Bucking Broncs: Ford Expands Bronco Sport Options

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
bucking broncs ford expands bronco sport options

The "baby Bronco" Ford Bronco Sport doesn't get the pub that the Bronco does -- but based on what I observe driving around, it's been a sales winner for the Blue Oval. And while most are probably never taken off-road, Ford is offering more choice for those who want to take their Bronco Sports to the proverbial badlands.

Speaking of badlands, I took two Sports to an Indiana off-road park with that name, and when in off-road trim with proper equipment, the Bronco Sport was quite capable.

Trouble is, if you want that capability, up until now you needed to buy the Badlands trim of the Bronco Sport -- and that is the top-tier trim, and priced to match. Indeed, when I took an Outer Banks-trimmed Bronco Sport to the off-road park, I had to leave in short order, since it couldn't do what the Badlands could at the, uh, Badlands.

I even pointed out in the review that I thought Ford needed an off-road package on its mid-trim Sports.

While I doubt the folks in Dearborn listened to me -- I wish I had that kind of power -- apparently the complaint was common enough that Ford has now added a Black Diamond off-road package as an option for Outer Banks and Big Bend trims.

Ford is also expanding customer access to its Off-Roadeo experience, which teaches customers how to go off the beaten path.

"For adventurers who want to get more from their Bronco Sport, we’re enhancing the ownership experience by offering more trail capability with the new Black Diamond Off-Road Package, plus an included opportunity to learn what their SUV can do at Bronco Off-Roadeo," said Mark Grueber, Enthusiast Vehicle Marketing Manager, in the press release. "Today, nearly 90 percent of Bronco Sport customers that attend Off-Roadeo are likely to go off-roading again, and 97 percent of customers are more knowledgeable and confident doing so, furthering our goal of getting into the wild."

The package adds four skid plates -- note that one reason I left the off-road park early with the OB BS is that it didn't have those, and you need them for serious off-roading -- and all-terrain tires. It also adds package-specific graphics.

It's not a perfect solution -- the Badlands has tow hooks and mud/ruts and rock crawl drive modes, and it appears the Black Diamond package doesn't add those, which is disappointing since those features are helpful off-road. Tow hooks are practically mandatory on vehicles that have serious off-road intent since getting stuck does happen. As both Chris and I have experienced multiple times in recent years.

Still, it's an upgrade for anyone who wants to do light off-roading.

The Off-Roadeo experience is now available to anyone buying a Bronco Sport, regardless of trim. As a reminder, Ford has four locations for the experience -- near Austin, Texas; near Las Vegas; near Moab, Utah; and Gilford, New Hampshire. Ford is also adding winter dates to the Texas and Utah locations.

[Image: Ford]

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Nov 15, 2022

    According to the Ford Canada site you have to step up to the Badlands with an MSRP of just over $46k Canadian to get the 4 cylinder engine in a Bronco Sport. The 3 trim levels below that all have the 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine. I am just too old and set in my ways to trust a 3 cylinder engine. Or to pay $40k for a vehicle with a 3 cylinder engine. Is this just obstinance on my part? Am I out of touch or do others agree? Should Ford make the hybrid that is the base engine in the Maverick an option for the Bronco Sport?

    • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Nov 15, 2022

      Understandable, 3 cylinders is the new 4 cylinders, I suppose. Won't stop the GR Corolla from being highly sought after, but I don't see many Bronco Sports out there at all.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Nov 15, 2022

    Bronco Sport & Maverick are sales winners. Both assembled in only one plant. Which one does Ford prioritize? I'd expect the higher MSRP Bronco Sport is higher profit.

  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Unrelated to this article but of interest I found this on You Tube which explains why certain vehicles are not available in the US because of how the CAFE measures fuel standards. I remember you commenting on this a few years ago on another article on TTAC. The 2023 Chevrolet Montana is an adorable small truck that's never coming to the USA. It's not because of the 1.2L engine, or that Americans aren't interested in small trucks, it's that fuel economy legislation effectively prevents small trucks from happening. What about the Maverick? It's not as small as you think. CAFE, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy is the real reason trucks in America are all at least a specific dimension. Here's how it works and why it means no tiny trucks for us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eoMrwrGA8A&ab_channel=AlexonAutos
  • Gabe A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.
  • El scotto Will Ford ever stop putting a V-8 in Mustang GT's? Not as long as Bill Ford is around. I haven't shopped for an F-150 in years; can you still get a V-8 in one? Y'all have that one pair of really comfortable shoes you wear when you go shopping? Not buying gas and low maintenance will make EVs your comfortable shoes. Virtual signalling? Naw, they're slip-ons.