2021 Ford Bronco Sport – Much more than just a “Baby Bronco” | First Drive

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is not simply a “Baby Bronco”. It’s much more than that, in fact, and it’s much better than we expected it to be. We spent a few hours driving a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands in Hungry Valley. This is a great spot for off-road driving in California, and the Bronco Sport gobbled it all up with ease.

Inside, we were comfortable and outside the Bronco Sport wasn’t even breaking a sweat. The Badlands get a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. There’s a smaller engine available but you’re going to want to just jump right to the Badlands, as it gets upgraded suspension and off-road capability over the lower trims. You’ll spend at least $32,660 to do so, but we’re here to tell you it’s the one to get.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is a great addition to the Bronco family. And it shows that the full-size Bronco should be amazing in the dirt.

[Disclaimer: Ford invited us to drive the Bronco Sport and gave us food and coffee.]

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11 responses to “2021 Ford Bronco Sport – Much more than just a “Baby Bronco” | First Drive”

  1. Zentropy Avatar

    It’s… fine. I’m not interested in it at all, but it’s fine. It seems genuinely good for what it is, and I don’t doubt that many people will find it perfectly capable for their needs.

    What’s not “fine” in my opinion is that it’s called a Bronco. From a marketing perspective it’s an admittedly smart move, because with the name, this crossover will ride the coattails of the real Bronco. That association will contribute to more sales, but I think it dilutes the brand. It’s akin to if Jeep had named the Renegade “Wrangler Lite” or something. Preserve your heritage, Ford, don’t devalue it.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Or if Land Rover had made a Discovery Sport or Ranger Rover Sport. Imagine that..

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        In the case of the Disco Sport, I would agree, that’s a similar move and in my opinion a bad one. The Range Rover Sport, however, wasn’t a dilution of the RR, just an extension of it.

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      We already have Mustang Mach-E – this seems far less egregious.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        I think both are bad moves. The Mach-E could successfully stand on it’s own without the Mustang tie-in. The baby Bronco Sport I think will benefit from the Bronco badge, but I don’t think it’s good for the name.

        Just my opinion. I mean, ultimately it’s just a name, and both Mustang and Bronco are Ford’s property to apply however it sees fit. However, a good brand name is hard to come by, and shouldn’t be squandered. It can take several years or even decades to build, but only one model to ruin. Looking back, I’m surprised “Mustang” survived to see the 80s. I don’t think “Bronco Sport” will do as much damage as “Mustang II”, but I don’t think it’s good for the badge.

    3. neight428 Avatar

      They should have gone with Bronco III, but that would confuse people that don’t remember the II.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        They could have gone with Bronco II just to annoy the people who remember the II, along the lines of Lincoln recycling the Mk III, IV, and V designations.

    4. Maymar Avatar

      Has there ever been a truly great car actually rendered worthless by sharing a nameplate with some excessively mediocre variants though? As far as I’m concerned, a proper good car can stand on its own merits, whether they call it a Bronco or a Utopian Turtletop.

      Plus, the Bronco nameplate also has a bit of a tortured history. It spent half its life as a cult offroader that no one bought, followed by being an F150 wagon, and there was that period where you could get the Bronco II, which pretty much everyone hated until you couldn’t get many real SUV’s anymore. It’s been inconsistent enough, and I’m not sure the new big Bronco is really a spiritual successor to either heritage (although can concede that if the OG followed similar evolution to the Wrangler, the new one makes sense).

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        “…a truly great car actually rendered worthless by sharing a nameplate with some excessively mediocre variants…”

        See, now you’re just asking for trouble from the Cosworth Vega Owners Association.

        1. Lokki Avatar

          I was thinking Pontiac Lemans. An argument can also be made if one compares the 1957,1967, and 1987 Thunderbirds.

  2. neight428 Avatar

    This is the kind of vehicle that I would be pleasantly surprised to get as a rental instead of a Nissan Rogue and remain ignorant as to whether it drove any better or worse than said Rogue. I would look up off-road trails in the area where I rented it, and then never actually visit them.