Though the recently unveiled 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport share the same model name, the two new SUVs share little in common. The midsize Bronco is projected to be at the very top of the food chain in the off-road SUV segment when it hits the market in early 2021 with its Wrangler-like removable top and doors.
Meanwhile, the Bronco Sport is a compact crossover SUV with an impressive list of off-road features of its own. No matter which Blue Oval SUV appeals to your taste, you’re sure to enjoy the retro styling, innovative technology, and unlimited fun these two off-road machines promise to deliver.
Key Differences: 2021 Ford Bronco vs. Bronco Sport
The larger mid-size Bronco features a body-on-frame chassis and is built on the RWD-based Ford Ranger platform. The Bronco Sport, however, is a unibody construction built on the same FWD-based platform as the Ford Escape.
Essentially, this means that the body and frame of the 2021 Bronco Sport is manufactured as a single piece. While this is the way most crossover SUVs, sedans, and sports cars are manufactured today, it’s not the ideal setup for extreme off-roading capability. That’s why the Ford Bronco, Ford Raptor, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota Tacoma and Tundra TRD Pros utilize a body-on-frame construction.
This design allows for a greater towing capacity, better ground clearance, and overall more flexibility in the chassis when maneuvering over uneven terrain. Meanwhile, unibody construction usually leads to a lighter overall curb weight and better handling, cornering and fuel efficiency.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport: The First of Its Kind
That isn’t to say the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport can’t handle a little trail riding, because that’s hardly the case. In fact, the Bronco Sport is a test mule of sorts—there has never been a CUV fitted with this much standard and optional off-road equipment before.
Each Bronco Sport comes standard with 4×4 and a terrain management system with five driver-adjustable G.O.A.T. modes. The acronym is meant to signify that the Bronco Sport will in fact “go over any terrain.” Those five standard G.O.A.T. modes include Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco and Normal.
One of the Bronco Sport’s most useful features is its available Trail Control that allows you to maintain slow speeds when descending down steep terrain so you can focus on the task at hand. Also, a 180-degree split view camera can help serve as a spotter and increase visibility of tree roots, rocks, and other obstacles in your path.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Trim Levels and Pricing
The 2021 Bronco Sport is available in five distinct trim levels, each with the following starting MSRP: Base ($26,660), Big Bend ($28,160), Outer Banks ($32,160), Badlands ($32,660), and First Edition ($38,500).
The Big Bend adds zipper pockets with a MOLLE strap system, rear flood lights, and an exterior keyless entry keypad to the base model’s already impressive list of standard equipment. The Outer Banks trim features leather seating, 18” wheels, and a stylish shadow black safari roof and grille with white Bronco badging.
The Badlands trim is the most off-road capable Sport trim, thanks in large part to its advanced 4×4 unit with a twin-clutch rear drive unit, 23.6” of water-fording capability, and two additional G.O.A.T. models (Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl). And last, a limited First Edition trim features the off-road capability of the Badlands with exterior styling of the Outer Banks. Unfortunately, reservations for the Bronco Sport First Edition are already full.
A 1.5L EcoBoost engine that delivers 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque is standard on the base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks models. A larger 2.0L EcoBoost providing a best-in-class 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque is standard on the Badlands and First Edition trims. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is set to be available in late 2020.