- 2021 Ford Bronco Sport ($27,215 – $39,995)
- Trim reviewed: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition
- Best Small SUV of 2021 – J.D. Power
- Pro: A comfortable and rugged SUV for daily driving and adventuring
- Con: The steering can feel a little vague and unresponsive
After spending a week getting to know the Baby Bronco to provide a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport review, it shouldn’t be called the baby at all. Sure, the larger Ford Bronco is more capable, but the compact Bronco Sport holds its own on and off the pavement.
The Bronco Sport features an attractive boxy design that’s similar to the larger Bronco. However, it’s based on the Ford Escape to provide enhanced road manners and an improved fuel economy.
Each trim comes with standard all-wheel drive, which is an excellent perk for various adventurers. This SUV provides plenty of ground clearance, off-road traction settings, and optional off-roading upgrades, allowing you to easily customize the ride you want.
It’s the perfect option for those with an active lifestyle. The interior is durable, with enough space for mountain bikes and other gear. Plus, the cargo area can be transformed into a mobile basecamp. However, those looking for a sportier and more refined ride may want to consider other options.
Which Ford Bronco Sport trim is best?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is offered in five different trim levels:
- Base – $28,710
- Big Bend – $30,215
- Outer Banks – $34,355
- Badlands – $34,885
- First Edition – $39,995
One of the most coveted aspects of the Bronco Sport includes its off-roading prowess. Therefore, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands serves as the most valuable trim. Sure, it may be a little more expensive, but it includes more power and capability.
Alonge with the more powerful 245 hp turbo-four engine, you get an upgraded all-wheel drive system with a rear differential, lifted suspension, and enhanced dampers. Underbody skid plates, front tow hooks, rubberized flooring, and a forward-looking 180-degree camera system are also included.
Ford only made 2,000 units of the Bronco Sport First Edition. Unfortunately, they are all sold out. It includes all of the off-roading upgrades included with the Badlands trim and the more luxurious interior aspects from the Outer Banks model.
Extra features with the First Edition include:
- The wireless phone charging pad
- 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system
- Class II tow hitch receiver
- Trailer sway control
- Roof rack crossbars
- Larger all-terrain tires
The Bronco Sport looks confident
At first glance, the Ford Bronco Sport looks a little cute. It’s reminiscent of the older Ford Escape with a boxy frame. Only it looks a little longer and more capable. As you continue looking at the Bronco Sport, its rugged capabilities become more apparent.
The grille and headlights match the larger Ford Bronco models, and the all-terrain tires add some confident flair. Plus, the BRONCO lettering across the grille lets you know that this SUV means business, and it’s accented with a suave two-tone paint job that includes a black roof.
Is the Ford Bronco Sport’s interior nice?
You may notice that the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport includes more value than expected. The interior is surprisingly spacious, especially in the front row. Taller drivers will appreciate the amount of headspace. The Bronco easter eggs prevent it from feeling bland.
The second row is a little tight with limited leg space, and the upright seating position may cause fatigue on longer drives. The backseat is recommended for shorter passengers and four average-sized adults will fit comfortably.
You’ll find that the layout places everything in reach. You can easily reach the infotainment system and other controls. The wireless charging pad is placed in a convenient tray in front of the center console.
The interior features luxurious yet durable materials. It doesn’t feel cheap, and it seems easy to clean, especially with the rubberized flooring. LED lights are included in the rear gate to provide overhead lighting, and the built-in bottle opener is a nice touch. Plus, there’s a storage bin under the backseat.
How comfortable is the Bronco Sport?
The Ford Bronco Sport serves as a comfortable daily driver. The large seats are well-padded and supportive. They include plenty of adjustability for drivers of various shapes and sizes. The backseat is cozy as well but lacks adjustment features.
Despite having the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (H.O.S.S.), the Bronco Sport provides a smooth ride. Generally, off-roading vehicles are stiff and jittery. However, only larger impacts jostle the Bronco Sport.
Due to the upright, boxy design, there is a bit of wind noise at higher speeds. However, you can still easily maintain conversations without raising your voice.
