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2021 Ford Bronco Sport: A Pioneer of the Post-Crossover/SUV Era?

A coin always has two sides. The traditional image of the Ford Bronco can be regarded this way: sturdiness, essential strength and ability to go far beyond the tarmac limits on one side, elementary design, unrefined travel contidions and rather poor on-road dynamic potential, on the other side. In 2021, the customers' preferences are certainly more demanding. Is it still possible to sell them a Bronco?
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The Ford Bronco is one of the massive pillars of the American automotive culture since 1965. Everybody welcomed its recent return in the guise of the 2021 Bronco as a serious off-roader (it uses the same ladder chassis as the next generation of the Ford Ranger trucks) with a prodigious neoclasic design.

Even if this kind of Bronco is able to respond to a wide range of difficult tasks, it doesn’t fit at all to the very trendy segment of the mainly road-use oriented compact crossover-SUVs. That’s why the management of the blue oval invented the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

You know the way they are making new cars nowadays: common collections of components and common technical platforms can be found under a customized design for the body and interior. You may not believe this at first sight, but the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport was made according to this recipe, starting from the C2 platform, already known from the Ford Escape.

This vehicle might be taken as a toy next to his endowed brother – the big and mighty Bronco, yet a toy that seems very pleasant to play with. Looking at it, you feel that the time for fun has come. Nobody should play with money, anyway. Time to see what we really got here...Ambiance
Using a ready-made technical platform means saving a lot of money regarding the conception and the development budget. On the other hand, it looks like Ford didn’t skimp about investing in design. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has a completely different style message than the Escape despite their technical kinship. Its image will make you think about a kind of military-spec rugged device rather than a compact crossover-SUV of the 2020s.

The dashboard is an outstanding design achievement. It seems a bit like some separately built modules (instrument cluster, multimedia system, heating-ventilation buttons) were bolted onto a solid basic structure. A perfect styling approach to justify a less aesthetically elaborated cabin while underlining its functional priorities.

Big screens are there, both for the instruments cluster and the infotainment device, so nobody could qualify this design as somehow obsolete. Also, this design approach is the perfect excuse for employing not really refined materials; everything you can see around inside the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport gives the impression it’s just the way it had to be.

Right now, there are five trim configurations available for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport: base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition. None of these aim for luxury, even if those with richer equipment also have some finely integrated style details. Conclusion: even if the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a special automobile, it is by no means an explicit luxury item.

Instead, much attention was paid to the practical side of this original car. When the rear backrests are folded, a couple of mountain bikes can be loaded in standing position in the cargo area. In addition to the necessary bundles to fasten the bikes, the offer includes more than 100 standalone accessories, so the owners may easily personalize the Bronco Sport according their own taste of adventure.Thrust and transmission
Expected consequence, because the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has the platform of the Escape under its body. In the engine compartment can be found specific variants of the 1.5 and 2.0 EcoBoost turbo mills. They are able to develop 181 hp (190 lb-ft/258 Nm) and, 245 hp (275 lb-ft/373 Nm), respectively. Both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

So, being equipped with the 1.5-liter engine, the Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks versions are addressed mainly to the young cross-country adventure enthusiasts and families enjoying the sporty kind of outdoor life.

Things are getting surprisingly serious when it comes to the 2.0-liter versions, available with the Badlands and First Edition trims. The time has come to mention what Ford has done to enhance the off-road abilities of the Bronco Sport in the case of the already mentioned couple of versions, drawing a clear line between it and the Escape.

The Badlands and First Edition pack an advanced AWD transmission, including a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a special kind of differential lock function. It can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel, which is actually better than what a traditional mechanical locking differential can do. In addition, the Bronco Sport's Terrain Management System with up to seven available G.O.A.T. (meaning “Greatest of All Time”) modes raises the off-road potential of the vehicle to a significant level.

Standard modes are Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand, while the Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes are available on Badlands and First Edition. These variants can wade through up to 23.6 inches (0.6 m) of water. Off-road capability is further reinforced by four steel bash plates, plus available frame-mounted front tow hooks that can individually withstand static loads up to 100 percent of the gross vehicle weight. Last, but not least: the Bronco Sport doesn’t have the typical suspension of the C2 platform, but a modified one, and its standard wheels wear 225/65-series all-season tires.What to pay for
The base 2021 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $26,820 MSRP. The Outer Banks, starting at $32,320, is the most refined of the so-called “standard capability” range. At $32,820 you can have the Badlands, equipped for off-road. They ask $38,500 for the First Edition – we can see it is a really nice car, yet this is a high price. If you want a family car with a special look and more than decent soft-road abilities, the Big Bend (starting at $28,320) will do the job.

We wouldn’t hesitate between the Outer Banks and the Badlands, their base prices being separated by only $500. Let the money go and you will get the complete thing, with the best it can offer in terms of off-road performance. That's the Badlands.

As you can see, our article ends here. We chopped the usual “instead” chapter simply because there is no proper alternative to the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport on the market right now. In fact, they took some risks pushing this small SUV so far toward the adventure territory, yet it seems this was a good idea.

 
 
 
 
 

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