Ford’s new, small, go-anywhere SUV comes in two versions. There is the Bronco, based on the Ranger pickup and available in two and four-door body configurations. It is also available in more colors and is a nod to the ruggedness and utility of the original generation Ford Bronco from the early 1960s. The Bronco Sport based on the Escape, comes in four-door only and provides more creature comforts than the Bronco.
Tested here is the Bronco Sport Badlands edition, one of five available trim levels. Ford is making a statement for adventure with this new vehicle, citing its off-road capabilities with four-wheel drive, a healthy ground clearance, and outdoor versatility.
The Bronco Sport is a well-proportioned, good looking vehicle, with squared off and boxy body lines in keeping with its character. Although it sits on a 105-inch wheelbase the 17-inch rims and tires are placed at the corners, giving the vehicle a stout, substantial stance. This aspect also helps in off-road situations. As with all versions, the Badlands edition comes with a 4X4 system, with a variety of selectable drive modes known as “G.O.A.T. (goes over any type of terrain), but the Badlands offers seven modes, from normal street driving to rock crawling. A dual-clutch rear axle allows the differential to be locked to provide more traction. The engine is the 2.0-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder of 250 horsepower (a three-cylinder, 181 horsepower 1.5 liter is base) coupled to an eight-speed automatic. This powertrain provides adequate power and versatility for just about any situation, on or off the road.
Cabin entry and exit is good with the Bronco Sport, and the cabin provides lots of head and leg room for front seat occupants. Sightlines are good, and the plethora of controls and switchgear are wisely placed. Storage space for small items has been well addressed, and the entire interior is somewhat spartan but functional. Other useful items and in fitting with its character are the two-piece hatchback with separate rear window opening and safari-style roof racks.
Rear seat capacity is very limited in the Bronco Sport. Like the Mustang, the back seat is there in name only, and even small children would find issue with the lack of space. An adult would be a very tight fit, even with the front seat moved up. Interior noise when travelling was higher than expected, and due to its high boxy profile driving into a headwind was not pleasant. The rear window wiper should also be larger.
Ford has resurrected an iconic name and provided utilitarian transportation geared to a youthful market. The Sport can be loaded up with all the technological safety and drive assist packages along with its SYNC 3 entertainment and controls package along with extra items such as 12- and 100-volt electrical outlets scattered throughout the vehicle and special lights on the hatchback inside to light up for outside use. This will be a great ride for people with adventure in their hearts wanting to explore the outdoors. The Bronco Sport has the capability of providing a solid means of getting to that special destination in the wilds.
Ford Bronco Sport Badlands edition, four-door SUV
Price as tested: $40,199 (base) / $45,349 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder, turbocharged
Power/Torque: 250 hp/277 lb-ft
Fuel Mileage: 8-11 l/100 kms, overall
Drivetrain: 4X4 system providing up to seven drive modes, lockable rear differential, eight-speed automatic, 3.81 to 1 final drive ratio, 16-inch disc brakes, McPherson strut and coil spring front suspension, double lateral link rear suspension, suspension travel 7.44 inches, ground clearance 8.6 inches, 235/65R-17 tires.
Wheelbase: 2669-mm, 105.1-inches
Weight: 1684 kg, 3,713 pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 60 liters
Passenger volume: 2993 liters, 105.7 cubic feet
Cargo volume: behind second row seats, 832 liters (29.4 cubic feet), behind first row seats, 1716 liters (60.6 cubic feet)
Trailer towing: 2,200 pounds