- Standard AWD (two systems available)
- Flexible cargo area
- High ground clearance and approach / departure angle
- Can’t tow as much as an Escape
- 1.5L delivers lower-than-average power and refinement
- No creeper gear / low-range simulation like Jeeps offer
The Bronco Sport is Ford’s latest compact SUV, sharing rad throwback styling and an adventurous attitude with its larger, more rugged counterpart. Completely new for the 2021 model year, the Bronco Sport joins the EcoSport and Escape in Ford’s crossover lineup.
The Bronco Sport, however, has a smaller exterior footprint compared to its Escape sibling. The Badlands model comes with a unique AWD system that can shuffle torque being sent to the rear wheels left to right, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance—an 0.8-inch increase over the standard Bronco Sport. Badlands variants also have improved approach and departure angles, and better water-fording capability. Unlike the bigger Bronco, which has a live rear axle, the smaller Bronco Sport uses an independent setup.
Looking for the 2021 Ford Bronco? Read about it here.
- New addition to the Ford SUV lineup and the smallest model in the Bronco family
- The First Edition model, which is based on the Badlands trim, will be limited to 2,000 units
What We Think
The Bronco Sport may be the less expensive, less rugged sibling to the full-size Bronco, but don’t go thinking it’s some mall-crawling crossover. Its off-road capability was immediately apparent during our First Drive, and the Badlands model easily trounced a Jeep Compass Trailhawk in our small off-road SUV comparison.
Even the three-cylinder Bronco Sport delivers respectable performance for the segment, even if fuel economy isn’t up to the standard set by more road-focused SUVs. Drivers won’t pay much penalty for off-road capability when they’re driving on the street, either; Ford strikes a nice balance between capability and everyday refinement.
Check out our complete pros and cons review to learn more about the Bronco Sport.
Performance (and AWD Availability)
The 2021 Bronco Sport is offered with two turbocharged engines. A 1.5-liter turbo I-3 is standard, producing 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. In our Bronco Sport Outer Banks First Test, the three-cylinder motivated Ford’s little trucklet to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds.
The upgrade engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 245 hp and 270 lb-ft. You’ll notice a significant performance difference; our Badlands First Test saw 0-60 in just 6.5 seconds. An eight-speed automatic is mated with both engines, but with updated tuning compared with the Escape.
Although the Bronco Sport isn’t as capable as the larger Bronco, the smaller Bronco-badged SUV only comes with AWD, and offers two AWD systems. The first is a lightly updated version of the Escape’s, while the second is a harder-core AWD system for the Bronco Sport Badlands model. That trim gets a torque-vectoring AWD system.
So how’s the Bronco Sport different from the Bronco? Head here to find out.
Bronco Sport Fuel Economy
The Bronco Sport’s clever AWD system, blocky styling, and nubby off-road tires mean it’s not as efficient as the Escape on which it’s based, but we’re guessing most folks don’t buy a Bronco to sip fuel. Fuel economy numbers read 25/28 mpg city/highway for three-cylinder variants and 21/26 mpg if you go for the 2.0-liter turbo-four.
This Is How Much a 2021 Bronco Sport Costs
The more compact 2021 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $28,155, or just over $2,000 more than a base Escape. That entry-level model includes AWD, 17-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and blind-spot monitoring. Ford offers plenty of ways to customize and spec your perfect Bronco Sport, but the forewarned–the price spread from base model to loaded is huge.
- 2021 Bronco Sport Base: $28,155
- 2021 Bronco Sport Big Bend: $29,655
- 2021 Bronco Sport Outer Banks: $33,655
- 2021 Bronco Sport Badlands: $34,155
- 2021 Bronco Sport First Edition: $39,995
Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver assistance suite is standard on every Bronco Sport. That includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and evasive steering assist.
Cargo Space and Towing
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has 32.0 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place. Folding the rear seatbacks increases capacity to 65.0 cubic feet. The Bronco Sport is surfboard-ready, with liftgate glass that can be opened without also opening the entire liftgate. The cargo floor has more than one height for more flexibility, and the grocery-bag hooks have spring-loaded retainers to keep items from slipping off.
When equipped with the optional 2.0-liter turbo I-4, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport can tow up to 2,200 pounds (1,300 pounds less than an Escape 2.0). Variants powered by the standard 1.5-liter turbo I-3 are rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Ford’s SYNC infotainment system is displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen. CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are included on all models.