2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Updated: May 26
This week we are reviewing the Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks. Our vehicle was assembled at the Hermosillo Stamping plant in Mexico and has an MSRP of $41,599.00 CAD.
Fun Factor: 7
Can it Family: 7
Karaoke Friendly: 7
City Cruising: 8
Right of the bat, we have to confess that we weren't sure how the Bronco Sport would live up to its nameplate especially being in the shadow of its bigger brother, the Bronco. Sure other manufacturers have attempted to slap on off-road prowess on an SUV with questionable capabilities before. Was it the case here? How can a vehicle based on a platform shared with the Ford Escape and the European Ford Focus be any good off-road? Indeed we were mighty surprised when we got it dirty. The suspension articulation made it quite comfortable over ruff terrain; handling was excellent too. The Bronco Sport offers 2 engines, the base engine being a 1.5L EcoBoost inline-3 and the more powerful engine being a 2.0L EcoBoost only offered in the Badlands. We got to test the 1.5L EcoBoost engine, and it returned an acceptable 181hp and 190lb-ft of torque. While those numbers might seem low for a vehicle this size, it never felt slow to get off its feet; what does help is that the four-wheel-drive system gets it quickly off the line. This engine struggles when rapid acceleration is needed, it will require patience before it takes momentum.
Can it family? Of course, it can; headroom is excellent for passengers. The same can be said for the back row, thanks to the stepped roof. Seats for the driver and co-pilot aren't ideal if you are taller, as the thigh support of the seat feels a little short to find a comfortable position. The materials used inside the cabin are easy to clean and follow the outdoor styling of the vehicle. We enjoyed two little quirks: the bottle opener beside the liftgate opening and the optional tray table that gave us the long-lost feeling of eating at a restaurant table. Finally, our 3 kids, with one of them being in a car seat, felt comfortable enough to be sitting there on longer journeys.
On the Hwy, the little 1.5L EcoBoost has no trouble getting up to speed; however, when it comes to overtaking, this is where the small displacement shows its limits. If you consider using the Bronco Sport mainly as a Hwy cruiser, the 2.0L engine found in the Badlands might be the better option for your needs as it gives additional assurance. Rear visibility is average due to the C & D pillars setup. Ford has equipped the vehicle with blind-spot monitoring that we found worked well. Additionally, all Ford Bronco Sport are equipped with Ford's Co-Pilot360, not needing to upgrade to a higher trim.
The average fuel economy observed was 9.2L/100km during our 500km test. In the city, we averaged 9.9L/100km and 8.3L/100km on the Hwy. While we conducted our test, exterior temperature oscillated between +2 and +15c. Ford announces the following fuel economy: 8.9L/100km combined, 9.3L/100km in the city, and 8.3L/100km on the Hwy. The Bronco Sport with the 1.5L is excellent on fuel economy on any country road and in the city, and if you're not in a rush on the Hwy where we were able to dip below 7.0L/100km by sticking to the speed limit.
The Bronco Sport is equipped with Ford's Sync 3 and is easy to use; climate controls have physical buttons making for easy adjustments. We found that the air conditioning system works efficiently to cool the cabin rapidly. The optional 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system isn't one of our favourites; it lacks bass even though the system has a subwoofer. While certain genres may sound better on this system, it may be disappointing for those who like EDM. Ford has packaged it interestingly with the power moonroof and giving you the possibility to charge your smartphone wirelessly. You'll need to wait for Ford Sync 4 to have the possibility to have Apple Car Play and Android Auto wirelessly; for now, you'll still need a cable to get these services.
Thanks to the doors opening wide enough, getting cars seat in and out was simple. The installation was a little bit more difficult as the latches are hidden underneath the seats. In certain cases, an added difficulty is the low visibility of the latches we went beyond the ports. Front-facing seats didn't hinder too much space of the passenger sitting in front. As for rear-facing car seats, you'll need to expect to lose some of the coziness for passengers in front. The door handles of the Bronco Sport are easy to use for children; even though they're high, kids may not need help opening them. Belt buckles are easy to grab; the only difficulty we saw was in combination with a booster seat because the latches are located well inside the seats.
In the city, the Bronco Sport feels easy to maneuver, and fuel consumption for such a big vehicle with AWD is relatively low. The suspension works like a charm over ruff surfaces or potholes. Although the Bronco Sport has a boxy shape, we had no trouble parking the vehicle. The elevated hood slightly obstructs front visibility over the hood.
Why would we buy the Ford Bronco Sport, or what we liked about it? While it's not the big Bronco, we see no problem going off-road with it, and all the amenities it offers, such as a glass door opening in the trunk or a tray table, make it ideal for people going on camping trips with the family. Excellent handling; we can't say how much we were surprised by this. The fact that all Bronco Sport trims come with AWD. Ford Co-Pilot360 comes standard.
Why would we not buy the Ford Bronco Sport or what we did not like about it? Some of the difficulties we saw installing car seats make it less interesting for people who need to switch car seats. The sound system is an unfortunate letdown for an overall good vehicle.
Ford has lent us this vehicle one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Ford Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.