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When looking for an SUV, Ford has some of the most competitive compact SUVs on the market. While the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport may seem like the front-runner in many areas, there may be one Ford model that has it beat when it comes to fuel economy.

Excitement for the Bronco Sport’s debut has been palpable. This ‘mini’ Bronco slots in toward the bottom of Ford’s lineup, and it directly competes with the 2021 Ford Escape. When you buy a Ford, you’re purchasing a stylish slice of Americana, but you want to make sure you can afford it before signing on the dotted line. While the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport may be the more exciting choice, the Ford Escape is proving to outshine its competition in the fuel-economy arena.  

Compact SUVs are known for excellent gas mileage, but which one actually provides you with the most without sacrificing style and comfort? How does the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport measure up against the Ford Escape, and is fuel-economy the deciding factor in which compact SUV comes out on top? 

Why is a vehicle’s fuel economy important?

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport on display in a wooded area
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport on display | Photo via Ford

Buying a vehicle is already a considerable expense. Even if you are leasing, saddling yourself with a car payment is always something that must be done under careful consideration. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room for many people when it comes to just how much you can spend on your car per month. And sometimes, buyers forget to factor in fuel-efficiency, which can be problematic if you need to watch your budget.

Thankfully, compact SUVs like the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport are affordable and fuel-efficient. However, every extra MPG that a vehicle gets can save you hundreds of dollars down the line.

EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings of the 2021 Bronco Sport raise an eyebrow

CNET reported the 2021 Bronco Sport’s fuel economy rating based on information from a window sticker on Ford’s website. The first numbers stated are for models equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This setup achieves an EPA-estimated 25/28/25 MPG city/highway/combined. 

While not terrible news, these numbers are somewhat lackluster. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is based upon the same platform as the Ford Escape. However, the Escape earned an EPA-estimated 26/31/28 MPG when equipped with the same setup during the 2020 model year.

Both vehicles also offer an available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Bronco Sport gets an EPA-estimated 21/26/23 MPG with this powertrain. Meanwhile, the Escape returns an EPA-estimated 23/31/26 MPG.

Is the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport worth the hype?

The Escape will undoubtedly have more appeal to budget-conscious shoppers. However, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the more exciting option between the two.

The Bronco Sport doesn’t offer the same capability as the regular Bronco, but it is still reasonably rugged. Every trim comes standard with a 4×4 system, a terrain management system, and an off-road suspension. Meanwhile, adding the available all-wheel-drive system to the 2021 Ford Escape will cost you an extra $1,500. Plus, the Escape won’t perform nearly as well off-road.

Those who live an active lifestyle, or who just want to experience one of Ford’s newest entries, would be better off with the Bronco Sport.


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