• The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco’s Not-So-Rugged Little Brother

The Ford Bronco Sport is a Baby Bronco with stylish looks

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Ford just took the off-road SUV market by storm with the Bronco, reviving the iconic nameplate after almost 25 years. Although it captured all the hype, the Bronco isn’t the only SUV that Ford introduced today. It also launched the Bronco Sport, a slightly smaller crossover aimed at vehicles that aren’t as rugged as the Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco Sport also boasts vintage styling cues inspired by the original Bronco, but it looks decidedly more modern. The Bronco Sport is based on the Escape, but it’s more capable off the beaten path, and it looks better. Let’s find out more about it below.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is an Escape-sized Explorer with retro design cues

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While the regular Bronco is a boxy SUV that brings the traditional Bronco design into the 21st century, the Bronco Sport is a different kind of vehicle. Sure, it’s still boxy when compared to most compact crossovers out there and boasts a similar front end with round lights flanking the Bronco-badged grille, but it looks different from other angles. Check out the profile, and you’ll notice how the Bronco Sport is basically a downsized Explorer. It misses the beltline that runs across the doors and the front fender, but the C-pillar and the quarter window have a similar design. Of course, everything looks a bit more rugged on the Bronco Sport, but it’s pretty obvious that Ford made efforts to integrate this model into its regular SUV lineup.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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The rear end is also notably different than the Bronco. While the boxy SUV features a tailgate that opens to the side, the Bronco Sport comes with a tailgate that’s hinged at the top. That’s a fairly common design on modern crossovers. It also misses the rear-mounted spare tire and features different taillights. The Bronco sports Wrangler-style lights that are basically mounted onto the body, whereas the Bronco Sport boasts the modern approach with taillights perfectly integrated into the bodywork.

As far as dimensions go, the Bronco Sport is much smaller than the Bronco. Granted, at 172.7 inches long, the Bronco Sport is only two inches shorter than the two-door Bronco. But the Sport is a four-door vehicle, so it’s best to compare it to the four-door Bronco. The latter is 189.4 inches long, so the Bronco Sport is a notable 16.7 inches shorter. The wheelbase comes in at 105.1 inches, which makes it 11 inches shorter than the four-door Bronco. Height is actually similar to these SUVs, but the Bronco Sport can be up to five inches narrower, depending on which Bronco trim we use for the comparison.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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The Bronco Sport is also smaller than the Escape it is based on. It’s 7.8 inches shorter overall and features a 1.6-inch shorter wheelbase. It is marginally wider, though, and stands five inches taller, which makes sense given the boxier design.

So, where does it fit compared to what Jeep has to offer? Well, the Bronco Sport is somewhere between the Renegade and the Compass. It’s a solid six inches longer and five inches taller than the Renegade, but it’s almost as big as the Compass. The latter is just 1.3 inches longer overall, but its wheelbase is 1.2 inches shorter. However, the Bronco Sport is 2.6 inches wider and some five inches taller.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport features a unique interior

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Interior
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Since it’s based on the Escape, it makes a lot of sense for the Bronco Sport’s interior to be based on the familiar crossover. But it’s not. Granted, the glove box cover and the steering wheel seem identical, but Ford actually crafted a new design for the Bronco Sport. And it’s not similar to the Bronco either. The Bronco’s dashboard looks decidedly boxy and rugged, which makes sense given its main target is the Jeep Wrangler, but the Bronco Sport appears to be a tad more refined.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Interior
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The vertical A/C vents in the center stack flank an eight-inch infotainment display that’s powered by Ford’s Sync 3 interface. The bigger Bronco comes standard with the new Sync 4 system, which is faster and easier to operate, but you do get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the Sport model. It’s also fitted with the Co-Pilot360 at no additional cost, a suite for driver assistance tech that includes the following:

  • forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • automatic emergency braking
  • blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning
  • lane-keeping assist
  • auto high beams

The instrument cluster is fitted with a digital screen between the rev counter and the speedo, and the photos suggest that leather interiors are available in the more expensive models.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport comes with loads of accessories

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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Just like the Bronco, the Bronco Sport will be offered with loads of accessories. Ford promises more than 100 "factory-backed and aftermarket" accessories, as well as four lifestyle accessory packages called Bike, Snow, Water, and Camping. Needless to say, these speak for themselves and will allow you to customize the crossover based on your needs.

The SUV also features a flip-glass rear window, a low-load floor cargo area, and an overlanding-ready roof rack that will enable you to mount a roof-top tent for camping. The optional Cargo Management System adds a slide-out working table, a 400-watt inverter, and liftgate floodlamps that will create an illuminated area of up to 129 square feet.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is available with two powertrains

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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Unlike the Bronco, which comes standard with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, the Sport model is fitted with the smaller, 1.5-liter inline-three. This turbocharged mill is rated at 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque and motivates the Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks trim levels. Opt of the range-topping Badlands and the limited First Edition trims and the three-pot is replaced by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that cranks out 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of twist. Both mills mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 4x4 system, although the latter might be an on-demand AWD setup.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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Just like the Bronco, the Bronco Sport comes standard with GOAT (Go Over ANy Terrain) models, which alter various drivetrain components and settings to tackle different terrain types. GOAT includes Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand modes as standard, but it also includes Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl setups on the Badlands and First Edition trims.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport reservations are now open

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the Bronco's Not-So-Rugged Little Brother Exterior
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Pricing for the Bronco Sport starts out at $26,600 and climbs to as high as $38,500 for the range-topping First Edition. Reservations are open now, and it will cost you a $100 refundable deposit to book one. Production starts in spring 2021, so deliveries will begin in the second quarter of the year.

Ford Bronco Sport Pricing
Bronco Sport Base $26,660
Bronco Sport Big Bend $28,160
Bronco Sport Outer Banks $32,160
Bronco Sport Badlands $32,660
Bronco Sport First Edition $38,500
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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