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Rugged SUVs like the Ford Bronco Sport are supposed to make the drivers feel like they can take on off-road challenges. The reality is that is only true to a certain extent. Just because a vehicle may have some off-road capabilities does not mean it can handle any situation regardless of the driver’s skill. That is why every year, there are countless situations in which cars and people have to be rescued from mountain trails because they got in over their heads by accident or on purpose.

Unfortunately, a similar situation happened to a woman, her passenger, and a dog in San Miguel county when she attempted to traverse a challenging mountain path in her Ford Bronco Sport. According to a report from the Durango Herald, she was seriously injured when she drove her Ford up Black Bear Pass.

The local deputies stated that the 23-year-old driver was driving the wrong way up a one-way section of the pass. Eventually, the driver and passenger stopped at a switchback with the passenger getting out of the Ford Bronco Sport to act as a spotter so that the driver could turn around. When the driver was backing up the Bronco, two wheels went up the embankment high enough to throw the Ford Bronco off balance, causing it to roll. Once the Ford Bronco Sport started to roll it tumbled 400 feet down the side of the pass.

As the Bronco Sport rolled down the mountain, the driver, the dog, and the engine were all ejected from the vehicle before it came to a stop. The driver was seriously injured, but the dog only had minor injuries, which a veterinarian treated. No hikers or other bystanders were in the area when the crash occurred.

Black Bear Pass is considered a hazardous road meant only for very experienced off-road drivers with properly equipped off-road vehicles. It is the kind of road that a novice driver should never go near.

“Black Bear Pass is an extremely dangerous road & should only be driven by experienced off-road drivers in appropriate vehicles. Legally, a 16yr-old who got his DL hours prior, may try to drive the pass in grandma’s 80’s sedan. That doesn’t mean it’s safe,” said the San Miguel Sheriff.

Can the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport go off-road?

2021 Ford Bronco Sport in Cyber Orange color
Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

What Is the Most Extreme Off-Roading Vehicle?

You might be thinking that the woman’s Ford Bronco Sport should have been able to handle the dangerous mountain pass with relative ease. The Ford Bronco Sport is designed for off-roading, isn’t it? Well, not exactly. There is a crucial distinction between the Ford Bronco and the Ford Bronco Sport. The Ford Bronco has several options that make it a competent off-road vehicle, including a 4×4 drivetrain with on-demand engagement, low-range transfer case, electronic locking differentials, and disconnecting sway bar for increased articulation at the wheels.

It is so capable that a stock Ford Bronco with the factory “Sasquatch” package can tackle the challenging “Hell’s Gate” rock climb backward.

The Ford Bronco Sport, however, is a different story. It is easy to think that the Bronco Sport is a more capable vehicle than the Bronco since they add the word “Sport” at the end. Though, that is not exactly the case.

The Ford Bronco Sport is built on a different chassis than the Ford Bronco, for starters. The Bronco Sport shares the same platform as the Ford Escape SUV and Ford Maverick truck. The Ford Bronco Sport does have some off-road capabilities and is available with a 4×4 drivetrain, but it does not have the additional features such as the low-range transfer case, front & rear locking differentials, or the disconnecting stabilizer bar.

The Ford Bronco Sport can handle beginner to intermediate off-road situations but not something as advanced as Black Bear Pass. Though, we can see how that would be an easy mistake to make for the uninitiated.

We think the moral of this story is to make sure you are entirely aware of your vehicle’s capabilities and your skill before taking on any off-road path.