How is the Bronco Sport’s tech?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has a modern feel, despite being equipped with older Ford Sync 3 software. Each model comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. The graphics could be updated even though they look fine, and the system works quickly and efficiently.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. However, other models such as the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E offer wireless connectivity. The Bang & Olufsen audio system sounds crisp and clear.
You can opt for built-in navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio. Voice commands are easily understood. The forward-facing camera makes it easy to see upcoming obstacles.
How much space does the Ford Bronco Sport have?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport provides 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 65.2 cubes total. The high roof allows you to store bikes and other taller items with ease. Also, the seats fold flat.
There is an average amount of space for smaller items. The center console is deep, but it’s not very wide. The zippered pockets on the back of the front seats feel a little limited. You can hang various tools on the netting, which is very useful.
The Badlands and First Edition models include a storage cubby under the rear seat. The backseat has plenty of room for child seats, however, the narrow door openings could make installing them tricky.
One weak point includes the fact that the Bronco Sport can only tow up to 2,205 lbs. Rivals like the Toyota RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 lbs.
How does the Ford Bronco Sport perform?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is available with two different engine options:
- The turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine provides 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque.
- The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque.
The base engine isn’t exactly underpowered, but the more powerful option ups the fun with a peppy acceleration. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.2 seconds, which is average for the class.
On the highway, the steering and handling can feel a little unresponsive, which doesn’t provide the best engagement. However, using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters spices things up.
The transmission shifts can be jerky at lower speeds, and there was more body roll than expected around sharp curves. The Bronco Sport does feel well-planted and confident, although the brakes are a little soft.
On a positive note, the Bronco Sport is agile and easy to maneuver. Parking in tight spaces is a breeze. The large windows provide tons of visibility, and the camera views display everything around the vehicle.
The Ford Bronco Sport gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and up to 28 mpg on the highway. This is average for the class.
Some drivers may prefer to turn off a few of the standard safety features. The lane-departure warning can be a little overly sensitive and jerky. But the stop-and-go system performs well. The engine quickly restarts without hesitation at stops and red lights.
Is the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport good for off-roading?
Once the Bronco Sport made it to the woods, it really shined. It had more than enough power to confidently handle steep inclines covered in dirt, leaves, rocks, and other slippery debris. It felt extremely confident on gravel roads too.
The Bronco Sport has between 7.8 to 10.2 inches of ground clearance, depending on the trim. It’s equipped with a fully independent front strut and multi-link suspension.
The automatic 4×4 system quickly determines how much power should be sent to the rear wheels. If you lock the 4×4 system, you can feel the increase in control. The Go Over Any Terrain (G.O.A.T) modes include Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery, and Sand modes.
The Trail Control mode serves as an off-roading cruise control system. The selected speed can be adjusted up to 20 mph for controlled movement while climbing and descending obstacles. The infotainment system displays the differential status, tire pressure, and camera views to help you navigate tricky situations.
How reliable is the Ford Bronco Sport?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has a predicted reliability rating of two out of five from Consumer Reports. But this data is based on issues reported on the Ford Escape. The Bronco Sport is a little too new to judge. However, it does share multiple components with the Escape, including the same platform.
So far, there have been six recalls for the Bronco Sport for issues involving the moonroof, fuel system, two suspension issues, and a powertrain problem. Ford is correcting these problems at no cost to owners.
The Ford Bronco Sport warranty and maintenance coverage includes:
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance is included
How safe is the Bronco Sport?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is incredibly safe. It earned five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s also an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+.
It earned an overall superior safety rating after passing each crash safety test with high scores. However, the child seat anchors received an Acceptable rating because the anchor could be confused with other hardware and the lower anchors are deep in the seats.
Standard safety features include:
- Automated emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keeping assist
You can opt for adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport an expert rating of 7.8
The MotorBiscuit editors have provided an expert rating of 7.8 for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. This little SUV is impressive with tons of potential. It’s perfect for hitting the trails for outdoor activities and serves as a comfortable and convenient daily driver.
However, the Bronco Sport could benefit from a more engaging ride quality and enhanced tech. While it has a stout acceleration, the handling is lackluster. Also, it offers plenty of space but has a disappointing towing capacity.