The newest Ford Bronco family is comprised of three SUVs. The first two are mechanically-related to the Ranger pickup and are available as a two-door or four-door SUV. Completing the newest Bronco triumvirate is the 2021 Bronco Sport. The Sport version is a four-door, five-seat crossover with a unibody chassis.
With that being said, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the soft-roader of the trio. But if you look closer, it has the chops to conquer rougher terrain like its more rugged two-door and four-door brethren. And while the ladder frame-based Bronco is hogging all the attention, we figure the Bronco Sport might end up being the sales winner.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is built on Ford’s C2 platform underpinning the Escape and Focus. But unlike both, the Bronco Sport is equipped with standard all-wheel-drive. Although the hardware is not as extreme as in the larger Bronco, Ford is offering an available twin-clutch rear-drive 4×4 system with a differential lock. It allows the drivetrain to perform torque vectoring between the left and right rear wheels for better stability, handling, and traction on any terrain.
So yeah, the Bronco Sport is a crossover, much like the Jeep Compass and Subaru Crosstrek. It has 8.8 inches of ground clearance, 7.4 and 8.1 inches of suspension travel front and back, and a 105.7-inch wheelbase to send shivers down the spine of Jeep’s Cherokee Trailhawk. Plus, the Bronco Sport can stride through nearly two feet of water. It’s a crossover alright, but the Bronco Sport is a more rugged type of crossover.
There’s more. The new Bronco Sport comes with up to seven G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) modes including Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Mud and Ruts, and Rock Crawl. Ford is offering an available trail control feature that functions like a low-speed cruise control system.
Here’s the catch: Most crossover buyers do the majority of their driving on the street, and the Bronco Sport is expected to be comfier on the tarmac than its bigger brother. And with no less than five trim levels to choose from, it seems Ford is really pushing the narrative that the Bronco Sport offers a little something for everyone, even those who never venture off-road.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport: Engine & Powertrain
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is available with two engines. Base and mid-tier versions receive a gutsy 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft. of torque. Higher trim models make good use of Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-banger with 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque.
Both engines have an eight-speed automatic transmission. The larger mill comes with paddle shifters and auxiliary transmission and rear-drive coolers to help cope with towing and payloads.
You’ll be surprised to know the Escape has a higher 3,500 lbs. towing capacity. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is good for 2,000 to 2,200 lbs., depending on the trim. The maximum payload is 1,000 lbs.
Built for Everyday Adventures
Ford engineers went the extra mile to outfit the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport with unique gadgets. For example, the liftgate has available LED floodlamps to illuminate the campsite. Also present is a 400-watt power inverter, a bottle opener, and interior handles big enough to hang and dry a towel. A standard Molle strap system behind the seats and a rear-seat storage tray will help keep your belongings safe.
There’s also an adjustable multi-level load floor with a slide-out table. According to Ford, the Bronco Sport is available with upwards of 100 accessories and up to four outdoorsy themes: Snow, Water, Camping, and Biking.
Standard in the new Bronco Sport is an eight-inch touchscreen with SYNC 3, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa connectivity, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and Sirius XM. Also standard is Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 safety suite, which includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning, among many others.
Similar to the two and four-door Bronco, the Sport has round headlamps, clean body lines, a one-piece grille, and signature BRONCO front graphic. Viewed from the sides, the Bronco Sport has the aura of a 1990’s Land Rover Freelander with its vertically oriented rear haunches and stepped roofline. Overall, it’s not as mean-looking as the Ranger-based Broncos, but the Sport is oozing with some adventure-ready DNA.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Trim Levels
2021 Ford Bronco Sport: Pricing & Availability
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport base model starts at $28,155. The Big Bend trim is at $29,655, while the Outer Banks begins at $33,655. The most capable, off-road-ready Bronco Sport is the Badlands trim, starting at $34,155. It comes with an enhanced torque-vectoring system, lifted suspension, off-road shock absorbers, and 28.5-inch all-terrain tires.
The most expensive Bronco Sport is the First Edition Model. Limited to only 2,000 units, the Bronco Sport First Edition starts at $39,995 and comes with chunkier 29-inch off-road tires and premium interior touches. The reservation books are open for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, and you only need to make a $100 deposit to book your build slot.
The first deliveries will arrive later in 2020. All new Bronco Sport models are built at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.