco name, and Ford has marketed the hell out of it.

Certainly, Ford thinks the two can co-exist in its lineup without cannibalizing sales from one another. Ford reps told me as much last fall during the drive event.

What say you?

[Image © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 68 comments
  • Phreshone Phreshone on Apr 01, 2021

    betting the interior comfort differences will keep a demand for the Escape... They may have to change the value proposition in terms of interior materials, and package pricing... The reviews indicate that the Bronco Sport has properly keep down scale (washable) interior panels, but the Escape has to compete against the rapidly improving interiors of Mazda and Hyundai UP the interior quality, lower the trim level pricing on the Escape to drive sales The Escape is going to be its primary hybrid/PHEV platform for a while too

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Apr 02, 2021

    Wow, Ford isn't just marketing the Bronco Sport they are marketing the "hell out of it".

  • Slow_poke Slow_poke on Apr 02, 2021

    You know, all this talk about the Bronco i was psyched up. Pics look good on the website. Saw one in real life the other day and was massively underwhelmed. Really bummed actually. Weird how some cars look bad on paper and good in real life (Alfa 4c) and now vice versa... anyway... Bronco, more meh than i wanted. Guess i don’t know what i wanted...

  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Apr 03, 2021

    its about time jeep had some competition. the renegade is just too soft looking

    • Daniel Daniel on Sep 28, 2023

      I mean, the Renegade is a size class smaller. Jeep’s direct competition would be more along the lines of the Compass or the Cherokee. At least in terms of crossovers