Crossover & Midsize

The Ford Bronco Sport Finally Tried Off-Roading

Finally, after the internet has become flooded with 2021 Ford Bronco off-roading videos, the Ford Bronco Sport got a turn to prove its abilities. Now fans can truly gauge how the Ford Bronco Sport compares to the Jeep Renegade. 

The Ford Bronco Sport goes off-roading 

The Ford Bronco Sport has the adorable nickname of Baby Bronco because it wasn’t developed to have as much off-roading power as its siblings. It has a unibody frame and shares a platform with the family-friendly Ford Escape. 

2021 ford bronco sport models
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

RELATED: Did the Ford Bronco Sport Copy the Jeep Renegade?

You won’t find the solid rear axle, two-speed transfer case, 35″ all-terrain tires, or locking rear-differential that the two-door and four-door Broncos have. However, that doesn’t mean that the Bronco Sport isn’t ready to tackle the trails. 

The Ford Bronco Sport off-roading performance 

The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands trim was used for testing. It’s the best trim option for off-roading and comes with a unique suspension, 28″ all-terrain tires, grey bash plates, a front trail camera, and a low-speed trail function. It has a starting price of $34k before all the bells and whistles are added. 

A gray 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has a roof rack and is towing a side-by-side.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Tow RZR concept | Ford Motor Company

This Ford Bronco Sport model was also equipped with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower instead of the 1.5-liter Ecoboost IT-3 engine that provides 181 horsepower. But if you have the money to upgrade to more power, then why not? 

The Ford Bronco Sport started by driving through sand just fine. The clutch was a little touchier, and gears were held for a bit longer. Then with the rear differential on, the Sport climbed up a bumpy hill with a 19-degree angle just fine. 

Upon crawling down steep hills between 19-to 25 degree angles, the hill descent control limited the Bronco’s speed to 3 to 4 mph. The 18:1 crawl ratio did OK, but the other Bronco models’ enhanced crawl ratios would provide more control. 

The only problems seemed to occur when the 8.8 ground clearance of the Sport was too short. But the skid plates did their job of protecting the undercarriage. Also, the Mud/Sand modes automatically turn off when the Bronco goes over 13 mph. 

The Ford Bronco Sport wasn’t tested enough 

It seems like the Ford Bronco Sport went over very easy obstacles. It didn’t attempt any rock crawling like it’s siblings have done. Also, there wasn’t any water fording, despite Ford bragging about the 23.5″ water-fording capabilities of the Sport. 

Bronco Sport with roof top camping
Camping in a Ford Bronco Sport | Ford-6

Now we know that the Ford Bronco Sport can at least handle light off-roading challenges like the Jeep Compass. None of the obstacles seemed to live up to what we’ve seen the Jeep Renegade do.

If you go for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, it will get you to your campsite. Also, the unibody frame will provide a smoother ride on the pavement than on-frame options. 

The Ford Bronco Sport, like this red one fording a deep puddle, is wild enough for most climbers
The all-new Bronco Sport Badlands series can wade through up to 23.6 inches of water. (Pre-production model pictured.)

However, spending $34k for this vehicle without it having a V8 engine or proving its off-roading capabilities currently feels like a stretch. Especially since the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk only starts around $27k. We’re ready to see the Ford Bronco Sport tackle more demanding terrain.