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  5. 2021 Bronco Sport Joins Ford's Off-Road Lineup

Derek Shiekhi | Jul 13, 2020

Exterior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

Ford may be showing up with a new Bronco 25 years later than we would've liked them to, but they're bringing something extra to make up for it. Not only is it producing an all-new Bronco, it's offering it as a two-door and four-door. On top of that, the Blue Oval is making a second, smaller Bronco model called the Bronco Sport.

Like its midsize sibling, the subcompact Bronco Sport is built for off-road adventures. Four-wheel drive is standard across the range, which starts at $28,155. There are 10 colors and five trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks and Badlands. There's also a First Edition model, but Ford will only make 2,000 of those - all of which have already been reserved by Bronco loyalists.


2020 Ford Bronco Sport Exterior

Exterior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

Ford is all in on the Bronco being its own model line. If you're looking for a blue oval up front, you won't find it. Instead, you'll see a one-bar grille with BRONCO spelled out in big, bold letters.

On top, there's a stepped, safari-style roof that can handle up to 150 pounds of dynamic load and rails for securing gear.

Most Bronco Sport models come equipped with 17-inch wheels, but 18s are standard on the Outer Banks and optional on the Big Bend models. Tire sizes range from 225/65 and 225/60 all-seasons to the 28.5-inch all-terrain tires on the Badlands. That's also available with the 29-inch all-terrains that are standard equipment on the First Edition.

A flip-up glass panel in the rear liftgate makes getting to your gear quick and easy. Opening the liftgate itself reveals a couple of useful features designed to make "roughing it" go a little more smoothly. Integrated LED floodlights help you better see what you're loading or unloading at night. You can use the bottle opener in the rear cargo area to pop open a nice cold drink for the ride home from a long day of crawling over rocks and splashing through mud.

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2020 Ford Bronco Sport Interior

Interior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

The Bronco Sport's cabin has some cool gear of its own. You can punch in the address to that OHV park you've been meaning to try out on the SYNC 3 infotainment system's 8-inch screen. Hang things like extra water bottles from the MOLLE hooks on the backs of the seats. Certain trim levels come with easy-to-clean surfaces, such as cloth bucket seats, rubberized flooring and silicone-sealed switchgear. An available bin below the back passenger-side seat is the perfect place to throw wet, muddy or icy boots.

If you prefer to do your off-roading on two wheels, the Bronco Sport is ready for that, too. With an available interior bike rack, you can carry two mountain bikes with 27.5-inch wheels behind the front seats. Ford will offer accessory bundles specifically made for biking, as well as snow-, water- and camping-themed packages. An available 400-watt inverter and five-way configurable Cargo Management System with a slide-out table add even more utility to the Bronco Sport's cargo area.

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2020 Ford Bronco Sport Powertrain

Engine view of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

It's not hyperbole to call the Bronco Sport's independent suspension with coil springs H.O.S.S. According to Ford, that stands for High-Performance Off-Road, Stability Suspension. Its twin-tube shocks absorb the bumps of rough pavement and rocky trails up front while monotube units take the brunt of impacts in the back.

Ford makes off-roading in the Badlands and First Edition models more comfortable by swapping in specially tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops and 46-millimeter monotube rear shocks. Softer springs and antiroll bars help improve articulation over rough terrain. Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks Bronco Sports get their power from a 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that generates 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. Badlands and First Edition models are equipped with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4 that produces 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. Both engines are connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The top two trim levels come with a little extra hardware, including paddle shifters and additional transmission and rear-drive coolers. The same goes for their four-wheel drive systems. Badlands and First Edition Bronco Sports have the advantage of a twin-clutch rear-drive unit that functions similarly to a traditional locking differential and can route nearly all rear-axle torque to either wheel. Each model gets a standard front camera with integrated washer that shows the obstacles ahead; Ford's off-road cruise control, aka Trail Control, takes care of the throttle and braking needed to get over them.

In the new Bronco family, the acronym G.O.A.T. has a completely different meaning. It doesn't refer to Michael Jordan or Tom Brady. It's short for the Bronco's ability to go over any type of terrain. The Bronco Sport's Terrain Management System is available with up to seven G.O.A.T. modes. Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand are standard across the range; Badlands and First Edition models also get Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl settings. When Rock Crawl is engaged, the Bronco Sport's electric power steering softens its responses so that the steering wheel doesn't snatch and jerk when you go over large chunks of stone.

Those more focused versions of the Bronco Sport prove bigger is better. When outfitted with the available 29-inch tires, they provide 8.8 inches of ground clearance, 30.4 degrees of approach angle and 20.4 degrees of breakover angle. On its optional 29s, the Badlands has a better departure angle of 33.1 degrees; the First Edition offers 27.5 degrees of rear clearance. Both high-end models can charge through 23.6 inches of water.

Badlands and First Edition Bronco Sports also get an edge in terms of towing capacity. They're rated to pull 2,200 pounds - 200 more than their Big Bend and Outer Banks siblings.

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2020 Ford Bronco Sport Safety

View of safety equipment of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

The Bronco Sport uses a completely different kind of equipment to make sure you get home from your outdoor activities safely. The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of features, which includes a rearview camera, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System and Auto High Beam Headlamps, is standard on all models.

There are two levels of available advanced driver assistance technology. The Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package contains Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 adds Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Centering and Speed Sign Recognition.

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2020 Ford Bronco Sport Overall

View of the exterior of the 2020 Ford Ford Bronco Sport

The all-new 2021 Bronco Sport will gallop into AutoNation Ford showrooms late this year. That gives you plenty of time to shine your boots and get ready to saddle up and ride it.

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2021 Ford Bronco Sport Specs

Layout

4-door, 5-passenger, compact SUV

Engines

1.5L turbocharged I-4; 181 hp / 190 lb-ft

2.0L turbocharged I-4; 245 hp / 275 lb-ft

Transmission

Eight-speed automatic

Safety / MPG

TBD


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**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.