By Eric Brandt
Distinct Bronco aesthetic
Clever interior storage solutions
Composed on-road and capable off-road
IIHS Top Safety Pick+
Most rivals are more fuel-efficient
Gets expensive in the upper trims
Tight back seats
Some reshuffling of content between trims and packages
Price: The Ford Bronco Sport has a starting MSRP of $27,265. The top Badlands trim starts at $33,935.
The Ford /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +2.53% Bronco Sport was introduced alongside the new Bronco, debuting for the 2021 model year. The difference is that the Bronco Sport is only available as a 4-door, and it’s more oriented for daily street use than the more rugged, truck-like Bronco. If you like the look and personality of the Bronco but don’t intend to do a lot of off-roading, the Bronco Sport could be the perfect SUV for you. That said, the Bronco Sport is no slouch off-road, thanks to standard 4-wheel drive.
On top of its stylish aesthetic and rugged capabilities, the Bronco Sport impresses with its user-friendly tech features and turbocharged engines. The standard turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers a satisfying balance of power and efficiency, while the turbo 4-cylinder offers a nice boost in performance.
Some more mainstream subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +1.85% have roomier back seats, better fuel economy, and lower pricing. Other good off-roaders in this segment include the Jeep Compass and Subaru /zigman2/quotes/200526066/composite FUJHY +0.63% Crosstrek. Still, few SUVs in this class have as much personality as the Ford Bronco Sport.
2022 Ford Bronco sport pricing
The base trim of the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $27,265. The mid-range Big Bend model starts at $28,825, the upscale Outer Banks trim begins at $33,075, and the most off-road capable Badlands model starts at $33,935.
The Ford Bronco Sport is priced a little above average for a compact SUV. It’s priced close to the bigger Jeep Cherokee, another of the more off-road-capable SUVs in this class. If you’re looking for a small SUV with standard AWD and decent off-road chops at a lower price point, the Subaru Crosstrek is a strong value.
Driving the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport
The idea of the Ford Bronco Sport is to be a more practical, road-friendly version of the regular Bronco. Ford has done an excellent job striking that balance between on-road comfort and off-road capability. In everyday driving on paved roads, the Bronco has a pleasant and comfortable ride. There’s a bit of body roll in corners, but it won’t bother you if you aren’t looking for sporty agility in your SUV.
The base turbocharged 3-cylinder engine is adequate for the daily commute. There’s nothing particularly inspiring about its performance, and its 8-speed automatic transmission does its job well with little fuss. If you want a boost in performance, the optional turbocharged 4-cylinder engine packs an extra punch, but its fuel economy is unimpressive.
When the pavement ends, the Bronco Sport is up for adventure. Thanks to standard all-wheel drive and a terrain management system with G.O.A.T. (goes over any type of terrain) modes, off-roading is easy for novices and experts alike. Just switch to the G.O.A.T. mode that’s most appropriate for the terrain beneath you, and you’ll be impressed by what the Bronco Sport can do.
The interior of the Bronco Sport represents the SUV’s personality of rugged yet comfortable. It’s a simple interior design with controls that are easy for the driver to use. Many hard plastics in this interior might make it feel cheap, but it’s intended to be easy to clean after an off-road adventure.
The seating space is roomy in the front, with plenty of legroom and headroom. The back seats have a lot of headroom thanks to the boxy shape of this SUV, but the rear-seat legroom is a little tight.
The cargo area is pretty spacious, and it’s tall enough to accommodate two mountain bikes standing up. The cargo hold opens up more if you can afford to fold down the back seats. The rear windshield can roll down while the liftgate is in place, making it easy to load and unload small items.
The aesthetic of the Ford Bronco Sport is so similar to the regular Ford Bronco that the untrained eye might not notice the difference. The most significant difference is that the Bronco Sport is exclusively available as a 4-door, but you can get the Bronco with four doors or two.
It has a boxy shape with an upright position, making it taller than many of its competitors. It has the distinct look of an off-roader and the capabilities to match. It was designed with ground clearance and approach/departure angles that are conducive to off-roading.
The Bronco Sport is on the smaller side of compact SUVs. Its dimensions are similar to the Jeep Compass, Nissan /zigman2/quotes/207656007/composite NSANY -1.66% Rogue Sport, and the 2-door variant of the Ford Bronco.
G.O.A.T. modes Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal modes come standard on every Bronco Sport. The Badlands trim adds Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes.
Standard AWD All-wheel drive with a terrain management system comes standard on every Ford Bronco Sport, making it suitable for snowy climates and off-road adventure.
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Standard features in the base model of the Ford Bronco Sport include a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, a terrain management system with five G.O.A.T. modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand), air conditioning, a driver information screen, and LED headlights.
The standard SYNC 3 infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen loaded with Android Auto and Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.78% CarPlay. USB-A and USB-C ports are in the media hub, inside the center console, and behind the center console.
The standard Ford Co-Pilot360 safety tech suite includes automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, a lane-keeping system, automatic emergency braking, and a backup camera. Post-collision braking is also standard.
The Big Bend trim adds some nice creature comforts to the Bronco Sport. Features include a carbonized gray grille with white “Bronco” lettering, 17-inch wheels, extra sound-deadening, automatic climate control, unique cloth seats, a rear center armrest, a MOLLE strap system, heated mirrors, push-button start, and SiriusXM.
There aren’t many options available for the base trim, but the Big Bend trim has a Convenience Package and a Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package available. The Convenience Package adds a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, LED fog lamps, rear parking sensors, a wireless charging pad, and more. Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ adds full-speed adaptive cruise control with lane-centering, evasive steering assist, and navigation.
The upscale Outer Banks trim builds on the Big Bend trim by adding many of the contents of the Convenience Package plus sport contour leather seats, a power front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, black exterior trim, 18-inch wheels, remote start, LED signature lighting, rain-sensing wipers, and more. Outer Banks offers the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package plus a Tech Package with B&O premium audio, HD Radio, a universal garage door opener, and a wireless charging pad.
The Badlands trim is the most off-road-ready model in the Bronco Sport lineup. On top of the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, it adds an advanced AWD system, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl G.O.A.T. modes, off-road suspension, metal skid plates, front tow hooks, a unique grille and roof rack side rails, a 110-volt power outlet, unique floor mats, a 6.5-inch digital screen in the instrument panel, a rubberized floor, special cloth seats that are easy to clean, an under-seat storage compartment in back, a front 180-degree camera, and Trail Control, which is like cruise control for low-speed off-roading.
The Badlands trim is available with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package plus a Premium Package that adds leather 2-tone seats, an auto-dimming mirror, B&O audio, body-color door handles, remote start, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, a wireless charging pad, and a universal garage door opener.
Engine and transmission
There are two turbocharged engines available for the Ford Bronco Sport. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder. This engine is more than adequate for daily commuting and occasional off-roading, with a nice balance of power and efficiency.
The available 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is standard on the Badlands trim and optional on the three lower trims. This adds a lot of muscle to the Bronco Sport, making it more exciting to drive on-road and off. However, it returns subpar fuel economy for an SUV this size.
Every Ford Bronco Sport is equipped with all-wheel drive. Power is delivered to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm190 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/28 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm277 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26 mpg