2021 Ford Bronco Sport Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jul 13, 2020
  • New small SUV designed for maximum utility and styled using Bronco heritage cues
  • Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels
  • Choice between two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines
  • Standard 4-wheel drive, with optional advanced system with greater capability
  • Lots of off-roading, safety, and infotainment technology
  • Competitors include Jeep Compass and Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek
  • On sale by the end of 2020

Introduction - Find the best Ford deals!

Based on the same platform as the Ford Escape, the new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a more capable small crossover SUV than most of its competitors but is not as raw and rugged as the midsize Bronco with which it shares a name. 

Engineered to Ford’s “Built Wild” standards of capability and durability (think Jeep’s “Trail Rated” designation but applied to Fords), the 2021 Bronco Sport comes in base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, and Badlands trim levels. A Bronco Sport First Edition is also available for a limited time and enhances the added off-roading capability of the Badlands version of the SUV.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Yellow Front View Driving in Dirt

Ford says the Bronco Sport will arrive in dealerships by the end of 2020. Reservations are open now on Ford’s consumer website, and you can claim your spot in line for just $100.

Exterior Features - Find the best Ford deals!

Like the original Escape that debuted 20 years ago, the new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a boxy and utilitarian small SUV that maximizes interior space. 

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Red Rear View Rooftop Tent Cargo Management System

Clear heritage design cues tie it to the larger midsize Bronco that is grabbing all of the attention, including the “cartridge-style” grille, round headlights, flat body sides, short overhangs, and fender peaks that make it easy to judge the Bronco Sport’s front corners from the driver’s seat.

Designed for off-road use, the Bronco Sport Badlands and First Edition supply significant ground clearance, water fording capability, and approach, breakover, and departure angles. Gray body protection encircles the SUV, and the serious off-roading versions get steel underbody bash plates to protect the mechanical components. 

Painted 17-inch steel wheels are standard with base trim, while others offer a selection 17-inch and 18-inch aluminum wheels. The Badlands sits on standard 28.5-inch all-terrain tires, while the First Edition has 29-inch all-terrain tires with deeper and more aggressive tread out to the sidewalls. Both of these models include a full-size spare tire.

Long, flat roof rails supply maximum carrying capability, and the Bronco Sport’s roof rack is designed to support roof-top tent camping. This little SUV also gets a handy flip-up rear window to access the cargo area without raising the liftgate.

Interior Features - Find the best Ford deals!

Thanks to the Bronco Sport’s stepped Safari-style roof design, the SUV supplies maximum headroom and cargo space. With the rear seat folded down, Ford says the cargo area is specifically designed to hold two 27-inch mountain bikes standing up. In support of this mission, a Yakima interior bike rack is available as an accessory.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Dashboard

Ford equips the Bronco Sport with MOLLE straps for gear, zippered seatback pockets, and a built-in bottle opener in the cargo area. Badlands and First Edition versions are available with rubber flooring in the cabin and cargo area, silicone-sealed switchgear, and easy-clean cloth seats. A storage bin is located under the rear seat, perfect for securing muddy or wet gear.

Optional Features - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford offers an optional Cargo Management System for the Bronco Sport, giving owners five different configurations including a slide-out table. A 400-watt inverter is also available, and LED floodlights embedded into the liftgate come in handy after dark, illuminating 129 square feet of area around the back of the vehicle.

Additionally, more than 100 factory-backed aftermarket accessories are ready to transport gear and support your active lifestyle. Choose them a la carte, or select accessory bundles with names like Bike, Snow, Water, and Camping.

Under the Hood - Find the best Ford deals!

Keeping in mind that the new 2021 Bronco Sport is a small SUV, its turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine generates an estimated 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is standard with base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks trim, and it can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

With Badlands and First Edition trim, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is good for an estimated 245 hp and 275 lb.-ft. This engine can tow up to 2,200 lbs. and includes a more robust cooling system for improved performance when off-roading.

Both engines are paired to an 8-speed automatic, and the Badlands and First Edition also get shift paddles for improved control of the powertrain.

Four-wheel drive is standard for every Bronco Sport. Badlands and First Edition versions get an advanced 4WD system with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit and a differential lock, which can direct nearly all of the power sent to the rear axle to a single rear wheel for maximum traction.

A standard Terrain Management traction control system equips the Bronco Sport with Normal, Eco, Sport, and Slippery and Sand driving modes. The Badlands and First Edition add Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes to the menu. In Rock Crawl, the SUV’s steering recalibrates for more precise control and reduced steering wheel movement over rocky terrain. The maximum crawl ratio measures 18:1.

Ford offers its Trail Control technology for the Bronco Sport. Trail Control is an off-roading cruise control system that works at speeds up to 20 mph (6 mph when reversing), automatically managing acceleration and braking while the driver focuses on steering and navigating through difficult terrain. An available front camera with a lens washer helps in such situations, providing a better view forward with a live video feed displayed on the SUV’s infotainment system.

Ford employs a 4-wheel independent suspension beneath the Bronco Sport. Naturally, the Badlands and First Edition get unique tuning for a smoother off-roading experience and greater wheel articulation, and these models supply the maximum 8.8 inches of ground clearance and 23.6 inches of water fording capability. Four steel bash plates protect vulnerable mechanical parts, and frame-mounted tow hooks are available, able to withstand static loads amounting to 100% of the Bronco Sport’s gross vehicle weight.

Safety - Find the best Ford deals!

Every 2021 Bronco Sport will include Ford Co-Pilot360, a collection of driving assistance and collision avoidance systems that includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Two upgrade packages are available for the Bronco Sport. With Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+, the Bronco Sport gains adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, a lane-centering assistance system, and evasive steering assistance. 

A Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 system installs a more sophisticated intelligent adaptive cruise control and a speed-sign recognition system, both of which allow the SUV to automatically adapt vehicle speed to the route.

Technology - Find the best Ford deals!

When the new 2021 Bronco Sport goes on sale at the end of 2020, it will offer Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Upgrades include Alexa compatibility, SiriusXM satellite radio, navigation, and a premium sound system sourced from high-end audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen.

Ford is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of July 13, 2020 but may have changed since that date.

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