Prepare to be seriously impressed.
While it shares a platform with the Ford Escape, the new Ford Bronco Sport doesn't behave like an Escape. Instead of being the typical crossover capable of some minor off-roading thanks to optional all-wheel drive, the Bronco Sport is a seriously capable performer off-pavement. Up until now, we've only seen its Bronco big brother in action at locations such as Moab, proving the new Ranger-based SUV is everything we dreamed of and so much more. And as it turns out, the 2021 Bronco Sport can also fight its way against some of Moab's most challenging obstacles.
The development team took a Bronco Sport to Utah for its own series of durability tests and kindly filmed some of the highlights.
Not surprisingly, the test vehicle shown here appears to be the hardcore Badlands trim, which has been equipped with an off-road suspension and a four-wheel-drive system with a clever twin-clutch differential on the rear axle with torque vectoring capability. Other cool features include front tow hooks, metal bash plates, and a low-speed cruise control function. It also comes equipped with the Terrain Management System with 7 GOAT Modes: Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, Normal, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder good for 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque.
Starting at around the 6-minute mark is where the Bronco Sport Badlands really begins to show its stuff and the folks at Jeep would be doing themselves a favor by watching as well. The Bronco Sport Badland's main rival, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, finally has a serious rival.
The Bronco Sport's boxy SUV styling may also appeal to some Escape owners who aren't fans of the latest generation's more rounded, wagon-like look. Ford admitted it took a softer design approach with the latest Escape in order to differentiate it as much as possible from the Bronco Sport.
The original Escape also had a boxier design and the Bronco Sport picks up where that left off. If you're looking for a highly capable off-road crossover and never got around to liking the Cherokee's somewhat funky front-end styling, the Bronco Sport Badlands could be for you. And with a starting price of $32,660, it's hard to go wrong.