2023 Ford Bronco Sport

2023 Ford Bronco Sport
2023 Ford Bronco Sport Rear Angle View
2023 Ford Bronco Sport Dashboard

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Review: No One-Trick Pony

When it first became apparent that Ford was going to base a crossover SUV with the famous Bronco nameplate on the Escape's C2 platform, fans were aghast. They needn't have worried because the Ford Bronco Sport's extremely versatile platform also underpins the excellent Maverick compact truck. To make sure the Bronco Sport name is not just a cynical marketing exercise, Ford backed it up with proper off-road credentials, especially in the ultimate Badlands trim. Although the Bronco Sport is a little more expensive than typical class rivals in the USA such as the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, it can venture off the beaten path a lot farther than you might have imagined. Combined with retro styling and endless customization options, the AWD-only Bronco Sport occupies a niche in the compact crossover SUV market segment with the bite to back up the bark. A choice of 181-horsepower and 250-hp turbocharged gas engines, a slick eight-speed automatic, and the prospect of hybridization in the future make it a very compelling, future-proofed product in a sea of car-based soft roaders.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Ford Bronco Sport Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Bronco Sport?

The only change to the new 2023 Ford Bronco Sport SUV is the addition of two new special editions, plus a new off-road package. The Heritage Edition and the Heritage Limited Edition recall the '60s Broncos with their white exterior trim and pastel paint colors.

The Heritage Edition is based on the Big Bend trim with the 1.5-liter 181-hp turbocharged three-cylinder. It gets plaid upholstery and its grille, roof, 17-inch alloys, and body-side pinstriping are rendered in white. It can be had with seven paint options. The Heritage Limited Edition is based on the Badlands trim with the 250-hp turbo-four. It gets the same exterior white trim pieces but adds leather upholstery, Bronco fender badges, 29-inch off-road tires, and special interior badging. It is restricted to three paint colors.

The Black Diamond Off-Road Package is available on Big Bend and Outer Banks series models. It adds off-road gear like four steel bash plates and looks a bit different from other models thanks to its 17-inch Carbonized Gray wheels, matte black hood graphic, and lower bodyside graphics.

Finally, all Bronco Sport models now receive complimentary Bronco Off-Roadeo adventure access along with trail guide instruction. It's designed to help drivers brush up their off-road skills and discover the capabilities of their Bronco Sports.

Pros and Cons

  • Cool retro design
  • Powerful four-cylinder engine
  • Endlessly customizable
  • Capable off-road
  • Comfortable cabin
  • Low-rent interior plastics
  • Average gas mileage
  • Somewhat restricted rear-seat space
  • A bit expensive

What's the Price of the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport?

The Base carries a sticker price of $29,215, while the Big Bend goes for $30,930. The new Heritage Edition is next and costs $32,650, before a bigger leap to the Outer Banks with its MSRP of $35,615. The Badlands goes for $37,340 but the new Heritage Limited Edition is by far the priciest of the lot and requires you to part with $44,655.

These prices exclude the $1,595 destination and delivery charge.

The Bronco Sport's main rival is the Subaru Forester, as it's also only available in AWD guise. Subaru's base model starts at $26,395, while the Premium model retails for around the same price as the new Bronco Sport in base guise. The adventure-ready Wilderness with all the toys is $34,020, representing a considerable saving over the Bronco Sport Badlands sans any options.

Best Deals on 2023 Ford Bronco Sport

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
Big Bend
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
Heritage Edition
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
Outer Banks
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Trims and Specs

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Handling And Driving Impressions

Although sitting on the same C2 platform that underpins the Escape and Maverick, the Bronco Sport is more off-road focused, and all models come with all-wheel drive. The rugged Badlands trim even has a rear diff lock, all-terrain tires, and a one-inch suspension lift. But it feels rather like a truck, and while the heavy-duty suspension is great for exploiting its remarkable off-road ability and having fun on a dirt track, it makes for a more unrefined on-road ride. The lowlier models are adept at highway cruising, but due to their dual-purpose role, they are not as quiet and comfortable as a road-biased crossover such as a CR-V or CX-5, while the square-cut styling makes for a bit of wind noise at speed. Still, for what it is, the on-road ability of the normal models is commendable. And you get to choose from a whole selection of G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) driving modes, depending on the surface.

The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque feels a bit weedy but does the job, as long as you're not in a hurry. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder's 250 hp and 277 lb-ft outputs do feel a lot more in command of the mass though. Both engines drive all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport A Good SUV?

Those who were afraid that the Bronco has gone soft on us and that the Escape-based crossover doesn't deserve the hallowed name can rest at ease. You'll notice how every review of the Ford Bronco Sport versus its competitors raves about how adept it is off the beaten track, comfortably beating its class rivals on this score. The Badlands especially is more Cherokee Trailhawk than urban CR-V. So, if you need AWD and you're going to traverse those gravel roads, the Bronco Sport might be just the ticket. But it does come with its downsides and the off-road ability and upright heritage styling mean it's not as fast, fuel-efficient, quiet, or comfortable on the highway as the typical class rivals. It's good enough for a dual-purpose role and the Outer Banks with its standard suspension setup and powerful engine will do a convincing impression of a car on the tarmac most of the time, as long as you don't expect a class-leading performance. Rather, the endearing styling and up-for-anything adventure attitude are what make the Bronco Sport so endearing.

What 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Model Should I Buy?

If you're looking for a bargain, the Big Bend is the way to go. It adds some excellent features and is only $1,715 more expensive than the Base. You also get access to more colors and more optional extras.

Got more money to spend? Your model choice will depend entirely on what you want to do with the car. If it's going to spend most of its time on the tarmac, the Outer Banks and its many luxurious features is the way to go. More adventurous types should get the Badlands. The suspension, tire, and software upgrades will get you further outdoors than any of the other models, and it comes with a decent amount of standard features.

In our humble opinion, the Big Bend with the Convenience Package and the more advanced Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist + is the ideal single model. It offers the best balance between the Bronco Sport's many positive attributes. Another appealing option is the Heritage Edition which is based on the Big Bend but comes with retro-inspired colors and design features that look great.

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