By Randi Payton
Those of you old enough to remember, in 1993, the infamous Ford Bronco was watched by millions around the world during a 90-minute televised police chase of O.J. Simpson. After a 28-year hiatus, the Bronco returns to reclaim its fame.
The legendary Ford Bronco, discontinued in 1996 after a 30-year run, returned in 2021 with a broader assortment of models, including new two- and four-door Bronco SUVs with seven variants and a smaller Ford Bronco Sport in four configurations.
I got a chance to drive the Bronco Sport Badland First Edition around for a week and was impressed by its versatility and performance. Built on the Ford Escape platform, the Bronco Sport seats five passengers. Like the Jeep, its number one rival, the roof, and doors are removable. In addition, all models come with all-wheel drive (AWD), advanced off-road capabilities, and a choice between two turbocharged engines.
Visually, it has a stylish boxy shape, is loaded with the latest technologies and features on the inside. As a result, there is much more space inside than it appears. The seats will fold up on down to accommodate passengers or for more cargo space.
Despite the difference in style, The Bronco Sport also shares some of the same engine options, transmission, and safety features as the Ford Escape. However, the Bronco is slightly smaller than the Escape and has better off-road abilities than the roomier and lower-priced Escape.
Models/Price: The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is available in Base ($27,215 MSRP), Big Bend ($28,720), Outer Banks ($32,860), Badlands ($33,360), and the 2021 Bronco Sport First Edition which starts at $38,160 with a $1,495 destination and delivery charge.
The top-of-line Bronco Sport First Edition comes fully loaded with luxury materials, advanced safety tech, and more off-road capabilities.
Power/Performance: The Bronco Sport offers two engine options: A 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo that generates 181 horsepower or a 2-liter four-cylinder turbo Ecoboost engine that gets 245-horsepower. The 2.0-liter comes with paddle shifters, and both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: The EPA estimated MPG for the three-cylinder is 25 city/28 highway MPG. The four-cylinder averages 21 city/26 highway MPG.
Tech/Safety: Some of the features in the First Edition included automatic high beams, LED lighting, moonroof, roof rack, tow hooks, 60/40 rear folding seats, dual climate control, 6.5-inch LCD screen, 8-way power driver seats/6-way passenger, B&O 10 speaker sound system, Ford pass connect 4G Wi-Fi, remote start, reverse sensing, terrain management, off-road suspension, trailer control, and a wireless charging pad.
It also included many of the latest advanced safety assist and features, including Ford’s C0-Pilot 360, front 180-degree camera, reverse sensing. For on- and off-roading, the all-terrain 17-inch tires were optional.
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