2022 Ford Bronco Sport
2022 Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Bronco Sport channels the rugged style and outdoorsy demeanor of its bigger namesake, but shrinks it down to a smaller SUV that easily fits in garages and parking spots.
After debuting last year, the Bronco Sport lineup sees a few minor color and options tweaks – plus the First Edition sold last year has been, predictably, dropped from the lineup.
The Bronco Sport comes in four trim levels, most of which use a 181-hp turbo-3. The available 245-hp turbo-4 comes on the Badlands trim. All-wheel drive is standard.
Given its off-road ability, the Bronco Sport delivers good fuel economy. Look for 25 mpg city, 28 highway, 26 combined for the 3-cylinder and 21/26/23 mpg with the bigger engine.
Crash-test results include a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS and a five-star rating from the NHTSA. Automatic emergency braking comes on all, though adaptive cruise control and parking sensors are optional.
Ford offers the Bronco Sport in three trim levels: base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, and Badlands.
Base models cost just under $29,000, which buys 17-inch alloy wheels, power features, cruise control, roof rails, a built-in bottle opener, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The Big Bend ups the ante for another $1,500. It adds rubberized seat backs and cargo mats, easy-clean cloth upholstery, keyless start, and zippered pockets with Molle straps—and Ford’s convenient door-mounted keypad. It is also available with additional features, such as a sunroof, navigation, and adaptive cruise control.
The Outer Banks starts in the mid-$30,000 range and it tosses in power front seats that are heated, leather upholstery, 18-inch black wheels and a black roof, as well as a 6.5-inch digital display in the gauge cluster.
Topping the lineup, the Badlands includes the turbo-4 engine plus a higher-riding suspension geared toward off-road use but is outfitted more like the Big Bend in terms of features. All in, a Bronco Sport can hit about $40,000.
The Bronco Sport is big on rugged details with its retro-boxy shape and unpainted fender flares.
Up front, LED headlights frame hefty Bronco text sprawling across the grille, while side cladding and hood bulges pair with an angular roofline for a mini-Land Rover look. At the rear, the flip-up glass panel pops open separately from the tailgate in another retro cue – but one that happens to be utilitarian, too.
Bronco Badlands models sit up a bit higher and have some unique touches, but they don’t go quite as far into off-road mayhem as the most rugged versions of the full-size Bronco.
Suitably rugged down to its easy-clean upholstery and other materials, the Bronco Sport looks the part of an adventure rig inside as well. Two grades of cloth seating are available, with leather on the options list.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen sits up high on the vertical dash, while buttons and knobs descend down to the center console where Ford mounts a knurled knob for the transmission lever.
Manually-adjustable seats are standard, with power thrones optional. Rear-seat riders will find good head room thanks to the raised roof line plus a decent 37 inches of leg room. Cargo is treated well with nearly 33 cubic feet of luggage room with the rear seat backs upright and nearly double that with them flopped forward.
It may look rugged, but the Ford Bronco Sport tames pavement well. All versions have all-wheel drive with between five and seven drive modes tailored to various types of terrain.
The base turbo-3 in all but the Badlands version delivers 181 hp to the wheels via a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. With the 245-hp turbo-4, Badlands models are considerably quicker, which helps them overcome their added heft of their larger all-terrain tires.
Ride quality is good across the line, thanks in part to those relatively chunky tires. Badlands versions have more suspension travel and ground clearance, which helps them plug their way up a rocky trail better than most other small crossover SUVs. While not exactly trail-slayers, they’re as capable as many shoppers will need.
If the road to the trail happens to be sweeping, smooth pavement, the Bronco Sport will feel right at home. While not as sharp as the related Ford Escape, it is nonetheless polished on road.
The turbo-3 is rated to lug 2,000 pounds, while the larger engine adds 200 lb and a lot more confidence to that figure.
Rugged and capable, the Ford Bronco Sport is a formidable choice among small crossover SUVs. Its high-personality attitude stands in marked contrast to increasingly anodyne rivals, too.
–by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection