Ford Bronco Sport

Ford’s compact crossover SUV offers weekend adventures to around-town driving

Roseville, Calif. – Hoping to cash in on the name and compete with more conventional compact SUVs, Ford introduced the Bronco Sport three years ago.

What differentiates the Bronco Sport from the traditional Bronco? They vary in size, capability and target audiences. The 2024 Ford Bronco Sport we sampled is a compact crossover SUV that the company says can go off-roading and is also suited for the standard around-town driving most people do.

Maintaining tradition

The Bronco Sport should appeal to people who don’t want a large SUV, but still want a rugged vehicle they can take out for some weekend adventures. The Sport is sleeker than the larger Bronco and possesses a more aerodynamic design that’s built on a unibody platform, making it lighter and fairly fuel efficient.

Of course, providing off-road escapades is what has made the Bronco an endearing SUV for decades. The Sport version can deliver in that department, playing the role of rugged SUV. Based on the Ford Escape, the Sport has 7.8 inches of ground clearance (8.8 is available), a four-wheel drive system and short overhangs (lengths of a vehicle that extend past the wheelbase at the front and rear) that are conducive for off-roading. The drive settings include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand.

While we applaud Ford for maintaining the Bronco tradition, what we discovered was the Sport comes up lacking in normal driving conditions. Don’t expect it to perform like many above-average small crossover SUVs – Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5.

Performance and handling

interior view of the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport

The Bronco Sport doesn’t deliver a smooth ride and its handling won’t match the many sophisticated SUVs in the class. It lacks confident steering and braking. Simply put, the ride quality of the Sport is unrefined.

There are two engines available with the Bronco Sport and both come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive. The base engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter, three-cylinder that generates 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in a sluggish 8.6 seconds.

The more powerful optional engine featured on the Badlands trim is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. It’s more than a second faster than the base model, going 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The Badlands model gets 21-26 mpg, while the less powerful engine gets 25-29 mpg.

AT A GLANCE – 2024 FORD BRONCO SPORT

  • Performance: turbocharged 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, 181 horsepower; turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 250 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-29 mpg; 21-26 mpg
  • Price estimate: $29,800 to $38,400
  • Warranty: 3 years 36,000 miles; Drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; Corrosion: 8 years/100,000 miles

The Unexpected

Regarding the interior, this came unexpected: the Bronco Sport had a nice blend of technology, coming standard with the Sync 3 infotainment system and an 8-inch touchscreen. It made sense and was easy to master. We also like there was a mix of the old – dials for both transmission and selectable drive modes. Not so good is the navigation doesn’t come standard on any trim.

Seating was average at best. Although there is a lot of head and leg room up front, creating a comfortable position for a long drive can be a chore. The leg room in the back is lacking and taller passengers must be wary of head space. Cargo area measures 32.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 65.2 cubes with the second row folded to the floor.

Befitting of the name, the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport stands out in off-road situations even though it’s a compact crossover SUV. Where it comes up lacking is the somewhat clunky ride it provides around town.

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