2021 Ford Bronco Sport slots in under its big brother
While the new 2021 Ford Bronco is squarely aimed at taking on the big gun, the Jeep Wrangler, Ford launched another member to the family with a different aim. The 2021 Bronco Sport is a smaller crossover wearing the Bronco badge, locking horns with the smaller Jeeps like the Compass Trailhawk and a large list of other competitors.
Though the 2021 Ford Bronco shares the name and many design elements with the big Bronco, let them not misguide you. It is no brute off-roader. In fact, it is a monocoque crossover based on the Ford Escape’s platform. But Ford has dropped in a bunch of off-road gadgetry to make sure that the Bronco Sport earns its name. This will also help the Sport stand out at least a bit in the monotonous expanse of road-focused crossover SUVs in the market.
Speaking of standing out, that is one thing that Bronco Sport does very well. Though it is walking into a huge group of achingly similar cars, the Bronco Sport brings in a macho design, inspired by its bigger brother. Size-wise, it neatly fits in between the compact EcoSport and the Escape, exactly where the volumes are. The headlamps, grill, rounded wheel arches and tail lamps resemble the Bronco while the stepped roof reminds us of the old now-defunct offroaders such as the Nissan Xterra and the Land Rover LR4.
Inside, the 2021 Bronco Sport shares some bits and bobs with the Escape but Ford has worked well to disguise it. The steering wheel wears the Bucking Bronco logo in place of the Blue Oval. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is also offered. The interior of the Bronco Sport also focuses on practicality with a bunch of cubby holes and storage spaces. The cargo space is made more versatile due to the raised roof, gobbling up two mountain bikes. There is an optional cargo management system that can be used to organize the cargo space in five ways or fold out into a usable table. Other add-ons include a 400-watt inverter and powerful floodlights. Ford has even included a neat little bottle opener. Nifty, that.
The 2021 Bronco Sport is offered in five trims and a limited edition. The trims are Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and the limited First Edition, adding more equipment in that order. The Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with 181 hp of power and 257 Nm of torque. The top-end Badlands and the limited First Edition (limited to just 2000 units) arrive with a turbocharged 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine packing 245 hp and 372 Nm. Both these engines are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Though the Bronco Sport is based on a monocoque platform, Ford has given it some equipment so that it too can go kick some dirt and do some soft off-roading. All-Wheel-Drive is standard on all trims and different GOAT (Goes Over Any Terrain) off-road driving modes are offered depending on the trim. All trims get Normal, Eco, Slippery and Sand modes while the Badlands and First Edition add Mud/Ruts and Rocks to the list. A trick rear-drive unit with lockable differential is also tossed in for better capability. Wheel rim options range from 17-inches to 18-inches while the First Edition and Badlands get 28.5-inch off-road tyres shod on steel wheels. The towing capacity of the trims with the bigger engine is rated at 1000 kg while the other trims can tow just over 900 kg.
The 2021 Bronco Sport is not cheap. In fact, the Base trim starts at US$ 28,155 (Dhs 103,414) in the United States, US$ 5000 more than the Jeep Compass AWD Sport. The fully kitted-out Badlands cost US$ 34,155 (Dhs 125,452) while the limited First Edition will set you back by US$ 39,995(Dhs 146,903). The Bronco Sport will start reaching U.S. showrooms before its bigger brother by the end of this year, and we expect a UAE and GCC debut by the summer of 2021. It does bring a bit of muscle to the erstwhile boring crowd of crossovers, but the pricing is quite premium. It remains to be seen if the model is a runaway success like the full-fat Bronco is expected to be.